Copyright © 2007 Dorling Kindersley
Local religions are unique to tribal or cultural groups living apart from modern societies. They are not taught through texts, but through story-telling, art, songs, and RITUALS. Many honor their ancestors as well as gods or natural spirits.
Sacred places always have a special importance to the life of the tribe. They may be a source of water, a gathering point, a site of ancestor activities, or a border with another group’s territory. Sometimes they are used as burial grounds for the dead.
Offering gifts and prayers to dead ancestors is a common feature of local religious ritual throughout the world, especially in Asia. The dead are believed to help their living relatives, and to intervene with the gods on their behalf.
Fetishes are portable, carved, and customized objects that are believed to be the home for a spirit or magical powers. The owner of the fetish may use it to borrow the powers of that spirit or simply as protection against bad luck or bad health.
Like all world religions, local religions have rituals—special performances of words and actions that help to bind the community together in a common identity. Rituals may mark a rite of passage, such as marriage, or be a call for help from the spirit world.