Popular taboos, beliefs and superstitions of the Bajju people of Kaduna
The Bajju people in Kaduna state have interesting rites, beliefs, taboos and superstitions that guide their day-to-day activities.
History has it that the Bajju people migrated from Zamfara to Bauchi, then Jos. They moved and settled in Dibiyi/Kurmin Bi, in the Zonkwa chiefdom of what is present Zangon Kataf Local Government of Kaduna state. Now they can be found in other LGAs in Kaduna state such as Jemaa and Kachia.
They speak Jju language and the land occupied by the Bajju is called Kajju. With an estimated 600, 000 native speakers, the Bajju, commonly referred to as Kaje (a pejorative term), constitute one of the largest ethnic groups in Southern Kaduna. The Bajju are particularly found in Zangon-Kataf, Jemaa and Kachia Local Government Areas of Kaduna State.
Bajju people had a lot of ancient superstitious beliefs highlighted below, though some have survived over time.
Superstitious beliefs for women:
- Women should not eat eggs as that would mean 'eating' their own children.
- Women are not to cook or carry out farm activities for 7 days following child birth
- Hitting hands or feet on the wall would be calling the Abvoi, the native god.
- Hitting people, especially men, with brooms would be sweeping away all of his charms and power (including the power to impregnate a woman).
- Pregnant women should not to eat sugarcanes because it could make their babies grow too fat.
Superstitious beliefs for men:
- It is believed that if a man shaves his hair halfway, a spirit will come to finish the job, and cause the man to go mad
- Food prepared by menstruating women should not be eaten by men as they would be exposed to blindness or bad luck in hunting.
Superstitious beliefs for children:
- Children are not allowed to eat eggs.
- They are not to eat meat offered to them at other households, for it may be enchanted.
- Children were not to go out in the heat of the midday sun, for fear that they may accept food from a witch.
General taboos of the land:
- The Bajju believe that snakes should not be killed as it may be the spirit of a person sleeping or having a fever.
- They believe that whistling in the house of a hunter could cause his charms to stop working
- It is simply a taboo to blow food to cool it.
- When a visitor comes to eat at a household, a person from the visited household must eat with the guest to prove the food is not poisoned.
- Answering a call at night could cause the person to die.
Rules of the land:
- Men are to be buried facing east (direction of Bajju origin) while women are to be buried facing west.
- Those who died as a result of falling off a tree, falling off the roof of a house, or shot during hunting, are buried where the incident took place, and do not receive a burial ceremony.
- Women who died during child birth were buried at the backyard of their home.
- The Bajju believe strongly in libation and reincarnation. It is believed that when a shooting star passes, a great man has died somewhere and is going to land somewhere else for reincarnation.
Gods and witchcraft for the Bajju people
- Tyyi Tson: Tyyitson means 'to give hungry rice'. This was the practice of euthanizing the elderly by offering them poisoned hungry rice (called 'Kasap') to end their suffering of physical infirmity.
- Gajimale: A gajimale is a water spirit that comes out to seduce its victims by coming in the form of a good-looking opposite sex partner. The Bajju believe that the gajimale gave riches in exchange for the lives of children and that epilepsy, "rong ncen" or 'fire of the river' was caused by the water spirits.
- Abvoi: The Bajju worship the god Abvoi. 'Godo Abvoi' or 'Dodo' is the leader of the shrine while the 'Magajin Abvoi' is the one who relays the messages of the god to the people.
- Akurusak: They are masquerades which represent the Abvoi spirits during the celebrations.
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