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Yoruba. a Little Bit of Info

Yoruba. a Little Bit of Info

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A little bit of Info

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History of the Yoruba people Yoruba religion Yoruba music Yoruba people Yoruba language Santería Orisha 1 4 9 11 21 30 34

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History of the Yoruba people


History of the Yoruba people
Ancient history
The African peoples who lived in Yorubaland, at least by the 4th century BC, were not initially known as the Yoruba, although they shared a common ethnicity and language group. Both archeology and traditional Yoruba oral historians confirm the existence of people in this region for several millennia. Yoruba spiritual heritage maintains that the Yoruba ethnic groups are a unique people who were originally created at Ile-Ife. Legend holds that the creation was delegated by the supreme spiritual force, Olodumare. The name "Yoruba" is an adaptation of euroba"(arabism). Yoruba civilization remains one of the most technologically and artistically advanced in West Africa to this time. Some contemporary historians contend that some Yoruba are not indigenous to Yorubaland, but are descendants of immigrants from elsewhere to the region. This version of history contends that Oduduwa was a prince from mecca, under whose leadership Yorubaland was conquered towards 600 BCE and the kingdom of Ife was established.[1] Oduduwa's relatives established kingdoms in the rest of Yorubaland. One of Oduduwa's sons, Oranmiyan, took the throne of Benin and expanded the Oduduwa Dynasty eastwards. Further expansion led to the establishment of the Yoruba in what are now Southwest Nigeria, Benin, and Togo, with Yoruba city-states acknowledging the spiritual heritage primacy of the ancient city of Ile Ife. The southeastern Benin Empire, ruled by a dynasty that traced its ancestry to Ifẹ and Oduduwa but largely populated by the Edo and other related ethnicities, also held considerable sway in the election of nobles and kings in eastern Yorùbáland.

Golden age
Between 1100 CE and 1700 CE, the Yoruba Kingdom of Ife experienced a golden age. It was then surpassed by the Oyo Empire as the dominant Yoruba military and political power between 1700 CE and 1900 CE. The nearby splinter Yoruba kingdom of Benin was also a powerful force between 1300 and 1850 CE. Most of the city states were controlled by Obas (elected monarchs) and councils made up of Oloyes, recognised leaders of royal, noble and, often, even common descent, who joined them in ruling over the kingdoms through a series of guilds and cults. Different states saw differing ratios of power between the kingship and the chiefs' council. Some such as Oyo had powerful, autocratic monarchs with almost total control, while in others such as the Ijebu city-states, the senatorial councils were supreme and the Ọba served as something of a figurehead. In all cases, however, Yoruba monarchs were subject to the continuing approval of their constituents as a matter of policy, and could be easily compelled to abdicate for demonstrating dictatorial tendencies or incompetence. The order to vacate the throne was usually communicated through an aroko or symbolic message, of parrots' eggs delivered in a covered calabash bowl by the senators.

Modern history
The Yoruba eventually established a federation of city-states under the political ascendancy of the city state of Oyo located on the Northern fringes of Yorubaland in the savanna plains between the forests of present Southwest Nigeria and the Niger River. Following a Jihad led by Uthman Dan Fodio and a rapid consolidation of the Hausa city states of contemporary northern Nigeria, the Fulani Sokoto Caliphate annexed the buffer Nupe Kingdom and began to press southwards towards the Oyo Empire. Shortly after, they overran the Yoruba city of Ilorin and then sacked Ọyọ-Ile, the capital city of the Ọyọ Empire. Following this, Ọyọ-Ile was abandoned and the Ọyọ retreated south to the present city of Oyo (formerly "Ago d'Oyo", or "Oyo Atiba") in a forested region where the cavalry of the Sokoto Caliphate was less effective. Further attempts by the Sokoto Caliphate to expand southwards were checked by the Yoruba who had rallied to resist under

History of the Yoruba people the military leadership of the City State of Ibadan which rose from the old Oyo Empire, and of the Ijebu city-states. However, the Oyo hegemony had been dealt a mortal blow. The other Yoruba city-states broke free of Oyo dominance, and subsequently became embroiled in a series of internecine. These wars weakened the southern Yorubas in their opposition to British colonial and military invasions. In 1960, greater Yorubaland was subsumed into the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The historical records of the Yoruba, which became more accessible in the nineteenth century with the more permanent arrival of the Europeans, tell of heavy raids by the mounted Fulani warriors of the north as well as of endemic intercity warfare amongst the Yoruba themselves. Archaeological evidence of the greatness of their ancient civilization in the form of, amongst other things, extensive city fortifications that are centuries old, never the less abound.[2]


During the 19th century, the term Yoruba or Yariba came into wider use, first confined to the Ọyọ. The term is often believed to be derived from a Hausa ethnonym for the populous people to their south, but this has not been substantiated by historians. As an ethnic description, the word first appeared in a treatise written by the Songhai scholar Ahmed Baba (16th century) and is likely to derive from the indigenous ethnonyms Ọyọ (Oyo) or Yagba, two Yoruba-speaking groups along the northern borders of their territory. However, it is likely that the ethnonym was popularized by Hausa usage and ethnography written in Arabic and Ajami. Under the influence of Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther, a Yoruba clergyman, subsequent missionaries extended the term to include all speakers of related dialects. Before the abolition of the slave trade, some Yoruba groups were known among Europeans as Akú, a name derived from the first words of Yoruba greetings such as Ẹ kú àárọ? ‘good morning’ and Ẹ kú alẹ? ‘good evening.’

Yoruba origin mythology
The mythology of the origin of the Yoruba, who refer to themselves as "Omo O'odua" (Children of Oduduwa), revolves around the mythical figure of Oduduwa or Odudua . The meaning of the name may be translated as "the spiritual one ("O/Ohun") who created the knowledge ("odu") of character ("iwa")."
one God, Olodumare, but also believe that the only way to reach Him is through the divinities.

Some say that the making of land is a symbolic reference to the founding of the Yoruba kingdoms and that this is why Oduduwa is credited with the achievement.[3] Recently, historians have attributed this cosmological mythology to a pre-existing civilization at Ilė-Ifę which was invaded by a militant immigrants from the east, led by a king named Oduduwa. Oduduwa and his group had been persecuted on the basis of religious differences and forced out of their homeland. They came to Ilé-Ifè where they came across Oreluere and his people. Other informants are convinced that Oduduwa and his followers were believed to have subjugated the pre-existing Igbo whom local informants relate to the present Igbo people, though this claim has not been supported by competent historians.

History of the Yoruba people


After Oduduwa
Upon the "disapearing act" of Oduduwa, there was a dispersal of his children from Ilé-Ifè to found other kingdoms (Owu, Ketu, Benin, Ila, Sabe, Popo, Awori and Oyo). Each making a mark in the subsequent urbanization and consolidation of Yoruba confederacy of kingdoms, with each kingdom tracing its origin to Ile-Ife.[4]

[1] Lange, "Dying and rising God", in: Ancient Kingdoms (http:/ / books. google. de/ books?id=syATJKcx5A0C& printsec=frontcover& dq=lange,+ kingdoms& hl=de& ei=N_-fTYqhL82Vswam6KzoAQ& sa=X& oi=book_result& ct=result& resnum=1& ved=0CCsQ6AEwAA#v=onepage& q& f=false), pp. 339-341. [2] Gat, Azar. "War in human civilization" Oxford University Press, 2006, pg 275. [3] Idowu, Bolaji: Olodumare: God in Yoruba Belief, London 1962. [4] Yoruba Alliance: (http:/ / www. yorubaalliance. org/ Newsletter/ newsletter74. htm)Who are the Yoruba?

• Akintoye, Stephen Adebanji: A History of the Yoruba People, Dakar, 2010. • Idowu, Bolaji: Olodumare: God in Yoruba Belief, London 1962. • Johnson, Samuel: History of the Yorubas, London 1921. • Lucas, Jonathan Olumide "The Religion of the Yorubas", Lagos 1948. • Lange, Dierk: "The dying and the rising God in the New Year Festival of Ife", in: Lange, Ancient Kingdoms of West Africa (http://books.google.de/books?id=syATJKcx5A0C&printsec=frontcover&dq=lange,+ kingdoms&hl=de&ei=N_-fTYqhL82Vswam6KzoAQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1& ved=0CCsQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false), Dettelbach 2004, pp. 343–376. • Law, Robin: The Oyo Empire, c. 1600 – c. 1836, Oxford 1977. • Smith, Robert: Kingdoms of the Yoruba, 1st ed. 1969, 3rd ed. London 1988.

