Cultural Life

Tribal structure and landownership

Village chiefs with elders are the governing body of the village. The chief takes care about the people and gives messages to them. When there is a fight between clans or individuals, people will go to the village chief for his judgments. In every village there is a Royal family. The sons of the family may contest for chieftaincy. Once a chief, you will stay chief for lifetime.

Landowners or earth priests (tindana) are the owners of the land of the clan. He gives out land in accordance with landownership regulations to people who need land to build their houses or to farm. The squatters owe allegiance to the landowners and may renew it yearly.

Tribal marks, executed in the face, are symbols of identification and beauty. The process gives the person pain and loss of blood. He or she stands the risk of infection. Female genital mutilation is an outgoing initiation ceremony for girls into womenhood.

Traditional religion

In Sirigu the traditional religions emphasize ancestral worships. They go through their ancestors to the creator of the Universe to thank for good harvest, long life and so on. They also ask for rain, a rich harvest and forgiveness. In front of their houses they build mounds, which represent the ancestors. On these mounds they make libation of flourwater (pito) and food (fowls), asking the ancestors to intercede for them. The initiated members of the family use objects, such as the cow horn, tale and talisman for protection.

Traditional believers have a great faith in soothsayers. Before they take any action, they consult them about issues as childbirth, death, sickness, the future of the family and enemies of the family. Christianity and Islam are also practiced widely, but often in combination with some of the traditional practices.

Family structure

The architecture and structure of the compound as designed before is an unique expression of the family structure and the amount of family members. 
Extended family: 
The extended family is based on the patrilinear descendance. The man is the head of the family, who may have one or more wives. The senior wife has the central room of the compound. The other women may have their own rooms joined to the senior room by circular walls. The head of the family may have other brothers and their wives and children living in the compound. 
When daughters of the house marry, they will leave their parents' home to go and live with their husbands' family. The sons, who are expected to continue the paternal line, stay in the house and bring up their family and will take care of the aged parents and grandparents. 
Traditionally women are regarded the property of their husbands after the dowry has been paid. Women cannot own land, but may borrow it for farming purposes. They cannot take part in decision making for the family or themselves and have no right to their biological children in case of divorce or decease of their husband. 
Traditionally the men wear loincloth and goatskin for farming. Nowadays they wear all kinds of cloths, for example long trousers and shorts. On special occasions like market days, marriage celebrations and elderly and respectable people's funerals, men may wear woven smocks of cotton with its suitable headwears/ caps. Traditional women wear skirts, made of cotton. Nowadays they wear anything from machine woven cloth to batik, tie and die and Kente cloth. A "vonengha", is used at traditional celebration.

All rights reserved, © 2010. Sirigu Women Organization of Pottery and Art (SWOPA)