- By Bernard Uzoma
In the days of our ancestors, they so much believed on deities before the early missionaries came to abolish the practice.
Among those deities is ALA, also known as Ani, Ana in varying dialects, Ala is the goddess of soil, earth and fertility. She is the most respected of all the deities, Ala literally means “Ground or Earth” denoting her powers over the earth and her status as ground itself.
Five facts to know about this Deity Are;
1). SHE IS THE WIFE TO AMADIOHA: Amadioha is the sky deity who naturally faces to the earth (Ala) as husband faces the wife, and also stays above earth (Ala) as husband stays above wife, making the belief seem true. Ala is considered to be more deadly than Amadioha. In so many communities, sacred houses are built for the couple deity called Mbari.
2). DEITY OF MORALITY: ALA is also a deity of morality; ala presides in judging human actions and also in charge of Igbo Laws and Customs known as “OMENALA” Which literally means “Custom or Laws of the Land”. Taboos, abominations and crimes committed and against the standard and laws of Ala are called “Nso Ala”.
3). PYTHON AND CRESCENT MOON ARE ITS SYMBOL: Ala has its symbol, and their symbols are python and crescent moon, Ala in so many villages uses Python as its messenger and agent. In those villages the python goes to people home to welcome a new born baby and strangers.
The python is harmless and cannot be killed as it is against the law of those communities, the python is much revered in those villages and anybody who kills it must face query and must give a befitting burial for the python.
4). PERSECUTOR: Ala is also considered to be a persecutor, it persecutes those who commit crimes like, stealing from ones farm place or home, it also persecutes people that are involved in abominations like, incest; a brother sleeping with sister, or mother sleeping with son and other taboos.
It punishes those who kills or takes people property forcefully. If a slaughtered animal is found to be pregnant, sacrifices are made to Ala and the fetus is buried, Ala is believed to be a non merciful and intolerant deity.
5). FESTIVALS: Ala goddess is honored and celebrated in some communities during New Yam Festivals, to thank her for making their land fertile for the crops. Ala is also known to be the goddess of fertility.
Note: This Message is not in any way promoting the worship of deities, it is our history that needs to be told and remembered. Our ancestors and there lifestyle should be remembered. All adoration goes to the Lord Jesus Christ, AMEN
Written by Okenze Bernard Uzoma