Yoruba religion


Yoruba religion
The Yorùbá religion comprises the original religious beliefs and practices of the Yoruba people. Its homeland is in Southwestern Nigeria and the adjoining parts of Benin and Togo, a region that has come to be known as Yorubaland. During the Atlantic slave trade, it was carried by a number of enslaved practitioners to the Americas and the West Indies, where it has influenced or given birth to a slew of religious systems such as Lucumí, Umbanda and Candomblé.[1] Yoruba religious beliefs are part of itan, the total collection of songs, histories, stories and other cultural concepts which make up the Yorùbá mode of existence.[1] [2] [3]

According to Kola Abimbola, the Yorùbá have evolved a robust philosophy,[1] in brief, it holds that all human beings possess what is known as "Àyànmô"[4] (destiny, fate) and are expected to eventually become one in spirit with Olódùmarè (Olòrún, the divine creator and source of all energy). Furthermore, the thoughts and actions of each person in Ayé (the physical realm) interact with all other living things, including the Earth itself.[2] Each person attempts to achieve transcendence and find their destiny in Òrún-Réré (the spiritual realm of those who do good and beneficial things, a place somewhat similar to the Abrahamic kingdom of Heaven). One's Orí-Inu (spiritual consciousness in the physical realm) must grow in order to consummate union with one's "Ipônri" (Orí Òrún, spiritual self).[4] Those who stop growing spiritually, in any of their given lives, are destined for "Òrún-Apadi" (Lit. the invisible realm of potsherds). Life and death are said to be cycles of existence in a series of physical bodies while one's spirit evolves toward transcendence. This evolution is said to be most evident amongst the Orishas, the divine viziers of the Almighty God. Iwapẹlẹ (or well-balanced) meditation and sincere veneration is sufficient to strengthen the Orí-Inu of most people.[2] [4] Well-balanced people, it is believed, are able to make positive use of the simplest form of connection between their Oris and the omnipotent Olu-Òrún: an adúra (petition or prayer) for divine support. Prayer to one's Orí Òrún has been known to produce an immediate sensation of joy. Ẹlégbara (Eṣu, the divine messenger) initiates contact with Òrún on behalf of the petitioner, and transmits the prayer to Ayé; the deliverer of àṣẹ or the spark of life. He transmits this prayer without distorting it in any way. Thereafter, the petitioner may be satisfied with a personal answer. In the event that he or she is not, the Ifa oracle of the Orisha Orunmila may also be consulted. All communication with Òrún, whether simplistic in the form of a personal prayer or complicated in the form of that done by an initiated priest of divination, however, is energized by invoking àṣẹ. In the Yorùbá belief system, Olódùmarè has àṣẹ over all that is. It is for this reason that He is considered supreme.[2] According to a Yorùbá account of creation, during a certain stage in this process, the "truth" was sent to confirm the habitability of the newly formed planets. The earth being one of these was visited but deemed too wet for conventional life. After a successful period of time, a number of divinities were commanded to accomplish the task of helping earth develop its crust. On one of their visits to the realm, the arch-divinity Obatala took to the stage equipped with a mollusk that held in its shell some form of soil; two winged beasts and some cloth like material. He emptied the soil onto what soon became a large mound on the surface of the water and soon after, the winged-beasts began to scatter this around until the point where it gradually made into a large patch of dry land; the various indentations they created eventually becoming hills and valleys.[5] Obatala leaped on to a high-ground and named the place Ife. The land became fertile and plant life began to flourish. From handfuls of earth he began to mould figurines. Meanwhile, as this was happening on earth, Olódùmarè gathered the gasses from the far reaches of space and sparked an explosion that shaped into a fireball. He subsequently sent it to Ife, where it dried much of the land and simultaneously began to bake the motionless figurines. It was at this point that Olódùmarè released the "breath of life" to blow across the land, and the figurines

Yoruba religion slowly came into "being" as the first people of Ife.[5] For this reason, Ile-Ife is localy referred to as the "cradle of existence".[5]


Olódùmarè is the most important "state of existence".[5] Regarded as being all-encompassing, no gender can therefore be assigned. Hence, it is common to hear references to "it" or "they" (although this is meant to address a somewhat singularity) in usual speech. "They" are the owner of all heads, for during human creation, Olódùmarè gave "êmí" (the breath of life) to humankind. In this, Olódùmarè is Supreme[5] Perhaps one of the most important human endeavors extolled within the tribe's literary corpus is the quest to better one's "Iwa" (character, behaviour). In this way the tribal teaching transcends religious doctrine, advising as it does that a person must also better his civic, social and intellectual spheres of being; every stanza of the sacred Ifa oracular poetry has a portion covering the importance of "Iwa". Central to this is the theme of righteousness, both individual and collective.[6]

An Alternative Version Of The Creation
The Yorùbá regard Olódùmarè as the principal agent of creation. In another telling of the creation, Olódùmarè (also called Olorun) is the creator. In the beginning there is only water. Olódùmarè sends Obatala to bring forth land. Obatala descended from above on a long chain, bringing with him a rooster, some earth, and some iron. He stacked the iron in the water, the earth on the iron, and the chicken atop the earth. The chicken kicked and scattered the earth, creating land. Some of the other divinities descended upon it to live with Obatala. One of them, Chameleon, came first to judge if the earth was dry. When he said that it was, Olódùmarè called the land Ife for "wide". Obatala then created humans out of earth and called Olódùmarè to blow life into them. Some say Obatala was jealous and wished to be the only giver of life, but Olódùmarè put him to sleep as he worked. Conversely, it is also said by others that it is Obatala who shapes life while it is still in the womb.[7]

An Orisha (Orisa or Orixa) is an entity that possesses the capability of reflecting some of the manifestations of Olódùmarè. Yòrùbá Orishas (translated "owners of heads") are often described as intermediaries between man and the supernatural. The term is often translated as "deities" or "divinities".[8] Orisha(s) are more like "anamistic entities" and have control over specific elements in nature, thus being better referred to as the divinities. Even so, there are those of their number that are more akin to ancient heroes and/or sages[3] These are best addressed as dema deities. Even though in the basics of things, the term Orisha is often used to describe either of these loose groups of entities, it is mainly reserved for the former.[3]
Orishas Orunmila Attributes The Yorùbá Grand Priest and custodian of the Ifa Oracle, source of knowledge who is believed to oversee the knowledge of the Human Form, Purity, the Cures of illnesses and deformities. His suburdinate priests or followers are the Awos. Often ill-translated as "The Devil" or "The Evil Being", Èsù is in truth neither of these. Best referred to as "The Trickster", he deals a hand of misfortune to those that do not offer tribute or are deemed to be spiritual novices. Also regarded as the "divine messenger", a prime negotiator between negative and positive forces in the body and an enforcer of the "law of being". He is said to assist in enhancing the power derived from herbal medicines. The divinity of iron and metallurgy. Mother of Waters, Nurturer of Water Resources. According to Olorishas, she is the amniotic fluid in the womb of the pregnant woman, as well as the breasts which nurture. She is considered the protective energy of the feminine force.

Èsù or Elegbara

Ogun Yemoja

Yoruba religion



Wife of the former Oba of Oyo called Shango (another Yoruba Orisha, see below) is said to have turned into a river in Osogbo. The Yoruba clerics ascribed to her Sensuality, Beauty and Gracefulness, symbolizing both their people's search for clarity and a flowing motion. She is associated with several powers, including abilities to heal with cool water, induction of fertility and the control of the feminine essence. Women appeal to her for child-bearing and for the alleviation of female disorders. The Yoruba traditions describe her as being fond of babies and her intervention is sought if a baby becomes ill. Oshun is also known for her love of honey. Associated with Virility, Masculinity, Fire, Lightning, Stones, Warriors and Magnetism. He is said to have the abilities to transform base substances into those that are pure and valuable. He was the Oba of Oyo at some point in its history. He derived his nickname Oba Koso from the tales of his immortality. The other wife of the former Oba of Oyo called Shango (another Yoruba Orisha, see above), she is said to have turned into the River Niger. She is often described as the Tempest, Guardian of the Cemetery, Winds of Change, Storms and Progression. Due to her personal power, she is usually depicted as being in the company of her husband Shango. Orisha of rebirth.



Irúnmôlè are entities sent by the Supreme (Olódùmarè) to complete given tasks, often acting as liaisons between Orun (the invisible realm) and Aiye (the physical realm).[3] Irúnmôlè(s) can best be described as ranking divinities; whereby such divinities are regarded as the principal Orishas.

The Yoruba believe in reincarnation within the family. The names Babatunde (father returns), Yetunde (Mother returns), Babatunji (Father wakes once again) and Sotunde (The wise man returns) all offer vivid evidence of the Ifa concept of familial or lineal rebirth. There is no simple guarantee that your grandfather or great uncle will "come back" in the birth of your child, however. Whenever the time arrives for a spirit to return to Earth (otherwise known as The Marketplace) through the conception of a new life in the direct bloodline of the family, one of the component entities of a person's being returns, while the other remains in Heaven (Ikole Orun). The spirit that returns does so in the form of a Guardian Ori. One's Guardian Ori, which is represented and contained in the crown of the head, represents not only the spirit and energy of one's previous blood relative, but the accumulated wisdom he or she has acquired through a myriad of lifetimes. This is not to be confused with one’s spiritual Ori, which contains personal destiny, but instead refers to the coming back to The Marketplace of one's personal blood Ori through one's new life A Egungun masquerade dance garment in the and experiences. The explanation in The Way of the Orisa [9][10] was permanent collection of The Children’s Museum really quite clear. The Primary Ancestor (which should be identified in of Indianapolis your Itefa (Life Path Reading) [11]) becomes - if you are aware and work with that specific energy - a “guide” for the individual throughout their lifetime. At the end of that life they return to their identical spirit self and merge into one, taking the additional knowledge gained from their experience with the individual as a form of payment.

Yoruba religion


Yoruba religion around the world
According to Professor S. A. Akintoye, the Yorùbá people spread across the globe in an unprecedented fashion;[12] the reach of their culture is largely due to events that occurred between the 16th and 19th centuries AD. During this period, many were sold into slavery by both tribal enemies and European slave dealers and were transported to Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Venezuela and other parts of the New World. Along with what little they could manage, they carried their traditional religious beliefs with them to their new homes. The school of thought they provided them with combined with those of both the native Amerindians and the European colonists to form what now constitutes the core of the "New World lineages"[12] [13] [14] [15] : • • • • • Santería or "regla lucumi" (Cuba) Oyotunji (U.S.) Candomblé (Brazil) Umbanda (Brazil) Batuque (Brazil)

Relationship with Vodou
The popularly known Vodou faith, said to have originated amongst a different ethnic group (the Gba speaking peoples of modern Benin, Togo and Ghana), shares some similarities with the religion.

