One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A Jamaican folk religion focused on the power of ancestors, typically involving drumming, dancing, spirit possession, ritual sacrifice, and herbalism.
- ‘The other, myalism, was intended to counteract obeah.’
- ‘Higman notes these men of God lost their enthusiasm for the August 1st festivities as myalism infiltrated the churches.’
- ‘He was sometimes called upon by other missionaries to travel to distant places during a revival of obeah and myalism during the early 1840s.’
- ‘The centrality of myalism in the novel indicates the constant process of creolization that is sustained by elements from the different cultures that make up Caribbean communities.’
- ‘In Myal, a community invokes myalism, the earliest documented Jamaican religion with African roots, to counteract the psychological damage inflicted on a young woman by the circumstances of her life.’
Mid 19th century: from myal, in the same sense (perhaps from Hausa mayl ‘sorcerer’), + -ism.
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