Birds are held in high regard in African religion because of their ability to cross the barriers among humans, spirits, space, and time. As with many African religious systems, this belief is based on observable phenomena. Birds thrive on land, in water, and in the sky. The chicken, or bird, may be the most sacrificed animal in African religious practices. Practically speaking, this is due to chickens being domesticated, abundant, and easy to acquire.

Mythically, chickens are present at creation or accompany the first humans. Among the Yoruba, a five-toed chicken accompanies Obatala from heaven to what will be Earth. Her scratching of the loose earth brought with Obatala creates the Earth. The Mende creator god Ngewo gives two chickens as a gift to the ...

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