Akan religion

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Adinkra symbol representing the omnipotence and omnipresence of Nyame

The Akan people of Ghana and Ivory Coast believe in a Supreme Being who takes on various names depending upon the region of worship. The deity is referred to as Brekyirihunuade ("almighty"), Nyame "the one who knows and sees everything",[citation needed] Otweidiampon, Okokroko, Onyame, Awurade and Odomankoma.[citation needed] There are no priests that directly serve Brekyirihunuade, as it is an attribute and people believe that they may make direct contact to God (Nyame) via this name.[citation needed]

According Akan mythology, at one time the god interacted with man, but that after being continually struck by the pestle of an old woman pounding fufu, a traditional Akan food, he moved far up into the sky.[citation needed]

The supreme being in the pantheon of the Ashanti is Nyame[1] (also Nyankopon), the omniscient, omnipotent sky god. He and Asase Ya, his wife, have two children: Bia and Tano. Asase Yaa is an earth goddess of fertility.

The creator of the universe in Ashanti mythology is most often referred to as Odomankoma[2] ("infinite inventor") however there is research that suggests this could refer to a role or attribute of Nyame rather than a separate deity. Other examples in the creation story include Oboadee ("creator") and Anase Kokuroku ("the great designer" or "the great spider").[3]

The Ashanti believe lower gods or (angels), more akin to spirits, assist humans on earth. Onyame was traditionally supposed to be aloof and away from the Earth as the Supreme Being. As the Ashanti adopted Christianity, they used the word Onyame as a general name for God, also used amongst Ashanti's in Christianity as well.

Anansi the Spider is a folk hero who plays no role in Ashanti mythology. He is, however, prominent in Ashanti folktales where he is depicted as a trickster. Besides this focus on theism, Akan mythology shares animism and ancestor worship with the other African traditional religions: Spirits are known as abosom. They receive their power from the supreme god and are most often connected to the world as it appears in its natural state. These include ocean and river spirits and various local deities. Priests serve individual spirits and act as mediators between the gods and mankind. Many of those who believe in these traditions participate in daily prayer, which includes the pouring of libations as an offering to both the ancestors who are buried in the land and to the spirits who are everywhere.

The earth is seen as a female deity and is directly connected to fertility and fecundity.

Finally there is the Nsamanfo ("ancestors"), an example of ancestral worship; the Akan traditional religion pays respect to their ancestors.


Olson, James Stuart (1996). The peoples of Africa: an ethnohistorical dictionary. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood Press. p. 18. ISBN 978-0-313-27918-8. Retrieved 18 April 2010.  Sykes, Egerton; Kendall, Alan (2001). Who's who in non-classical mythology. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-26040-4. Retrieved 2010-05-24. 

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