[1] Kola Abimbola, Yoruba Culture: A Philosophical Account, (ed Paperback),Iroko Academics Publishers, 2005. ISBN 1-905-38800-4 Retrieved 27-03-2011 [2] George E. Simpson, Yoruba Religion and Medicine in Ibadan, Ibadan University Press, 1991. ISBN 9-781-21068-0 [3] J. Olumide Lucas, The Religion of the Yorubas, Athelia Henrietta PR, 1996. ISBN 0-963-87878-6 [4] Afọlabi Ọlabimtan, Àyànmọ́, Lagos, Macmillan Nigeria, 1973. OCLC 33249752 [5] Bolaji Idowu, Olódùmarè : God in Yoruba Belief , ,Longman, Ikeja, Nigeria (1982) ISBN 0-582-60803-1 [6] Ifaloju , Iwòrì Méjì: Ifá speaks on Righteousness (http:/ / ifaspeaks. blogspot. com/ 2011/ 02/ odu-ifa-iwori-meji-ifa-speaks-on. html), (an extract from S.S. Popoola, Ifa Dida, Library, INC) 2011 [7] Leeming & Leeming 2009 – entry "Yoruba" (http:/ / www. oxfordreference. com/ views/ ENTRY. html?subview=Main& entry=t279. e319) . Retrieved 2010-04-30. [8] Cf. The Concept of God: The People of Yoruba (http:/ / organizations. uncfsu. edu/ ncrsa/ journal/ v03/ johnsonoyinade_yoruba. htm) for the acceptability of the translation [9] http:/ / www. spiritualtools. org/ The-Way-of-the-Orisa-p110. html [10] The Way of the Orisha by Philip John Neimark: Publisher HarperOne; 1st edition (May 28, 1993) ISBN 9780062505576 [11] http:/ / www. ifafoundation. org/ case-histories-from-ifa [12] Prof S. A. Akintoye, A history of the Yoruba people (http:/ / www. amazon. co. uk/ History-Yoruba-Stephen-Adebanji-Akintoye/ dp/ 2359260057/ ref=sr_1_1?s=books& ie=UTF8& qid=1301193953& sr=1-1), Amalion Publishing, 2010. ISBN 2-359-26005-7. Retrieved 27-03-2011 [13] David H. Brown (Ph.D.), Santería Enthroned: Innovation in an Afro-Cuban Religion, University Of Chicago Press, 2003. ISBN 0-226-07610-5 [14] Oditous, Yoruba (http:/ / anthrocivitas. net/ forum/ showthread. php?t=9088), Anthropology, Anthrocivitas Online, 2010. Retrieved 27-03-2011 [15] Baba Ifa Karade, The Handbook of Yoruba Religious Concepts, Weiser Books, York Beach, New York, 1994. ISBN 0-877-28789-9

Yoruba religion


Further reading
• Charles Spencer King, "Nature's Ancient Religion" ISBN 978-1440417337 • The Way of the Orisha (http://www.spiritualtools.org/The-Way-of-the-Orisa-p110.html) by Philip John Neimark: Publisher HarperOne; 1st edition (May 28, 1993) ISBN 9780062505576 • Olódùmarè : God in Yoruba Belief by Bolaji Idowu, Ikeja : Longman Nigeria (1982) ISBN 0-582-60803-1 • Dr. Jonathan Olumide Lucas, "The Religion of the Yorubas", Lagos 1948, C. M. S. Bookshop. • Leeming, David Adams; Leeming, Margaret Adams (2009). A Dictionary of Creation Myths (Oxford Reference Online ed.). Oxford University Press. • Morales, Ed (2003). The Latin Beat. Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-81018-2., pg. 177 • Miguel A. De La Torre, Santería: The Beliefs and Rituals of a Growing Religion in America, 2004, ISBN 0-8028-4973-3. • Chief S. Solagbade Popoola, Ikunle Abiyamo: The ASE of Motherhood (http://www.alawoye.com/ Ifa_Orunmila_:_Alawoye/Book_News_&_Reviews/Entries/2008/1/ 9_Ikunle_Abiyamo_-_It_is_on_Bent_Knees_that_I_Gave_Birth,_.html) 2007. Asefin Media Publication • Chief Solagbade Popoola Foundation Ifa Dida Volume One of Seventeen (http://alawoye.com/ Ifa_Orunmila_:_Alawoye/Ifa_Book_News_&_Reviews/Entries/2008/6/ 1_Ifa_Didaa_-_Ifa_Consultation_for_the_Beginner_&_Professional_.html) ISBN 978-0-9810013-1-9 Asefin Media LLP 2008 • Ase Magazine titles: Olodumare, Irunmole, Irunmole Faithfuls, Obatala, Ogun, Yemoja, Esu, Orunmila, Osun, etc. Ibile Faith Society. (Nigeria/Germany) www.yorubareligion.org • Miguel R. Bances – Baba Eshu Onare,Tratado Enciclopedico de Ifa. Los 16 Meyis y sus Omoluos u Odus o Signos de Ifa. www.tratadosifasanteria.com

External links
• The Lost Truth of the Yoruba (http://www.ifafoundakkktion.org/lost-truth-of-the-yoruba/) • Yoruban cosmology and mythology (http://www.photius.com/religion/yoruba.html) • The Place of Susanne Wenger's Art in Yoruba Religion (http://www.africaresource.com/ijele/issue5/olajubu. html) • Ibeji (http://www.tribalartforum.org/ibeji/ibeji.html) • Ifa Books/The 16 Mayis and Omoluos (http://www.tratadosifasanteria.com) • Yorùbá Religious Community in Portugal (http://www.comunidadeportuguesadocandombleyoruba.wordpress. com) • Traditional Yorùbá site dedicated to teaching (http://www.alawoye.com) • Ifa Studies Podcast hosted by Awoyinfa Ifaloju on iTunes (http://alawoye.com/Ifa_Orunmila_:_Alawoye/ Eko_Ifa_Podcast/Eko_Ifa_Podcast.html) • West African Orisa Tradition of Nigeria (http://www.gbawoniyi.com)

Yoruba music


Yoruba music
The music of the Yoruba people of Nigeria is best known for an extremely advanced drumming tradition, especially using the dundun[1] hourglass tension drums. Yoruba folk music became perhaps the most prominent kind of West African music in Afro-Latin and Caribbean musical styles. Yorùbá music left an especially important influence on the music used in Lukumi[2] practice and the music of Cuba[3]

Folk music
Ensembles using the dundun play a type of music that is also called dundun.[4] These ensembles consist of various sizes of tension drums along with special band drums (ogido). The gangan[5] is another such. The leader of a dundun ensemble is the oniyalu who uses the drum to "talk" by imitating the tonality of Yoruba. Much of Yoruba music is spiritual in nature, and this form is often devoted to Orisas.

Popular music
Yorùbá music is regarded as one of the more important components of the modern Nigerian popular music scene. Although traditional Yoruba music was not influenced by foreign music the same cannot be said of modern day Yoruba music which has evolved and adapted itself through contact with foreign instruments, talents and creativity. Interpretation involves rendering African, here Yoruba, musical expression using a mixture of instruments from different horizons. Yoruba music traditionally centred around folklore and spiritual/deity worship, utilising basic and natural instruments such as clapping of the hands. Playing music for a living was not something the Yoruba's did and singers were referred to in a derogatory term of Alagbe, it is this derogation of musicians that made it not appeal to modern Yoruba at the time. Although, it is true that music genres like the highlife played by musicians like Rex Lawson, Segun Bucknor, Bobby Benson, etc., Fela Kuti's Afrobeat[6] and King Sunny Ade's juju[7] are all Yoruba adaptations of foreign music. These musical genres have their roots in large metropolitan cities like Lagos, Ibadan, and Port Harcourt where people and culture mix influenced by their rich culture. Some pioneering juju musicians include Tunde King, Tunde Nightingale, Why Worry in Ondo and Ayinde Bakare,Dele ojo, Ik Dairo Moses Olaiya (Baba Sala). sakara played by the pioneers such as Ojo Olawale in Ibadan, Abibu Oluwa, Yusuf Olatunji, Sanusi Aka, Saka Layigbade. Apala, is another genre of Yoruba modern music which was played by spirited pacesetters such as Haruna Ishola, Sefiu Ayan, Ligali Mukaiba, Kasumu Adio, Yekini (Y.K.) Ajadi, etc. Fuji, which emerged in the late 60s/early 70s, as an offshoot of were/ajisari music genres, which were made popular by certain Ibadan singers/musicians such as the late Sikiru Ayinde Barister, Alhaji Dauda Epo-Akara and Ganiyu Kuti or "Gani Irefin. Another popular genre is waka music played and popularized by Alhaja Batuli Alake and, more recently, Salawa Abeni, Kuburat Alaragbo, Asanat Omo-Aje, Mujidat Ogunfalu, Misitura Akawe, Fatimo Akingbade, Karimot Aduke, and Risikat Abeawo. In both Ibadan (Nigeria's largest city), and Lagos (Nigeria's most populous city), these multicultural traditions were brought together and became the root of Nigerian popular music.

