Spirit of dead children
Abiku ceremony













Abiku Is a Yoruba (Ethnic group from West Nigeria ans East Benin) word meaning: ‘the one who is destined to die’. The name refers to children under twelve that died, as well as to the spirits that killed them.
The general belief is, that some spirits wonder in the uninhabited wild land. These spirits, the Abiku, are sad, but mostly hungry. They try to improve their life by entering into children body. When the Abiku spirit is settled in the child body, it consumes the child food, and slowly, the child will get sick and die.
The mother will see that her child get weak, and will try to fight the Abiku spirits in different ways. If she succeed and the child heal, she will know she fought well. But if the child die, he will be buried without any ceremony.
The photo was taken in Ouidah, Benin, In a ceremony done to remember the spirits of the dead children.