Ancestors And Cultural Heritage
By Ambrose Ekhosuehi
ANCESTORS and cultural heritage are the foot print marks of the past, present and future trustees of the teaming generations. Ancestors being persons from whom people were descended lived their lives in obedience and traditions, set aright for victory in warfare or in carrying out of any assignment that added to the people’s self-esteem.
The ancestors are now used as vehicles of action and further actions or as an instrument for the sustenance of this action of the culture thus in striving to maintain one’s cultural heritage it should not lead to other people’s way of culture. It is vital to maintain one’s cultural identity, for that is where one gets true meaning of human persons.
Irrespective of where parents find themselves with their children, they should endeavour to teach their children their native dialects and directing their steps towards ancestral home, because language carries with it the culture and world view of the people who own it.
When a person learns and speaks other language, it becomes a new process of interacting with other culture, but the ancestral language should be held fast and also find the new language useful. There is give and take in culture so in language too there is borrowing and taking hence there are different cultural rhythms.
Ancestors are those who have realized to a remarkable degree the values and aspirations of their culture. They can be acknowledged by the family, kindred or the community.
An ancestor may be a well renowned traditional ruler or a king who was not just a ruler but a leader, whose legacy had made tremendous achievements and lived ordinarily in extra-ordinary manner thereby positively influencing the masses both consciously and unconsciously.
Ancestors and cultural heritage share ultimate reality on certain characteristics with other human kind. Ancestors, being imperishable, become the link between the individual, the community and the ultimate reality which is the source and support of all things.
In every culture, ancestors are invoked during ceremonies, festivals and services, during prayers and celebrations. Ancestors, having ones been in the flesh, where not strangers to people’s problems. Human beings are sometimes short of divine graces, so with the intercession of the ancestors, a person can be revived again.
Ancestors were holy people and are persons believed to have special relation with what is seen as sacred reality, spiritual powers, mystical realms and other aspects said to be sacred.
Ancestors were holy people and holiness entails good moral way of living, and since they were of this mundane world it is a challenge to those now in the world that they should be like them in culture.
Cultural heritage therefore refers to all those things which go to the refining and developing of people’s diverse mental and psychological endowments. It is the integral system of learned behavioural patterns which are characteristic of a cultural society. It is not of biological inheritance as culture does not come from human genes but rather from taught and learned.
Cultural heritage conditions the behaviour of human person. The human person who is influenced by culture, in turn influences it and transmitts it further as human beings are culture shaped and culture transmitting. In many aspects of relation between human being ancestors, and cultural heritage is like that of life fish and fresh water, hence cultural heritage consists of patterns acquired and transmitted by symbols.
Cultural heritage constitute the distinctive achievement of human groups, including their embodiment in artifacts. The essential core consists of traditional ideas, especially their attached values. It is considered as products of action and as elements of further action.
A person must see one, another as sons and daughters and of one universe so that people begin to see and appreciate culture within the world in which cultural heritage have certain characteristics of an ancestor because humanity in global civilization is really one family.
All religious groups behoove ancestors depending on the belief. Both traditional people and other religious people believe that the souls of the nice, good people liveth while there are basic point referring to their words, works and foot print in the sand of time.
They are called upon or invoked to witness and to sanctify various kinds of rites. Figures of Ancestors are often used as focal point and are venerated, as those who founded the groups are remembered.
Ancestors and cultural heritage within the indigenous group of people are vulnerable to modernization. Outside influences give innovators the opportunity to bring about change, that is “To live is to change and to be perfect is to have changed often”.
A human society or culture can change into different kind of society or culture, but no human society or culture is so completely closed that change is totally impossible.
Change may be radical but it is seldom total. There are continuities as well as discontinuities, which means that new elements are absorbed into the previously existing traditions.
Ancestors and cultural heritage in sum total, are needed to create an economic system that is more participatory and more human; so that they will uphold authentic religious and cultural values of the indigenous communities.