Without delving profoundly into early oral tradition of French West Africa, which is as varied and complex as the many ethnic groups that inhabit this region, it suffices to mention the important role of rites, ritual, and traditional ceremonies in the daily life of precolonial Africans. Although rites and rituals were generally connected with religious practices, they were often accompanied by music, dance, and, in many cases, formal expressions and gestures. The special masks and attire worn for such occasions were also reminiscent of drama. Although many of the traditional African ceremonies represented solemn occasions enacted to pay homage to the ancestral gods or to celebrate rites of passage, there were those that also served as a source of entertainment, such as the ceremonies associated with the celebration of the harvest, hunting, marriages, and births. In a less elaborate form, elements of drama were also present in traditional storytelling. The storyteller, often the village griot (musician-entertainer), brought to life numerous characters through his dramatic impersonation of the various personalities in folktales, legends, and epics.