Nuer Religion

Doctrines Nuer believe that God is the Spirit of the sky or the spirit who is in the sky (Kwoth nhial or Kwoth a nhial). There are other lesser spirits, some in the sky (of the above), some of the earth (of the below). Nuer believe in the coming of God through rain, lightening and thunder, and that the rainbow is the necklace of God. The sun and the moon as well as other material entities are also manifestations of God, who after all is a Spirit.
The spirits of the air (above) are believed to be the most powerful of the lesser spirits, while there are also spirits associated with clan-spears names such as wiu, a spirit of war, associated with thunder. Nuer also believe in colwic. These are regarded as spirits of the above which were once persons. They become ancestral spirits, and every lineage tends to have a patron colwic.
When a man or a woman dies, the flesh, the life and the soul separate. The flesh is committed to the earth, while the breath or life goes back to God. The soul that signifies the human individuality and personality remains alive as a shadow or a reflection, and departs together with the ox sacrificed, to the place of the ghosts, wherever that place is.

History Excavations on the Nile, around 400 miles north of the Upper Nile Basin, suggest that there was an economic system almost identical to that of the Nuer/Dinka by 3372 B.C. However, oral traditions also suggest that there was a greater expansion into their current territories from 1500 to 1800 A.D.
Any account of recent Nuer history must include references to the Dinka. Between 1818 and 1890, the Nuer increased fourfold the territory under their control, so that it ranged from the west central portion of the Upper Nile Basin (Sudan) to the eastern edge of that Basin. The Dinka (and Nuak) who inhabited that territory came under Nuer control, a process made easier by the fact that the Dinka and Nuer derive from a common stock, speak closely related languages, formerly occupied a common ecological zone, and share similar systems of economic production.
In the 1850s and 1860s traders expanded their operations into previously unexplored river systems, and moved into the interior of the Upper Nile Basin. During the 1840s and the 1850s missionaries arrived in the Sudan, and made initial contacts with Dinka and Nuer. By 1865, trading caravans with ivory and slaves used to pass through the area, and by 1874 serious efforts to disrupt those caravans were implemented by the British. However, it was not only till 1898-1900 that the British organized and managed the Upper Nile Basin.

Symbols Material things can be symbols of the spirits of the below, rather than of the spirits of the above. Phenomena associated with the firmament are symbols of God, as well as sickness and death, rain and pestilence, events that are directly associated with the above. Therefore snakes or pied crows symbolize spirits of the below, while a cucumber used as the main element of Nuer sacrifice, symbolizes a cow, that is offered in order to secure future prosperity, and the balanced interaction between God, the Nuer and the world of the spirits.

Adherents No official figure available.

Main Centre
 Southern Sudan.