Culture of Cameroon
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Cameroon has a rich and diverse culture made up of a mix of about 250 indigenous populations and just as many languages and customs. The country is nicknamed "Little Africa" as geographically, Cameroon consists of coastline, mountains, grass plains, forest, rainforest and desert, all of the geographical regions in Africa in one country. This also contributes to its cultural diversity as ways of life and traditional food dishes and traditions vary from geographical region to geographical region.
Religious holidays in Cameroon include:
- Christian: Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday, Pentecost, Ascension Thursday and Palm Sunday
- Muslim: Eid ul-Fitr, Eid ul-Adha and Ramadan
Major holidays are:
- New Year's Day, January 1
- Youth Day, February 11
- Labor Day, May 1
- National Day, May 20
- Assumption, August 15
- Women's Day, March 8
- Christmas, December 25
- Teacher's Day, October 5
Since the Cameroon was formerly under French and British rule, the official languages are French and English. There are also numerous endemic living languages spoken by the people that reflects the diversity of the country. These languages include the Akoose language, the Gbaya languages, the Fula language, the Gyele language, the Koonzime language, the Mundang language, the Ngiemboon language, and the Vengo language. The Vernacular languages from the ethnic groups in Cameroon are well over 200. Some of them are Ewondo, Beti, Bamileke, Duala and Arabic in the North and Far-North regions.
Since an amendment was added to the Cameroon Constitution in 1992, Cameroon has been a multi-party state, which means there are multiple parties that have the potential to gain power over the government. Cameroon's first president, Ahmadou Ahidjo, was in power from 1960 to 1982. The president holds executive power for seven years, for a maximum of two terms. The president and his cabinet hold the main power at the national level, while at the local level, the prefet and sous-prefet hold the most power. Getting a government position can happen several different ways: Regional background, ethical background, party loyalty, and who you know. The national and local levels have been known to work together, even though they have to deal with their own separate issues from each other.
Cameroon culture consists of numerous religions including Christianity (about 69%), Islam (about 21%), and many other indigenous religions. The citizens of Cameroon are entitled to freedom of religion, as it is stated within their constitution. Therefore, citizens are free to practice any religion they choose, without harassment or forceful conversion. The northern part of Cameroon is heavily occupied by the Fulani people (Fula: Fulɓe; French: Peul or Peulh; also known Mbororo, though this is sometimes seen as pejorative). The Fulani are mainly Muslims, because Islam is the dominant religion in the northern region. The western region is home of the Bamum people, an ethnic group that also practices the Islamic religion. The French-speaking people are often inhabitants of the southern and western regions and the majority of them are known to be Catholic, while English speaking citizens of the west tend to be Protestants.
Culture and traditions
Cameroon has 250-300 distinct groups, and an estimated 300+ languages. Cameroon is divided into several provinces, which are dominated by specific ethnic or religious groups. Ethnic divisions often correspond to geography, which is also widely varied. Religious differences often correspond to colonial or other historical influence.
Partly through the influence of colonialism, there is a national culture, and two distinct regional cultures: the Anglophone and Francophone regions, which primarily speak English and French and use different legal systems. The national culture is established through public institutions such as school, the multiparty political system, shared history of colonialism and a national love of football.
- Cameroon. New Encyclopedia of Africa. Ed. John Middleton and Joseph C. Miller. Vol. 1. 2nd ed. Detroit: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2008. p298-307.Word Count:4863.
- Cameroon. PAMELA FELDMAN-SAVELSBERG. Countries and Their Cultures. Ed. Carol R. Ember and Melvin Ember. Vol. 1. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2001. p384-396.Word Count:5376.
- "Revue Noire" - Special Issue on Cameroon, n. 13, 1994.
- Cameroun: la culture sacrifiée. Dossier of the magazine "Africultures", n. 60, L'Harmattan, July–September 2004.
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- The portal of Cameroon on the SPLA Sud Planète database managed by Africultures http://www.kamercultures.net