The South African nation Mozambique gives its people full rights to practice any religion of their choice. However, no official religious holidays are there, but it allows its people to take leave on their respective religious days of observance. In this respect, it would be interesting to explore the religious beliefs in Mozambique.
Christianity - Religion Of Majority
Portugal colonized Mozambique in the middle of the 18th century. Earlier, the Arabs ruled it. The Portuguese introduced Mozambicans to Christianity in the 16th century. Thus, it is after colonization that the religion became popular in the country. Millions of people not only adopted the Portuguese way of dressing but also embraced their religion in the long colonial rule of more than two-hundred years. Currently, an approximate 28.4% of people in the nation practice Roman Catholic Christianity.
About 10.9% of the people of Mozambique practice a deviation from the Roman Catholic Christianity. They are the followers of Evangelical Protestant Christianity. Similarly, 15.5% of the population practices Zionist Protestant Christianity and a meager 1.3% follows Anglican Protestant Christianity with their own interpretation of the religion.
Many traditional beliefs of the local people were incorporated into the Christian practices. Another interesting aspect of religion in Mozambique is that an astonishing 18.7% strongly believe that there is no God. They are the atheists or agnostics and refrain themselves from committing to any religious practices.
Mozambicans got familiar with Islam via Arab traders long before the arrival of Portuguese, i.e. in the 8th century. They built mosques along the coastlines of the country, which they frequented for trade purposes. Gradually, they got in touch with the African chieftains and people of the hinterland. However, the people living in the coastlines embraced Islam more than the rest of the country, but it was never by force as in the case of other parts of the world. Even now, a significant 17.9% of the population follows Islam and are mostly Sunni. They are indigenous Mozambicans, people of South Asian descent, North Africans and immigrants from the Middle East. The traditional cultural beliefs like giving importance to the ancestors and witchcraft coexist with Islamic beliefs. Even the Swahili language spoken by a large section of the population has an abundance of Arabic words in its vocabulary.
Traditional animalist beliefs are widespread in Mozambique. They believe that spirits’ ancestors have a profound power to exert an influence on the destiny of the living people. So, they worship their ancestors and remember them during each and every important ceremony held within the family like birthdays, marriage, and death. They even believe that forests, mountains, and lakes play a major role in the lives of the local communities. They offer frequent prayers to the spirits of animate and inanimate objects of nature instead of offering the same to the Gods.