Yoruba music


Musical instruments
• Agbe: a shaker • Ashiko: a cone-shaped drum • Batá drum[8] : a well decorated traditional drum of many tones, with strong links to the deity Shango, it produces sharp high tone sounds. • Goje: sort of violin like the sahelian kora • Sekere[9] : a melodic shaker; beads or cowrie shells beautifully wound around a gourd, shaken, beaten by fists occasionally and thrown in the air to create a festive mood. • gudugudu:[10] a smaller, melodic bata • Sakara drum: goatskin istretched over clay ring • Agogô: a high-pitched tone instrument like a "covered" 3-dimensional "tuning fork" • Saworo: like agogo, but its tone is low-pitched • aro: much like a saworo, low-pitched • Seli: a combination of aro, saworo and hand-clapping • Agidigbo, a thumb piano instrument wound round the neck and stabilized by the player's chest. • Dundun, consisting of iya ilu or gbedu, main or "mother" drum and omele, smaller drums, played as an accompaniment to bata drums to create a base for their sharp beats. • Bembe, bass drum, kettle drum. (see also List of Caribbean membranophones)

[1] Turino, pgs. 181 - 182; Bensignor, Fran&ccedi;ois with Eric Audra, and Ronnie Graham, "Afro-Funksters" and "From Hausa Music to Highlife" in the Rough Guide to World Music, pgs. 432 - 436 and pgs. 588 - 600; Karolyi, pg. 43 [2] Bata Drumming Notations Discographies Glossary: Bata Druming & the Lucumi Santeria BembeCeremony (http:/ / www. scribd. com/ doc/ 85753/ Bata-Drumming-Notations-Discographies-Glossary), Scribd Online [3] Conunto Folkorico Nacional De Cuba: Música Yoruba (http:/ / www. descarga. com/ cgi-bin/ db/ archives/ Article17) [4] Turino, pgs. 181 - 182; Bensignor, Fran&ccedi;ois with Eric Audra, and Ronnie Graham, "Afro-Funksters" and "From Hausa Music to Highlife" in the Rough Guide to World Music, pgs. 432 - 436 and pgs. 588 - 600; Karolyi, pg. 43 [5] Turino, pgs. 181 - 182; Bensignor, Fran&ccedi;ois with Eric Audra, and Ronnie Graham, "Afro-Funksters" and "From Hausa Music to Highlife" in the Rough Guide to World Music, pgs. 432 - 436 and pgs. 588 - 600; Karolyi, pg. 43 [6] Randle. F.Grass, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti: The Art of an Afrobeat Rebel (http:/ / www. jstor. org/ pss/ 1145717), The MIT Press, TDR (journal), vol. 30, no.1, 1986 pp. 131-148 [7] Christopher Alan Waterman, Jùjú: A Social History and Ethnography of an African Popular Music (http:/ / www. amazon. com/ dp/ 0226874656), (ed Paperback), Chicargo, University of Chicargo Press, 1990 ISBN 0-226-87465-6 [8] Turino, pgs. 181 - 182; Bensignor, Fran&ccedi;ois with Eric Audra, and Ronnie Graham, "Afro-Funksters" and "From Hausa Music to Highlife" in the Rough Guide to World Music, pgs. 432 - 436 and pgs. 588 - 600; Karolyi, pg. 43 [9] Turino, pgs. 181 - 182; Bensignor, Fran&ccedi;ois with Eric Audra, and Ronnie Graham, "Afro-Funksters" and "From Hausa Music to Highlife" in the Rough Guide to World Music, pgs. 432 - 436 and pgs. 588 - 600; Karolyi, pg. 43 [10] Turino, pgs. 181 - 182; Bensignor, Fran&ccedi;ois with Eric Audra, and Ronnie Graham, "Afro-Funksters" and "From Hausa Music to Highlife" in the Rough Guide to World Music, pgs. 432 - 436 and pgs. 588 - 600; Karolyi, pg. 43

External links
• Gray, John. Soul Force 101: Yoruba Sacred Music, Old World and New (http://www.descarga.com/cgi-bin/ db/archives/Article17) • Various Artist, Awon Ojise Olorun: Popular Music of [[Yorubaland (http://www.amazon.com/dp/ B000OYC79O)] 1931-1952], (Audio CD), Savannahphone, 2007

Yoruba people


Yoruba people

Kwara State drummers Total population Over 30 million (est.)

Regions with significant populations
 Nigeria 29,039,480 [2]

 Benin  Ghana  Togo

1,009,207+ [3] 350,000 [4] 85,000 [5]

 Canada 3,315+ (2006) [6] [7]

Languages Yoruba, Yoruboid languages Religion Islam 50% Christianity 40% [8] Orisha veneration & Ifá 10% Related ethnic groups Bini, Nupe, Igala, Itsekiri, Ebira,

The Yoruba people (Yorùbá in Yoruba orthography) are one of the largest ethnic groups in West Africa. The majority of the Yoruba speak the Yoruba language (Yoruba: èdèe Yorùbá; èdè). The Yoruba constitute between 30 and 50 million individuals[9] throughout West Africa and are found predominantly in Nigeria and make up around 21% of its population.[10] The Yoruba share borders with the Borgu (variously called "Baruba" and "Borgawa") in the northwest; the Nupe (whom they often call "Tapa") and Ebira in the north; and the Edo, the Ẹsan, and the Afemai to the southeast. The Igala and other related groups are found in the northeast, and the Egun, Fon, and others in the southwest. While the majority of the Yoruba live in western Nigeria, there are also substantial indigenous Yoruba communities in the Republic of Benin and Togo, plus large groups of Yoruba migrants living in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Yoruba people Yoruba settlements are often described as primarily one or more of the main social groupings called "generations": • The "first generation" includes towns and cities known as original capitals of founding Yoruba states/kingdoms. • The "second generation" consists of settlements created by conquest. • The "third generation" consists of villages and municipalities that emerged following the Yoruba wars.


Yoruba people

Culture Music Art Language Mythology People

General history
The African peoples who lived in the lower western Niger area, at least by the 4th century BC, were not initially known as the Yoruba, although they shared a common ethnicity and language group. Both archeology and traditional Yoruba oral historians confirm the existence of people in this region for several millennia. Between 1100 AD and 1700 AD, the Yoruba Kingdom of Ife experienced a golden age, the oba or ruler of Ife is referred to as the Ooni of Ife.[11] It was then surpassed by the Yoruba Oyo Empire as the dominant Yoruba military and political power between 1700 AD and 1900 AD,[12] the oba or ruler of Oyo is referred to as the Alaafin of Oyo. Ife, however, remained and continues to be viewed as the spiritual homeland of the Yoruba. The nearby Benin Empire with its capital in the city of Benin, which is also in modern day Nigeria, was an equally powerful force between 1300 and 1850 AD, its ruler being referred to as the Oba of Benin.[13] Further information: Kingdom of Ife Most of the city states were controlled by Obas (or royal sovereigns with various individual titles) and councils made up of Oloyes, recognised leaders of royal, noble and, often, even common descent, who joined them in ruling over the kingdoms through a series of guilds and cults. Different states saw differing ratios of power between the kingships and the chiefs' councils. Some such as Oyo had powerful, autocratic monarchs with almost total control, while in others such as the Ijebu city-states, the senatorial councils held more influence and the power of the ruler or Ọba, referred to as the Awujale of Ijebuland, was more limited.

Yoruba people


Cosmogonic origin
Orisa'nla (The great divinity) also known as Ọbatala was the arch-divinity chosen by Olodumare, the Supreme, to create solid land out of the primordial water that constituted the earth and populating the land with human beings.[14] Ọbatala descended from heaven on a chain, carrying a small snail shell full of earth, palm kernels and a five-toed chicken. He was to empty the content of the snail shell on the water after placing some pieces of iron on it, and then to place the chicken on the earth to spread it over the primordial water.

Oral history of the Oyo-Yoruba recounts Odùduwà to be the Progenitor of the Yoruba and the reigning ancestor of their crowned kings. His coming from the east, sometimes understood by some sources as the "vicinity" true East on the Cardinal points, but more likely signifying the region of Ekiti and Okun sub-communities in northeastern Yorubaland/central Nigeria. Ekiti is near the confluence of the Niger and Benue rivers, and is where the Yoruba language is presumed to have separated from related ethno-linguistic groups like Igala, Igbo, and Edo.[15]


Ife bronze casting of a king dated around the 12th Century

However, some Yoruba scholars, especially, the Muslim and Christian clerics object to this mythology. Among the objecting voices to the stories of Oduduwa being the Progenitor of the Yoruba was the London-based Yoruba Muslim scholar, Sheikh Dr. Abu-Abdullah Adelabu, a PhD graduate from Damascus, who dismissed the common myth that all Yorubas are descendants of Oduduwa as a false representation by Orisha worshippers to gain an unjust advantage over the more recent jihadist Islam and the evangelism of Christianity".[16] He argued that the myth that all the Yorubas are children of Odua was based only on words of mouth and that it does not conform with the science and the reality of logics conducted on objective principles which usually consist systematized experiment with phenomena, especially when examining materials and functions of the physical and spiritual worlds of the African people.[16] "

After Oduduwa
Upon the disappearance of Oduduwa, there was a dispersal of his children from Ife to found other kingdoms. Each making their mark in the subsequent urbanization and consolidation of Yoruba confederacy of kingdoms, with each kingdom tracing its origin to Ile-Ife. After the dispersal, the aborigines became difficult, and constituted a serious threat to the survival of Ife. Thought to be survivors of the old occupants of the land before the arrival of Oduduwa, these people now turned themselves into marauders. They would come to town in costumes made of raffia with terrible and fearsome appearances, and burn down houses and loot the markets. Then came Moremi on the scene; she was said to have played a significant role in the quelling of the marauders advancements. But this was at a great price; having to give up her only son Oluorogbo. The reward for her patriotism and selflessness was not to be reaped in one life time as she later passed on and was thereafter immortalized. The Edi festival celebrates this feat till date.[17]

Yoruba people


Pre-colonial Yoruba society
Monarchies were a common form of government in Yorubaland, but they were not the only approach to government and social organization. The numerous Ijebu city-states to the west of Oyo and the Ẹgba communities, found in the forests below Ọyọ's savanna region, were notable exceptions. These independent polities often elected an Ọba, though real political, legislative, and judicial powers resided with the Ogboni, a council of notable elders. The notion of the divine king was so important to the Yoruba, however, that it stayed with them in its various forms from their antiquity to the contemporary era.

