When the great gods of China are busy tearing through their dog meat, the entire world keeps silent. When the obese gods of America are busy swallowing pork chops, the entire world pretends as if nothing abnormal is happening. However, when the old but gentle gods of Africa touch pieces of chicken, the entire world goes crazy as if it is so abnormal to eat chicken.
The truth however is that, We Africans love chicken and so are our gods. Yes, Africa loves chicken and chicken loves Africa. It is almost a mutual friendship. Chicken is more than just food in some communities in Africa and I will come back to this point.
I was shocked when a friend of mine who returned from America years ago, came down with the story that most black people in America find it very uncomfortable eating chicken in public. When we asked him why, he said it is a stereotypical view in America that black people love chicken and watermelon. That sounded quite funny to me at first. Why? Because, to me, if you are not a vegetarian but you hate fried chicken then there is something very wrong with you. Just imagine a ball of watermelon on a hot summer afternoon.
Chicken in the African culture is more than just food. In the olden days in Africa (and even today in some rural communities in Africa), anytime someone offended the gods of the land, they had to pacify the gods which mostly included some blood sacrifice. The easiest and quickest way to pacify the gods was with chicken or eggs. So they often sacrificed chicken and eggs to pacify the gods. In most cases, the blood of the chicken is sprinkled on the gods as a sign of atonement just like in the old testament of the Bible. The meat is cooked and shared.
In the traditional African religion, an egg and a chicken carry the same weight so sacrificing a chicken is the same as sacrificing an egg. However, as a sign of respect, the eggs often come in dozens (12s). Although sheep, goats, cattle, etc. are all used for sacrifices, chicken was and remains the most affordable and easy to come by so sacrifices were and are often made using live chicken. Maybe this explains why so many Africans including our brothers and sisters in America held and continue to hold chicken in such high esteem. Chicken is a favorite meat we share with the gods.
In Africa, we often “assassinate” chicken on festivities such as Christmas, Easter, Eid, yam festivals, birthdays, naming ceremonies, weddings, etc.
Chicken goes well with almost any dish. From Jollof rice (favorite in Liberia), to fufu and palmnut soup (favorite in Ghana), all the way down to eba and egusi(favorite in Nigeria), Chicken remains the undefeated heavyweight champion.
Pork is something I personally hate. Eating pork is even considered a taboo in some communities in Africa. And I can’t imagine myself eating dog meat. But chicken, I love chicken!