Cultural Tidbit #5 – Rituals

#5a – Harvest

At the time of the first harvest of a crop, before anyone can partake, the harvester will take a bit of the crop and chew it until some saliva is produced. Then the mixture is spit down upon the chest. At this point, the person will offer a prayer of thanksgiving to Nhialic (God in Dinka; pronounced Nyahlich) for keeping the person alive and for giving a good harvest.

#5b – Making Peace

When there is a major conflict between two groups of people there will be a kind of arbitration process carried out. This is usually ordered by a family’s jok (a smaller god). Elders are gathered as the arbitrators and both sides of the conflict are heard. After some deliberation, they deliver their decision. Symbolically accepting the decision, as well as putting the issue behind them, each group slaughters one white bull. Some of the blood from each animal is collected and mixed together. Then every person involved in the situation is marked with some of the blood. They then eat the meat together, another symbol of restoring relationships.

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