Oyo Empire and surrounding states.

During the internecine wars of the 19th century, the Ijebu forced citizens of more than 150 Ẹgba and Owu communities to migrate to the fortified city of Abeokuta, where each quarter retained its own Ogboni council of civilian leaders, along with an Olorogun, or council of military leaders, and in some cases its own elected Obas or Baales. These independent councils then elected their most capable members to join a federal civilian and military council that represented the city as a whole. Commander Frederick Forbes, a representative of the British Crown writing an account of his visit to the city in an 1853 edition of the Church Military Intelligencer,[18] described Abẹokuta as having "four presidents", and the system of government as having "840 principal rulers or 'House of Lords,' 2800 secondary chiefs or 'House of Commons,' 140 principal military ones and 280 secondary ones." He described Abẹokuta and its system of government as "the most extraordinary republic in the world."

Gerontocratic leadership councils that guarded against the monopolization of power by a monarch were a proverbial trait of the Ẹgba, according to the eminent Ọyọ historian Reverend Samuel Johnson, but such councils were also well-developed among the northern Okun groups, the eastern Ekiti, and other groups falling under the Yoruba ethnic umbrella. In Ọyọ, the most centralized of the precolonial kingdoms, the Alaafin consulted on all political decisions with a prime minister (the Basọrun) and the council of leading nobles known as the Ọyọ Mesi.

City states
The monarchy of any city state was usually limited to a number of royal lineages. A family could be excluded from kingship and chieftancy if any family member, servant, or slave belonging to the family committed a crime such as theft, fraud, murder or rape. In other city-states, the monarchy was open to the election of any free-born male citizen. There are also, in Ilesa, Ondo, and other Yoruba communities, several traditions of female Ọbas, though these were comparatively rare. The kings were traditionally almost always polygamous and often married royal family members from other domains.[19] Ibadan, a city-state and proto-empire founded in the 18th century by a polyglot group of refugees, soldiers, and itinerant traders from Ọyọ and the other Yoruba sub-groups, largely dispensed with the concept of monarchism, preferring to elect both military and civil councils from a pool of eminent citizens. The city became a military republic, with distinguished soldiers wielding political powers through their election by popular acclaim and the respect of their peers. Similar practices were adopted by the jẹsa and other groups, which saw a corresponding rise in

Yoruba people the social influence of military adventurers and successful entrepreneurs.


Groups organizations and leagues in Yorubaland
Occupational guilds, social clubs, secret or initiatory societies, and religious units, commonly known as Ẹgbẹ in Yoruba, included the Parakoyi (or league of traders) and Ẹgbẹ Ọdẹ (hunter's guild), and maintained an important role in commerce, social control, and vocational education in Yoruba polities. There are also examples of other peer organizations in the region. When the Ẹgba resisted the imperial domination of the Ọyọ Empire, a figure named Lisabi is credited with either creating or reviving a covert traditional organization named Ẹgbẹ Aro. This group, originally a farmers' union, was converted to a network of secret militias throughout the Ẹgba forests, and each lodge plotted to overthrow Ọyọ's Ajeles (appointed administrators) in the late 18th century. Similarly, covert military resistance leagues like the Ekiti Parapọ and the Ogidi alliance were organized during the 19th century wars by often-decentralized communities of the Ekiti, Ijẹsa, Ìgbómìnà and Okun Yoruba in order to resist various imperial expansionist plans of Ibadan, Nupe, and the Sokoto Caliphate.

Traditional Yoruba Religion
The Yoruba faith, variously known as Aborisha, Orisha-Ifa or simply (and erroneously) Ifa, is commonly seen as one of the principal components of the syncretic pool known as the African traditional religions. It largely survived the so-called middle passage, and is seen in a variety of forms in the New World as a result.

Islam And Christianity
Traditional Yoruba religious practices such as the Eyo and Osun Oshogbo festivals are witnessing a resurgence in popularity in contemporary Yorubaland. They are largely seen by the adherents of the modern faiths, especially the Muslims and Christians, as cultural rather than religious events. They participate in them as a means to boost tourist industries in their local economies.

In the city-states and many of their neighbors, a reserved way of life remains, with the school of thought of their people serving as a major influence in West Africa and elsewhere.

Today, most contemporary Yoruba are Muslims and Christians. Islam found its way into the Yoruba kingdoms long before the Christianity of the colonial evangelists, coming as it did with itinerant merchants from the medieval empire of Mali. Be that as it may, many of the principles of the traditional faith of their ancestors are either knowingly or unknowingly upheld by a significant proportion of the populations of Nigeria, Benin and Togo.

Yoruba people


Twins in Yoruba society
The Yoruba present the highest dizygotic twinning rate in the world (4.4 % of all maternities).[20] Twins are very important for the Yoruba and they usually tend to give special names to each twin.[21] The first of the twins to be born is traditionally named Taiyewo or Tayewo, which means 'the first to taste the world', this is often shortened to Taiwo, Taiye or Taye. Kehinde, or Kenny for short, is the name of the last born twin. Kehinde is sometimes also referred to as Kehindegbegbon which is short for Omokehindegbegbon and means, 'the child that came last gets the rights of the eldest'.

Time is measured in isheju or iseju (minutes), wakati (hours), ojo (days), ose (weeks), oshu or osu (months) and odun (years). There are 60 isheju in 1 wakati; 24 wakati in 1 ojo; 7 ojo in 1 ose; 4 ose in 1 oshu and 52 ose in 1 odun. There are 12 oshu in 1 odun.[22]
Ibeji twins.

Months in Yoruba calendar: Months in Gregorian calendar[23] : Sere Erele Erena Igbe Ebibi Okudu Agemo Ogun Owere (Owewe) Owara (Owawa) Belu Ope January February March April May June July August September October November December

Yoruba people


Yoruba calendar traditional days Days: Ojo-Orunmila/Ifá Ojo-Shango/Jakuta Ojo-Ogun Ojo-Obatala

The Yoruba calendar (Kojoda) year starts from 3 June to 2 June of the following year.[24] According to this calendar, the Gregorian year 2008 A. D. is the 10050th year of Yoruba culture.[25] To reconcile with the Gregorian calendar, Yoruba people also often measure time in seven days a week and four weeks a month:
Modified days in Yoruba calendar Days in Gregorian calendar Ojo-Aiku Ojo-Aje Ojo-Ishegun Ojo-'Ru Ojo-Bo Ojo-Eti Ojo-Abameta Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday [26]

Yoruba Dialectology
Although most Yoruba speakers share a common history, it was only in the second half of the 19th century that they began to share one common name - children of Oduduwa.[27] Under the influence of the Yoruba Samuel Ajayi Crowther (first Lord Bishop of West Africa and first African lord bishop of the Church of England) and subsequent missionaries, the term Yoruba was at that time extended to include all speakers of related dialects. Linguistic means including, for example, historical-comparative linguistics, glottochronology, and dialectology used along with both traditional (oral) historical sources and archaeological finds, have shed some light on the history of the Yorubas and their language before this point. The North-West Yoruba dialects, for example, show more linguistic innovations. According to some, this, combined with the fact that Southeast and Central Yoruba areas generally have older settlements, suggests a later date of immigration for Northwest Yoruba.[28]

Yoruba people


Location in Nigeria
The Yoruba are the main ethnic group in the Nigerian federal states of Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, and Oyo; they also constitute a sizable proportion of Kwara, Kogi and Edo states.

Location in Benin
The Yoruba/Ife are the main group in the Benin department of Ouémé, all Subprefectures; Collines Province, all subprefectures; Plateau Province, all Subprefectures; Borgou Province, Tchaourou Subprefecture; Zou Province, Ouihni and Zogbodome Subprefecture; Donga Province, Bassila Subprefecture and Alibori, Kandi Subprefecture.

Yoruba area in Nigeria.

Location in Togo
The Yoruba/Ife are the main group in the Togo department of Plateau Region, Ogou and Est-Mono prefectures; Centrale Region and Tchamba Prefecture. Yoruba towns The chief Yoruba cities/towns are [Ilesa], Ibadan, Fiditi, Orile Igbon, Eko (Lagos), Oto-Awori, Ejigbo, Ijẹbu Ode, Abẹokuta, Akurẹ, Ilọrin, Ijẹbu-Igbo, Ijebu-ife, Odogbolu, Ogbomọṣọ, Ondo, Ọta, Ado-Ekiti, Ikare, Sagamu, Iperu, Ikẹnnẹ, Ogere, Ilisan, Osogbo, Offa, Iwo, Ilesa, Ọyọ, Ilé-Ifẹ, Iree, Owo, Ede, Badagry, (Owu, Oyo), (Owu, Egba), Ilaro and Ago-Iwoye. Traditionally kingship and chieftainship were not determined by simple primogeniture, as in most monarchic systems of government. An electoral college of lineage heads was and still is usually charged with selecting a member of one of the royal families from any given realm, and the selection is then confirmed by an Ifá oracular request. The Ọbas live in palaces that are usually in the center of the town. Opposite the king's palace is the Ọja Ọba, or the king's market. These markets form an inherent part of Yoruba life. Traditionally their traders are well organized, have various guilds, officers, and an elected speaker. They also often have at least one Iyaloja, or Lady of the Market, who is expected to represent their interests in the aristocratic council of oloyes at the palace.

