WHAT IS KUMINA? Kumina is an Afro-Jamaican religious belief system and practice.
WHEN WAS KUMINA ESTABLISHED? Kumina was formed in the 1850s with the influx of African indentured immigrants from the Congo region of Central Africa during the immediate post-emancipation period. Kumina evolved in St.Thomas where it is said that a large percentage of immigrants settled. As years past and through migration,the practice of Kumina has been spread to areas such as Kingston,St.Catherine,St.Mary and Portland
WHAT ARE THE ASPECTS OF KUMINA? The most significant aspect of Kumina involves the ceremony which invokes communication with ancestral spirits and incorporates singing,dancing,music and sacrificial offerings. The combination of singing,dancing and music often create an environment conducive to spiritual possession,a significant phenomenon in Kumina, known as Mayal. This is when the spirit of the Gods,sky,earth-bound and ancestral spirits takes control of the dancers body causing them to become an instrument through which the spirit world communicates with the earthly domain. In this state, the dancer looses control of their own speech and movement can appear to be in a trance. The Kumina ceremonies are held for different reasons- surrounding the death of a person,tombing,weddings and anniversaries,to drive out evil spirits from those possessed,to ask for advice in important matters,for healing and to ask to free individuals from evil spirits. Thw ceremonies can also be held for persons who seek help in problems and need guidance.
WHAT ARE THE MUSIC OF KUMINA AND INSTRUMENTS USED? The music is created by the use of drums-the Kbandu and the Playing Cast, which are played astride and accompanied by shakas,graters and catta sticks. The music accompanies singing which holds different degrees of significance of Kumina ceremonies. Bailo are songs in Jamaican Creole, it is the less sacred aspects of Kumina ceremonies,while country involved the use of the Ki-Kongo language and for communication with the spirits to give them support to take over the bodies of the devotees. Dancing completes the ritual and involves movement with an erect back posture in a circular pattern anti-clockwise around the drummers, gyrating hips as the feet inch along the ground.
THE KUMINA TABLE The Kumina table is another important part of the Kumina ceremonies and consist of a number of items used to satisfy the honor of the spirits. Water, sugared water, wine, rice, rum, flowers, fruits, cake, bread candles, bottles of aerated drinks are often present. Candles of various colours such as: blue, white, green, red, black are used to symbolize different occasions and to invite spirits in personal and mutual circumstances.During ceremonies, when interaction with the spirits takes place, animal sacrifices are usually made.