Oftentimes, the thought of any reptile especially snakes would send most human shrieking and at the sight, flying meters in milliseconds. So imagine the shock upon finding out the snakes are highly revered in some parts.
As hard as it is for some to fathom the idea of worshipping snakes, to others it is all they know and believe.
Here is a list of places in Nigeria where snakes are worshiped and held in high esteem.
Places in Nigeria Where Snakes are Worshipped
- Anambra state: the worship of snakes is very popular in the Njikoka Local Government Area of the state particularly in Enugwu-ukwu town where the residents treat snakes as a beautiful bride. According to the traditionalists of the town, it is a great taboo to hurt or kill a python and can attract dire consequences for whoever kills the snake. In the case where it happens, the offender will be required to consult a native doctor who gives the ritual rites. The rites are termed ‘Ajoagwu Arusi’ which involves a burial for the snake with a goat and chicken being submitted to the shrine. Another town in Anambra where snakes, particularly pythons are worshipped is in Idemili Local Government. There are shrines dedicated to the worship of pythons all over the community and just like in Enugwu-ukwu, killing a python is an abominable deed.
2. Bayelsa: For the Nembe people, their reverence for snakes go so deep that they cannot stand to see the killing of snakes by other tribes. The Nembe people of Bayelsa believe that their reverence for pythons is a way of paying respect to their god. According to findings, killing a python would incur the wrath of not just the gods but the people as well.
3. Imo State: The Mgbidi people of the Oru West Local Government Area take the python as their god, and findings show that all eleven clans in the area, namely; Eziali, Ihitte, Imeoha, Okwudor, Ugbele, Umuabiaha, Umuehi, Umuekwe, Umuokpara, Umuorji and Uziaumu worship the python. The indigenes believe that regardless of how far civilisation comes into their area, there is no changing their minds on the worship of the pythons. As expected, whoever kills a python must perform penance or dance to the music.
4. Yobe state: Yobe is the first Northern state on this list of places in Nigeria where snakes are worshipped, and the worship of snakes is peculiar to the Machina. This is one of the remotest towns in Yobe, and the people are found to be friends with the snakes. Tales have it that a long time ago, one of the sons of the Emirs of Machina was born with a snake, so the snakes are considered royals. However, although the people cohabit with snakes, there are some species that they find dangerous and the go-ahead to kill them.
5. Delta State: in the Ujuvwe community in the Udu Local Government Area of the state, it is taboo to kill a python. Legend has it that the python aided the indigenes of Ujevwu to escape while they had inter-tribal wars with other communities. The story has it that the python followed the natives’ trail to cover up their tracks to stop their attackers from finding them. In appreciation, the people do not harm any python from then.
These are the 5 places in Nigeria where snakes are worshipped. Hopefully, this serves as a guide when you are looking to explore other cultures within the country.