Yoruba diaspora
Other names
During the 19th century, the term 'Yoruba ' or 'Yariba' came into wider use, first confined to the Ọyọ. The term is often believed to be derived from a Hausa ethnonym for the populous people to their south, but this has not been substantiated by historians. As an ethnic description, the word 'Yoruba' first appeared in a treatise written by the Songhai scholar Ahmed Baba (16th century) and is likely to derive from the indigenous ethnonyms Ọyọ (Oyo) or Yagba, two Yoruba-speaking groups along the northern borders of their territory. However, it is likely that the ethnonym was popularized by Hausa usage and ethnography written in Arabic and Ajami.

Yoruba people


[1] Every Culture: Countries and Their Culture (http:/ / www. everyculture. com/ wc/ Mauritania-to-Nigeria/ Yoruba. html) [2] CIA.gov (https:/ / www. cia. gov/ library/ publications/ the-world-factbook/ geos/ ni. html) [3] CIA.gov (https:/ / www. cia. gov/ library/ publications/ the-world-factbook/ geos/ bn. html) The language spread of Kru, Igbo and Yoruba in [29] the United States according to U. S. Census 2000. [4] Joshuaproject.net (http:/ / www. joshuaproject. net/ peopctry. php?rop3=111095& rog3=GH) [5] Joshuaproject.net (http:/ / www. joshuaproject. net/ peopctry. php?rop3=111095& rog3=TO)

[6] "Ethnic origins, 2006 counts, for Canada, provinces and territories" (http:/ / www12. statcan. ca/ census-recensement/ 2006/ dp-pd/ hlt/ 97-562/ pages/ page. cfm?Lang=E& Geo=PR& Code=01& Table=2& Data=Count& StartRec=1& Sort=3& Display=All& CSDFilter=5000). bottom: Statistics Canada. . Retrieved 2010-04-04. [7] 19,520 identify as Nigerian, 61,430 identify as Canadians. [8] "Nigeria Human Rights Report - Freedom of Religion" (http:/ / www. ncbuy. com/ reference/ country/ humanrights. html?code=ni& sec=2c). bottom. . [9] Every Culture Online (http:/ / www. everyculture. com/ wc/ Mauritania-to-Nigeria/ Yoruba. html) [10] CIA World Factbook (https:/ / www. cia. gov/ library/ publications/ the-world-factbook/ geos/ ni. html) [11] Encarta.msn.com (http:/ / au. encarta. msn. com/ encyclopedia_781536070/ Ife_(kingdom). html) [12] Britannica.com (http:/ / www. britannica. com/ EBchecked/ topic/ 437048/ Oyo-empire) [13] Britannica.com (http:/ / www. britannica. com/ EBchecked/ topic/ 60871/ Benin) [14] James Gibbs, Bernth Lindfors (1993). Research on Wole Soyinka (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=CoeBNzqlLT0C& pg=PA103& lpg=PA103& dq=Orisa'nla& source=web& ots=KDXUZedAJZ& sig=UdrF2k3F-ue8wf56VhYJ0S8JCjA& hl=en& sa=X& oi=book_result& resnum=10& ct=result). Africa World Press. pp. 103. ISBN 0-86543-219-8. . [15] Article: Oduduwa, The Ancestor Of The Crowned Yoruba Kings (http:/ / www. coastalnews. com/ profile/ 120-nigeria-news/ 592-oduduwa-the-ancestor-of-the-crowned-yoruba-kings. html) [16] DELAB International Magazine, July 2010 1465-4814 (http:/ / www. worldcat. org/ issn/ 1465-4814) [17] Who are the Yoruba! (http:/ / www. yorubaalliance. org/ Newsletter/ newsletter74. htm) [18] Jstor.org (http:/ / www. jstor. org/ pss/ 180299) [19] Royaldiadem.co.uk (http:/ / www. royaldiadem. co. uk/ yoruba. php,), Under Culture [20] Randafricanart.com (http:/ / www. randafricanart. com/ Yoruba_Customs_and_Beliefs_Pertaining_to_Twins. html) [21] Interscience.wiley.com (http:/ / www3. interscience. wiley. com/ journal/ 119755283/ abstract) [22] Yorùbá Language: Research and Development (http:/ / www. jolome. com/ yoruba/ calendar/ ), 2010 Yorùbá Calendar (Kojoda 10052)#2,3,4,5,6,7 [23] Ralaran Uléìmȯkiri Institute (http:/ / www. ralaran. com) [24] Yorùbá Language: Research and Development (http:/ / www. jolome. com/ yoruba/ calendar/ ), 2010 Yorùbá Calendar (Kojoda 10052) #1 [25] Yorùbá Kalenda (http:/ / www. jolome. com/ yoruba/ calendar/ ) [26] Yourtemple.net (http:/ / yourtemple. net/ spirit/ 2008. 03/ yoruba_calendar. jsp) [27] (1994:13) [28] Adetugbọ 1973:192-3. [29] Census.gov (http:/ / www. census. gov/ main/ www/ cen2000. html)

• • • • • • Akintoye, Stephen Adebanji: A History of the Yoruba People, Dakar, 2010 Bascom, William: The Yoruba of Southwestern Nigeria, New York 1969. Johnson, Samuel: History of the Yorubas, London 1921. Lucas, Jonathan Olumide: "The Religion of the Yorubas", Lagos 1948, C. M. S. Bookshop. Law, Robin: The Oyo Empire, c. 1600 – c. 1836, Oxford 1977. Olumola, Isola, et al.: Prominent Traditional Rulers of Yorubaland, Ibadan 2003.

• Smith, Robert: Kingdoms of the Yoruba, 1st ed. 1969, 3rd ed. London 1988.

Yoruba people


External links
• Egbe Isokan Yoruba (http://yoruba.org) promotes the cultural, social, economic and political welfare of Yoruba. yoruba.org • Oroede.org (http://oroede.sourceforge.net/) Ọrọ èdè Yorùbá (Words of the Yoruba Language) promotes the digital presentation of Yorùbá orthography through the creation and modification of Opensource software.

Yoruba language


Yoruba language
èdèe Yorùbá Spoken in  Nigeria  Togo  Benin Yoruba people 19 million (Johnstone 1993 as cited in Ethnologue)

Ethnicity Native speakers

Language family Niger–Congo • Atlantic–Congo • Volta–Niger • yeai • Yoruboid • Edekiri • Writing system Latin alphabet Official status Regulated by No official regulation Language codes ISO 639-1 ISO 639-2 ISO 639-3 yo yor yor Yorùbá

Yorùbá (native name èdè Yorùbá, 'the Yorùbá language') is a Niger–Congo language spoken in West Africa by approximately 20 million speakers.[1] The native tongue of the Yoruba people, it is spoken, among other languages, in Nigeria, Benin, and Togo and in communities in other parts of Africa, Europe and the Americas. It is most closely related to the Itsekiri language spoken in the Niger-Delta and Igala spoken in central Nigeria. It is more widely related to other Nigerian Niger–Congo languages including Edo, Igbo and Nupe.

The ancestor of the Yoruba speakers is, according to their oral traditions, Oduduwa. Although they share a common history, it is only since the second half of the nineteenth century that the children of Oduduwa share one name. At some stage the term Yariba or Yoruba came into use, first confined to the Ọyọ Kingdom; the term was used among the Hausa (as it is today) but its origins are unclear.[2] In part due to the development of a written standard, the term Yoruba was extended to include all speakers of the language. Linguistic means — including, for example, historical-comparative linguistics, glottochronology, and dialectology — used along with both traditional (oral) historical sources and archaeological finds, have shed some light on the history of the Yorubas and their language before this point. The North-West Yoruba dialects, for example, show more linguistic innovations. According to some, this, combined with the fact that Southeast and Central Yoruba areas generally have older settlements, suggests a later date of immigration for Northwest Yoruba.[3]

Yoruba language


The Yoruba dialect continuum itself consists of several dialects. The various Yoruba dialects in the Yorubaland of Nigeria can be classified into three major dialect areas: Northwest, Central, and Southeast.[4] Of course, clear boundaries can never be drawn and peripheral areas of dialectal regions often have some similarities to adjoining dialects. • North-West Yoruba (NWY). • Abẹokuta, Ibadan, Ọyọ, Ogun and Lagos (Eko) areas • Central Yoruba (CY) • Igbomina, Yagba, Ilésà, Ifẹ, Ekiti, Akurẹ, Ẹfọn, and Ijẹbu areas. • South-East Yoruba (SEY) • Okitipupa, Ilaje, Ondo, Ọwọ, Ikarẹ, Ṣagamu, and parts of Ijẹbu. North-West Yoruba is historically a part of the Ọyọ empire. In NWY dialects, Proto-Yoruba /gh/ (the velar fricative [ɣ]) and /gw/ have merged into /w/; the upper vowels /i ̣/ and /ụ/ were raised and merged with /i/ and /u/, just as their nasal counterparts, resulting in a vowel system with seven oral and three nasal vowels. Ethnographically, traditional government is based on a division of power between civil and war chiefs; lineage and descent are unilineal and agnatic. South-East Yoruba was probably associated with the expansion of the Benin Empire after c. 1450 AD.[5] In contrast to NWY, lineage and descent are largely multilineal and cognatic, and the division of titles into war and civil is unknown. Linguistically, SEY has retained the /gh/ and /gw/ contrast, while it has lowered the nasal vowels /ịn/ and /ụn/ to /ẹn/ and /ọn/, respectively. SEY has collapsed the second and third person plural pronominal forms; thus, àn án wá can mean either 'you (pl.) came' or 'they came' in SEY dialects, whereas NWY for example has ẹ wá 'you (pl.) came' and wọ́n wá 'they came', respectively. The emergence of a plural of respect may have prevented coalescence of the two in NWY dialects. Central Yoruba forms a transitional area in that the lexicon has much in common with NWY, whereas it shares many ethnographical features with SEY. Its vowel system is the least innovating (most stable) of the three dialect groups, having retained nine oral-vowel contrasts and six or seven nasal vowels, and an extensive vowel harmony system.

