Cultural view of The Dan People

Dan, also called Gio or Yakuba, is a Mande ethnic group from Northwestern Ivory Coast. Neighboring Tribe includes Krahn, Kpelle and Mano. In the tenth century, population growth and land depletion caused The Dan to move South of the Nimba People and into the forests. The people of Dan are known for their artworks, especially their mask rituals also for their secret society, Gor.

People living in Dan have the same characteristics like in the case of leaving the tribe for a period of time, The people of Dan carry small masks for personal protection when away from home, worshipping the same spiritual being called Zu. The Dan are mainly Agriculturalists. They clear the forest land with the aim of planting cash crops and others like cassava, rice, sweet potatoes, cocoa, coffee and rubber.

The women too are not left out as they are given a small plot of ground to grow vegetables mainly for the households and to sell in the market. Livestock such as sheep, cow, goats, fowls are also breed among the people. When it comes to special ritual occasion like performing sacrifices some of these animals (white ones) are eaten.

Like many other cultures, The Dan culture is not left out as they also have some things that differentiate them from other cultures. Dan men are initiated into manhood through their own fraternal societies that guide them throughout their lives. Boys who are initiated at a particular age in the society are prepared to encounter the mysteries of the spirit world and also taught how to behave like a Dan man. These societies are headed by elders.

Specific days of the year are set whereby these societies display their power and effectiveness through masquerades. They are being used to regulate cases, strengthen laws as well. During the ancient days, Dan huts were small, with just a single-room made of mud and thatch. Today, changes are being made. Houses are mickle and rectangular with many rooms. Although, old traditions is still being practiced, it is not common among some regions.

Dan is divided into quarters, housing an extended family or lineage. Each quarter is headed by a chief who is chosen for being the oldest male in the society or having the most aggressive personality. Although, The real power comes from the council of elders who assist the chief in all decisions. Titles are given to non-tribe members who have helped the tribe in pushing it forward.

The children stay in the mother hut until they are old enough to move out. It is part of their culture that children are not allowed to stay with the father until they have learnt the ways of Dan people. The people of Dan have spread across Africa , making their culture valuable and still known up still today.

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