Black History Month event at Awbury Arboretum focuses on West African tradition

People from across Northwest Philadelphia gathered Saturday at the Francis Cope House in Awbury Arboretum to learn about the Yoruba tradition and maintaining closeness with their ancestors.

The event was part of Historic Germantown’s ongoing Black History Month celebration.

Yoruba, a West African tradition that involves drumming and dancing, survived slavery and is thought to be as old as Christianity.

Saturday’s lesson focused on recognizing the presence of ancestors in our lives and the help they can give us.

“In this society, generally, we don’t talk about death and dying,” said Constance Garcia-Barrio, a freelance writer and academic who led the lesson. “We tend to shun it.”

Participants learned about Yoruba traditions and participated in a writing and sharing exercise where they reflected on those who have passed.

“They [ancestors] can be a part of our lives and they can guide us,” Garcia-Barrio told attendees.

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