Literary Yoruba
Literary Yoruba, also known as Standard Yoruba, Yoruba koiné, and common Yoruba, is a separate member of the dialect cluster. It is the written form of the language, the standard variety learnt at school and that spoken by newsreaders on the radio. Standard Yoruba has its origin in the 1850s, when Samuel A. Crowther, the first African Bishop, published a Yoruba grammar and started his translation of the Bible. Though for a large part based on the Ọyọ and Ibadan dialects, Standard Yoruba incorporates several features from other dialects.[6] It also has some features peculiar to itself, for example the simplified vowel harmony system, as well as foreign structures, such as calques from English which originated in early translations of religious works. Because the use of Standard Yoruba did not result from some deliberate linguistic policy, much controversy exists as to what constitutes 'genuine Yoruba', with some writers holding the opinion that the Ọyọ dialect is the most "pure" form, and others stating that there is no such thing as genuine Yoruba at all. Standard Yoruba, the variety learnt at school and used in the media, has nonetheless been a powerful consolidating factor in the emergence of a common Yoruba identity.

Yoruba language


Writing system
In the 17th century Yoruba was written in the Ajami script, a form of Arabic.[7] Modern Yoruba orthography originated in the early work of CMS missionaries working among the Aku (Yoruba) of Freetown. One of their informants was Crowther, who later would proceed to work on his native language himself. In early grammar primers and translations of portions of the English Bible, Crowther used the Latin alphabet largely without tone markings. The only diacritic used was a dot below certain vowels to signify their open variants [ɛ] and [ɔ], viz. ‹ẹ› and ‹ọ›. Over the years the orthography was revised to represent tone among other things. In 1875 the Church Missionary Society (CMS) organised a conference on Yoruba Orthography; the standard devised there was the basis for the orthography of the steady flow of religious and educational literature over the next seventy years. The current orthography of Yoruba used in Nigeria derives from a 1966 report of the Yoruba Orthography Committee, along with Ayọ Bamgboṣe's 1965 Yoruba Orthography, a study of the earlier orthographies and an attempt to bring Yoruba orthography in line with actual speech as much as possible. Still largely similar to the older orthography, it employs the Latin alphabet modified by the use of the digraph ‹gb› and certain diacritics, including the traditional vertical line set under the letters ‹e̩›, ‹o̩›, and ‹s̩›. In many publications the line is replaced by a dot ‹ẹ›, ‹ọ›, ‹ṣ›. The vertical line had been used to avoid the mark being fully covered by an underline.

Nigerian alphabet
A B D E Ẹ F G Gb H I J K L M N O Ọ P R S Ṣ T U W Y a b d e ẹ f g gb h i j k l m n o ọ p r s ṣ t u w y

The Latin letters ‹c›, ‹q›, ‹v›, ‹x›, ‹z› are not used. The pronunciation of the letters without diacritics corresponds more or less to their International Phonetic Alphabet equivalents, except for the labial-velar stops [k͡p] (written ‹p›) and [ɡ͡b] (written ‹gb›), in which both consonants are pronounced simultaneously rather than sequentially. The diacritic underneath vowels indicates an open vowel, pronounced with the root of the tongue retracted (so ‹ẹ› is pronounced [ɛ̙] and ‹ọ› is [ɔ̙]). ‹ṣ› represents a postalveolar consonant [ʃ] like the English ‹sh›, ‹y› represents a palatal approximant like English ‹y›, and ‹j› a voiced palatal plosive, as is common in many African orthographies. In addition to the vertical bars, three further diacritics are used on vowels and syllabic nasal consonants to indicate the language's tones: an acute accent ‹´› for the high tone, a grave accent ‹`› for the low tone, and an optional macron ‹¯› for the middle tone. These are used in addition to the line in ‹ẹ› and ‹ọ›. When more than one tone is used in one syllable, the vowel can either be written once for each tone (for example, *‹òó› for a vowel [o] with tone rising from low to high) or, more rarely in current usage, combined into a single accent. In this case, a caron ‹ˇ› is used for the rising tone (so the previous example would be written ‹ǒ›) and a circumflex ‹ˆ› for a the falling tone.

List of characters used in Nigeria
Á À Ā É È Ē Ẹ / E̩ Ẹ́ / É̩ Ẹ̀ / È̩ Ẹ̄ / Ē̩ Í Ì Ī Ó Ò Ō Ọ / O̩ Ọ́/ Ó̩ Ọ̀ / Ò̩ Ọ̄ / Ō̩ Ú Ù Ū Ṣ / S̩ á à ā é è ē ẹ / e̩ ẹ́ / é̩ ẹ̀ / è̩ ẹ̄ / ē̩ í ì ī ó ò ō ọ / o̩ ọ́ / ó̩ ọ̀ / ò̩ ọ̄ / ō̩ ú ù ū ṣ / s̩

In Benin, Yoruba uses a different orthography. The Yoruba alphabet was standardized along with other Benin languages in the National Languages Alphabet by the National Language Commission in 1975, and revised in 1980 by the National Center for Applied Linguistics.

Yoruba language


Benin alphabet
A B D E Ɛ F G Gb H I J K KP L M N O Ɔ P R S sh T U W Y a b d e ɛ f g gb h i j k kp l m n o ɔ p r s sh t u w y

Modernising the Yoruba Writing System, Attempts
The advent of the use of writing instruments and the European cultural invasion have highlighted key issues in writing for the Yoruba language. Firstly, Crowther and others used a diacritical marking system to denote the tonalism that is prevalent in Yoruba language. Linguists and software developers have not done enough to transfer these marks into the modern age. Unfortunately, the software widely used in websites, computers, mobile phones and tablets tend not to enable the bottom marks AND the top marks together. In the age of typewriters, editors could go over an article and hand-write the marks before additional copies are published. It is cumbersome or impossible to do this sort of editing with modern electronic systems. Secondly, the English language is in wide use among the Yoruba, and has brought a range of new alphabetical characters (c, q, x, v and z) into the Yoruba mind-space. Many of these are in words in scientific context and do not have Yoruba direct translations. For example, chemical names like xanthium and calcium, or biological terms such as zygote and virus, or physics concepts such as quantum, cyclone and revolver. Other terms are more mundane such as cake, car, saxophone, video, zoo, quack, and computer. Thirdly, a whole range of new characters have evolved internationally and been adopted by the Yoruba. These include currency symbols such as the Nigerian Naira (₦) and the Ghana Cedi (Ȼ); abbreviations for copyright (c), registered (r) and trademark (TM), and the web-centric @. The Yoruba thinker, Remi-NIyi Alaran [8] has proposed an adaptation of the Crowther marking system. The Alaran method involves putting 'both' diacritical marks above the character. Benefits of this method include clearer underlining, less visual clutter, and improved ease of Yoruba language localisation:
Àà Aa Áá Bb Dd Èè Ii Íí Jj Kk Ll Ee Éé Ḕḕ Ėė Ḗḗ Ff G g GB gb H h Ì ì Rr Ss @ ©

Mm Nn Òò Oo Óó Ṑṑ Ȯȯ Ṓṓ Pp Cc Qq Vv Xx Zz Ȼ

Ṡṡ Tt

Ùù Uu Úú Ww Yy ₦

Linguistic features
The three possible syllable structures of Yoruba are consonant+vowel (CV), vowel alone (V), and syllabic nasal (N). Every syllable bears one of the three tones: high ‹◌́›, mid ‹◌̄› (generally left unmarked), and low ‹◌̀›. The sentence 'n̄ ò lọ' I didn't go provides examples of the three syllable types: • n̄ — [ŋ̄] — I • ò — [ó] — not (negation) • lọ — [lɔ] — to go

Yoruba language Vowels Standard Yoruba has seven oral and five nasal vowels. There are no diphthongs in Yoruba; sequences of vowels are pronounced as separate syllables. Dialects differ in the number of vowels they have; see above.


[9] Yoruba vowel diagram. Oral vowels are marked by black dots, while the coloured regions indicate the ranges in possible quality of the nasal vowels.

