Lugbara Religion

Doctrines The Lugbara of Uganda believe that the living and the dead of the same lineage are in a permanent relationship with each other. As a result, the dead are aware of the actions of the living and care about them, whom they considered as their children. However, in some circumstances, the dead send sickness to the living, in order to remind them that they are acting custodians of the Lugbara lineages and their shrines.
God is also associated with that relationship between the living and the dead. He is the creator of men, who long ago created the world. However, he is conceived as God in the sky, remote and good (Onyiru), and as God in the streams, close to people, and dangerous 'bad' (Onzi). While God created the world, the hero-ancestors and their descendants, the ancestors, formed Lugbara society. All Lugbara are descendants from the first creatures put on earth by Spirit (the creator of men) at the beginning. Spirit created a man (gborogboro) and a woman (meme), and domestic livestock. Meme had wild animals in her womb, so that after the gazelle broke out, all animals followed. Meme also bore a boy and a girl, who reproduced themselves in pairs later on for several generations, till the Lugbara heroes, Jaki and Dribidu were born.

History Due to their location in the Nile/Congo divide of Northeastern Uganda, the Lugbara have been subject to only sporadic colonial administration since 1900, even though the area had been leased by the British to the Etat Independant du Congo since 1894. Some Arab expeditions entered Lugbara country in the past; however, the Lugbara were not touched by the slave trade. The Belgians advanced through the area in 1900, opening a post at Ofude, to the west of Mount Eti, that lasted for several years. Followers of a prophet, Rembe, a kakwa living about forty miles north of Lugbara, were subsequently entrusted by the colonial administration with overseeing the relationship between the Lugbara and the colonial authorities, creating powerful chiefs that had never existed before in Lugbara.
In 1908, and after the death of the Belgian king, Leopold II, the area became part of the Sudan. By 1914 the southern portion of the Lado Enclave passed to Uganda, and a station was built at Arua. The Africa Inland Mission and the Roman Catholic Verona Fathers (Comboni Missionaries) arrived in the 1920s, they opened schools, and large missions staffed by Europeans. Islam as a tradition developed mainly through a population of Nubi traders, descendants of an Egyptian expedition led by Emin Pashan (1885-1889).

Symbols Shrines to the ancestors constitute one of the visible signs of Lugbara religion. They are of many kinds, however the most prominent ones are those erected for a ghost of an ancestor (orijo, or ghost house). They are made of pieces of granite formed into a house and placed under the chief wife's granary. As a ghost spirit can create trouble for the living, he can have several shrines, where sacrificial food and beer can be offered by his descendants who live in a particular compound. Other shrines include those built for the ancestors as ancestors, shrines for those who did not leave sons behind, shrines for the ghosts of mother's brothers, and also for women of the lineage. Stones, as part of a shrine built to the ancestors, also constitute important symbols of wealth and prestige, and they are inherited by a person's sons after his death.

Adherents No official figures available.

Main Centre
 Western Uganda, eastern Zaire and southern Sudan.