ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Many Colors of the Goddess; Ala, an African goddess of Life and Death.

Updated on April 12, 2013
A beautiful image of the lady Ala in a regal pose.
A beautiful image of the lady Ala in a regal pose. | Source

Behind the Lady Ala

The Goddess Ala is a deity known from the Igbo pantheon. A woman known for beautifully bare flesh, and symbolism of the earth, she is the mother of all. The Igbo people pray to the goddess Ala when they want the good fortune of the earth, and a bountiful Yam harvest. The Yam, a vegetable similar to our potato is the plant best known alongside the goddess, for it is the yam that is sacrificed during the harvest celebrated in her name.

It is not only the land and the fertility of the land that Ala is known for, she is also known for her dealings with the dead. Stories told by the Igbo people, tell of how the souls of the people, when they die, return to Ala's womb. Along with having dominion over the placement of souls, she also has a hand in the customs and laws of the people. She is the one who judges the deeds of people and determines their fate and whether they return to her womb. If a taboo or crime is committed against the earth, it is considered a crime against the goddess herself. Any taboo of that sort is seen as the most disgusting among the Igbo people.

When she cannot directly deliver her messages, it is her python that is often seen by her priestesses and priests. It is said that if a python is spotted, then it is Ala trying to contact the person. The python is not the only symbol associated with the goddess Ala, but the crescent moon is as well. In her images, she is often depicted as a woman with a babe in her arms.

An image of the dancers involved in the Yam Festival.
An image of the dancers involved in the Yam Festival. | Source

The Yam Festival

The yam festival is celebrated in two different countries, Ghana and Nigeria. Each of these countries has a distinct festival and tradition that honors this goddess.


It is often celebrated at the beginning of August, just after the rain season has ended and the harvest is plentiful. For the Nigerians, this festival is known as the Ikeji, or New Yam festival, and is celebrated with a couple of traditions. First is the elaborate dances that are performed. Dancers will often times wear masks that reflect the many different seasons, while others now a days will wear clothing that reflects the bright colors associated with the goddess.


For Ghana the festival of the yam goes by another name as well. Hanowo or Hoot at Hunger is the title bestowed upon this fruitful festival. For them they often celebrate with parades, usually of the strongest boys carrying the best yams so to represent the strength of the harvest and encourage harvests to be strong and bountiful in the future.

Yam Festival Dancers


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Danielle Farrow profile image

      Danielle Farrow 

      5 years ago from Scotland, UK

      Love the way symbolism crosses cultures - something you referred to in your comment on my Celtic Animal Folklore hub, of course. I am especially fond of the serpent and the moon occurring so often, as here. Thank you for this colourful information!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)