The History Of Black People And Gourds

person holding a coconut
Briona Lamback
May 3, 2024

From everyday uses like storing food to aiding in spiritual rituals, gourds are loved for their durability and are considered a blank canvas. Our people paint and dye them as a part of home decor, festivals, and celebrations.

Because of our history of being in tune with our environments, some consider gourds a form of verbal expression of nature. Traditionally, the Hausa people "...identify the universe as a spherical gourd, its halves representing the sky and the earth, and the rims, where they join being the horizon." The Fulani "compare a gourd filled with smaller gourds” to "the sky filled with stars."

We carried our affinity for gourds across the Atlantic, where enslaved Africans would "follow the drinking gourd," to the North, and freedom.

In pursuing liberation, spirituality has always kept us, so gourds are crucial to divination practices. They're often used to hold water when calling on spirits. They have the power to restore balance between dissenting groups.

The creativity of our ancestors is in our DNA. How can your creativity help make something meaningful for future generations?