The Transition of the Belief in <i>Eqo</i> from a Traditional ‘Religion’ to a ‘Culture’: Historical Changes and the Roles of the <i>Alamo</i>s in Kafa Zone, Southwest Ethiopia

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<p>In Southwest-Ethiopian Kafa society, the widely practised belief in eqo, a form of worship of the god Yeero, was conducted through the alamo (diviner), a medium who was believed to communicate with the spirits. This tradition was inseparable from the politics, economy, and society of the Kafa Kingdom, which prospered from the mid-14th century to 1897. Following its conquest by and incorporation into the Ethiopian Empire, the Kafa society was introduced to Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity, and many converted to the faith. Nonetheless, the deeply rooted belief in eqo continued to exert a great influence on the Kafa people, who would visit the alamo while also visiting the church. However, under the Derg regime, all religious activities were regulated, and it was difficult to openly practise the eqo traditions and Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity. In 1991, with the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front assuming power, people began visiting the alamo again, though the belief in eqo had weakened. This paper discusses the historical changes in the nature of the eqo tradition in the Kafa Zone in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Regional State in Ethiopia, and examines why the Kafa people are now moving away from the tradition.</p>


  • Nilo-Ethiopian Studies

    Nilo-Ethiopian Studies 2021 (26), n/a-, 2021

    Japan Association for Nilo-Ethiopian Studies

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