Gender and Religion

In traditional Nandi religion, there was no pantheon of gods and spirits, but rather a single deity called Asis or Cheptalel, and personified by the sun. There does not seem to be a strong sense of gender attached to this traditional concept of God, although the feminine name Cheptalel, which could be translated "White Girl," suggests that at least the deity was not unequivocally male. Today, the majority of Nandi are Christians (Roman Catholic, Africa Inland Church, Anglican, and Seventh Day Adventist), and accept that the Christian God and their traditional God are the same. In several Protestant denominations, the name "Jehovah" is used for God. It seems that God is conceptualized as masculine in most Christian presentations.

In traditional religion, prayers to Asis were offered at family shrines by both women and men. There was a belief that spirits of deceased ancestors were reincarnated in their descendents, and such reincarnation was not dependent on sex. Ritual elders in charge of community-wide rituals were men, except for women's initiation. All Nandi Christian clergy that I encountered were men.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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