On the Nyoro concept of Mahano.
Beattie, J. H. M.
MetadataShow full item record
The concept denoted by the Nyoro term mahano is comparable with similar notions found in other cultures. The word is the plural of the noun ihano, which means anything specially strange or marvellous. If a Nyoro wishes to express surprise or astonishment, for instance at some unexpected news, he is likely to say Ky'amahano! (How astonishing!), or simply Mahano! (Amazing!). But the word implies much more than merely an exclamation of surprise. Its most important reference is to conditions of ritual or magical danger, possessing a particular kind of potency. A condition of mahano is something to be avoided, at least by ordinary people. If it cannot be avoided, relief from the state of danger which it implies may be sought through the performance of special ritual.