African Mythology: Ala

African Mythology: Ala

Ala is the Igbo goddess/deity of the earth, creativity, morality, fertility and productivity of the land. The Igbo traditional religious and cultural practice is known as Odinani. Ala is said to rule the underworld and have the ancestors in her womb. She is a highly ranked deity and the name Ala means ground in the Igbo language. The Igbos are the people of south Eastern Nigeria.

Ala’s father is Amadioha, the sky deity. Ala can be likened to the Egyptian god MA’AT, because she is said to judge the human soul according to Omenala (Igbo laws and customs). She is often symbolised by the python and the crescent moon. The python is said. To be her messenger, thus making the python revered in some traditional Igbo communities. 

Ala is also responsible for the guardianship of women and children. She is often depicted with a small child in her arm. She is worshipped annually during the new yam festival in the Igbo land. The new yam festival symbolises the completion of harvest and the beginning of a new planting season. It is celebrated at the beginning of August, this is also the end of the rainy season in Nigeria.

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