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This is an article about the Fon people; for the article about the Fon chieftains of Cameroon, see Fon (Cameroon). For an article about the company sharing Wi-Fi Internet Access, see FON

Fon is a major West African ethnic and linguistic group in the country of Benin, and southwest Nigeria, made up of more than 3,500,000 people. The Fon language is the main language spoken in Southern Benin, and is a member of the Gbe language group. Closely related cultures include the Ewe, Aja and Guin peoples. The Fon are said to originate from Tado, a village in south east Togo, near the border with Benin.

The culture is patrilineal and allows polygamy and divorce. Funerals (and anniversaries of deaths) are among the most important cultural events, with mourning activities including drumming and dancing often lasting for days. The Fon believe that part of the person dies and part is reincarnated.

Most Fon today live in villages and small towns in mud houses with corrugated iron gable roofs. Cities built by the Fon include Abomey, the historical capital city of Dahomey, and Ouidah on the Slave Coast. These cities were major commercial centres for the slave trade.

Fon religion

See main articles Dahomey mythology and West African Vodun

While many Fon identify as Christian, the majority practice Benin's national religion Vodun. The Fon name for a god or spirit is "Vodu". Practise can involve drumming to induce possession by one of these gods or spirits. Fon religion is polytheistic, with a supreme (but not omnipotent) deity known as Nana Buluku.

Fon influence in the New World

See Afro-Latin American for general information.

Many descendants of the Fon now live in the Americas as a result of the Atlantic slave trade. Together with other cultural groups from the Fon homeland region such as the Yoruba and Bantu, Fon culture merged with French, Portuguese or Spanish to produce distinct religions (Voodoo, Mami Wata, Candomblé and Santería), dance and musical styles (Arará, Yan Valu)

See also

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