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Remains of RitualNorthern Gods in a Southern Land$
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Steven M. Friedson

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780226265049

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226265063.001.0001

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Salah! Salah!

Salah! Salah!

(p.43) 2 Salah! Salah!
Remains of Ritual
University of Chicago Press

The final day of a fetatrɔtrɔ, when salah prayers are performed, starts at the break of dawn with the “breaking of the head” (lãtagbagba). “If you don't break the head,” say the sɔfowo (priests), “then you haven't done anything,” and all the sacrifices and prayers for the previous three days are for naught. The head is the cow's, and “breaking it” is a rather simple procedure: it is cooked, and the eyes, nose, ears, tongue, and mouth (lips) are removed and divided among the gods. There was a continual coming and going inside the Brekete shrine. Members were arriving and entering to kneel down and pay their respects to each of the gorovoduwo (fetishes); sɔfowo from the many different shrines who had come to celebrate fetatrɔtrɔ were attending to the fetishes, offering prayers, kola, and drink; and, most prominently, trɔsiwo were becoming possessed. The performance of salah (the Arabic word for prayer) is the most overt expression of Islam in all of Brekete.

Keywords:   salah, prayers, breaking of head, lãtagbagba, sacrifices, Brekete, Islam

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