Oral vowels Front Back Close Close-mid Open-mid Open i e ɛ a u o ɔ

Nasal vowels Front ĩ Back ũ



The status of a fifth nasal vowel, [ã], is controversial. Although the sound does occur in speech, several authors have argued it to be not phonemically contrastive; often, it is in free variation with [ɔ̃].[10] Orthographically, nasal vowels are normally represented by an oral vowel symbol followed by ‹n› (i.e., ‹in›, ‹un›, ‹ẹn›, ‹ọn›), except in case of the [n] allophone of /l/ (see below) preceding a nasal vowel, i.e. inú 'inside, belly' is actually pronounced [īnṹ].[11] Consonants
LabIal Alveolar Postalveolar/ Palatal Nasal Plosive Fricative Approximant Rhotic m b f t  d s l~n ɾ ɟ ʃ j w Velar plain labial ŋ ~ ŋ̍ k  ɡ k͡p  ɡ͡b h Glottal

The voiceless plosives /t/ and /k/ are slightly aspirated; in some Yoruba varieties, /t/ and /d/ are more dental. The rhotic consonant is realized as a flap [ɾ], or in some varieties (notably Lagos Yoruba) as the alveolar approximant [ɹ]. Like many other languages of the region, Yoruba has the labial-velar stops /k͡p/ and /ɡ͡b/, e.g. pápá [k͡pák͡pá] 'field', gbọ̄gbọ̄ [ɡ͡bɔɡ͡bɔ] 'all'. Notably, it lacks the common voiceless bilabial plosive /p/, which is why /k͡p/ is written as ‹p›. It also lacks a phoneme /n/; though the letter ‹n› is used for the sound in the orthography, it strictly speaking refers to

Yoruba language an allophone of /l/ which immediately precedes a nasal vowel. There is also a syllabic nasal which forms a syllable nucleus by itself. When it precedes a vowel it is a velar nasal [ŋ], e.g. n ò lọ [ŋ ò lɔ] 'I didn't go'. In other cases its place of articulation is homorganic with the following consonant, for example ó ń lọ [ó ń lɔ] 'he is going', ó ń fò [ó ḿ fò] 'he is jumping'. Tone Yoruba is a tonal language with three level tones: high, low, and mid (the default tone.[12] ) Every syllable must have at least one tone; a syllable containing a long vowel can have two tones. Contour tones (i.e. rising or falling tone melodies) are usually analysed as separate tones occurring on adjacent tone bearing units (morae) and thus have no phonemic status.[13] Tones are marked by use of the acute accent for high tone (‹á›, ‹ń›), the grave accent for low tone (‹à›, ‹ǹ›); Mid is unmarked, except on syllabic nasals where it is indicated using a macron (‹a›, ‹n̄›); see below). Examples: • H: ó bẹ́ 'he jumped'; síbí 'spoon' • M: ó bẹ 'he is forward'; ara 'body' • L: ó bẹ̀ 'he asks for pardon'; ọ̀kọ̀ 'spear'. Assimilation and elision When a word precedes another word beginning with a vowel, assimilation or deletion ('elision') of one of the vowels often takes place.[14] In fact, since syllables in Yoruba normally end in a vowel, and most nouns start with one, this is a very common phenomenon, and indeed only is absent in very slow, unnatural speech. The orthography here follows speech in that word divisions are normally not indicated in words that are contracted as a result of assimilation or elision: ra ẹja → rẹja 'buy fish'. Sometimes however, authors may choose to use an inverted comma to indicate an elided vowel as in ní ilé → n’ílé 'in the house'. Long vowels within words usually signal that a consonant has been elided word-internally. In such cases, the tone of the elided vowel is retained, e.g. àdìrò → ààrò 'hearth'; koríko → koóko 'grass'; òtító → òótó 'truth'.


Yoruba is a highly isolating language, with an index of synthesis of 1.09.[15] Its basic constituent order is subject–verb–object (SVO),[16] as in ó nà Adé 'he beat Adé'. The bare verb stem denotes a completed action (often called perfect); tense and aspect are marked by preverbal particles such as ń 'imperfect/present continuous', ti 'past'. Negation is expressed by a preverbal particle kò. Serial verb constructions are common, as in many other languages of West Africa. Although Yoruba has no grammatical gender,[17] it does have a distinction between human and non-human nouns; probably a remainder of the noun class system of proto-Niger–Congo, the distinction is only apparent in the fact that the two groups require different interrogative particles: tani for human nouns (‘who?’) and kini for non-human nouns (‘what?’). The associative construction (covering possessive/genitive and related notions) consists of juxtaposing nouns in the order modified-modifier as in inú àpótí {inside box} 'the inside of the box', fìlà Àkàndé 'Akande’s cap' or àpótí aṣọ 'box for clothes' (Bamgboṣe 1966:110, Rowlands 1969:45-6). More than two nouns can be juxtaposed: rélùweè abẹ́ ilẹ̀ (railway under ground) ‘underground railway’, inú àpótí aṣọ 'the inside of the clothes box'. In the rare case where this results in two possible readings, disambiguation is left to the context. Plural nouns are indicated by a plural word.[18] There are two ‘prepositions’: ní ‘on, at, in’ and sí ‘onto, towards’. The former indicates location and absence of movement, the latter encodes location/direction with movement (Sachnine 1997:19). Position and direction are expressed by these prepositions in combination with spatial relational nouns like orí ‘top’, apá ‘side’, inú ‘inside’, etí ‘edge’, abẹ́ ‘under’, ilẹ̀ ‘down’, etc. Many of these spatial relational terms are historically related to body-part terms.

Yoruba language


Islam Yoruba Language Relations
In his works such as Islam in Africa - West African in Particular, and Missionary and Colonization in Africa,[19] Sheikh Dr. Abu-Abdullah Adelabu used assertions like these to argue that Islam had reached Sub-Sahara Africa, including the Yoruba Lands in West Africa, as early as the first century of Hijrah through Muslim traders and expeditions during the reign of the Arab conquror, Uqba ibn al Nafia (622–683) whose Islamic conquests under the Umayyad dynasty, in Amir Muavia and Yazid periods, spread all Northern Africa or the Maghrib Al-Arabi, including present-day Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Morocco. The wide adoption of imported religions and civilizations such as Islam and Christianity has managed to lay impacts both on written and spoken Yoruba. In his Arabic-English Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Quran and Sunnah, the Nigerian Muslim academic Sheikh Dr. Adelabu argued Islam has enriched African languages by providing them with technical and cultural augmentations with Ki-Swahili and Af-Somaali in East Africa and Turanci Hausa and Fula-Nyami in West Africa the most beneficiaries. Sheikh Adelabu, a Ph D graduate from Damascus cited - among many other common usages - the following words to be Yoruba's derivatives of Arabic vocabularies:[20]

Some Loan Words
• • • • • • • Alaafia i.e. Good, Fine Or Health(y) from derivative Al-Aafiah (Ar. ‫)ﺍﻟﻌﺎﻓﻴﺔ‬ Sanma i.e. heaven or sky adopted for Samaa` (Ar. ‫)ﺍﻟﺴﻤﺎء‬ Alubarika i.e. blessing used as Al-Barakah (Ar. ‫)ﺍﻟﺒﺮﻛﺔ‬ Wakati i.e. hour or time formed from Waqt (Ar. ‫)ﻭﻗﺖ‬ Alubosa i.e. onion as Al-Basal (Ar. ‫)ﺍﺍﻟﺒﺼﻞ‬ Adua or Adura i.e. prayer or supplication from Ad-du'a (Ar. ‫)ﺍﻟﺪﻋﺎء‬ Asiri i.e. Secret or Hidden derivative of As-Sirr (Ar. ّ‫)ﺍﻟﺴﺮ‬

Meanwhile, among commonly Arabic words used in Yoruba Language are names of the days such as Atalata (Ar. Ath-Thulatha ‫ )ﺍﻟﺜﻼﺛﺎء‬for Tuesday, Alaruba (Ar. Al-Arbi'a ‫ )ﺍﻷﺭﺑﻌﺎء‬for Wednesday, Alamisi (Ar. Al-Khamis ‫ )ﺍﻟﺨﻤﻴﺲ‬for Thursday, and Jimoh (Ar. Al-Jum'ah ‫ )ﺍﻟﺠﻤﻌﺔ‬for Friday. By far Ojo Jimoh is the most favourably used. It's usually preferred to the unpleasant word for Friday, Eti, which means failure, laziness or abandonment.[21]

Yoruba has an extensive body of literature.

Oral literature
• Odu Ifa • Oriki

Written literature
• • • • • • Wande Abimbola Fayemi Fatunde Fakayode, Aare Agbefaga of Yorubaland Adebisi Aromolaran, king of Ijesaland Daniel Olorunfemi Fagunwa Adebayo Faleti Akinwunmi Isola

• Obo Aba Hisanjani • Duro Ladipo

Yoruba language • • • • • J.F. Odunjo Afolabi Olabimtan Sobowole Sowande Wole Soyinka, winner of the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature Amos Tutuola


Notes and references
[1] [2] [3] [4] Ethnologue 2009, with figures from 1993 Fagborun comments that '[i]t is definitely not morphologically indigenous' (1994:13). Adetugbọ 1973:192-3. (See also the section Dialects.) This widely followed classification is based on Adetugbọ’s (1982) dialectological study — the classification originated in his 1967 PhD thesis The Yoruba Language in Western Nigeria: Its Major Dialect Areas. See also Adetugbọ 1973:183-193. [5] Adetugbọ 1973:185. [6] Cf. for example the following remark by Adetugbọ (1967, as cited in Fagborun 1994:25): "While the orthography agreed upon by the missionaries represented to a very large degree the phonemes of the Abẹokuta dialect, the morpho-syntax reflected the Ọyọ-Ibadan dialects". [7] "Yoruba...written in a version of the Arabic script known as Ajami (or Ajamiyya)." (http:/ / www. loc. gov/ rr/ amed/ afs/ NigerianSurveyTour2007/ NigerianSurveyTour. html) [8] Ralaran Uléìmȯkiri Institute (http:/ / www. ralaran. com) [9] After Bamgboṣe (1969:166). [10] Notably, Ayọ Bamgboṣe (1966:8). [11] Abraham in his Dictionary of Modern Yoruba deviates from this custom, explicitly indicating the nasality of the vowel; thus, inú is found under inún, etc. [12] Several authors have argued that the mid-tone is not specified underlyingly, but rather is assigned by a default rule (Pulleyblank 1986, Fọlarin 1987, Akinlabi 1985). Evidence includes examples like the following: rí 'see' aṣọ 'clothing' → ráṣọ 'see clothing', contrasted with rí 'see' ọ̀bẹ 'knife' → rọ! ́ bẹ 'see a knife' In the first example, the final vowel of the verb rí is deleted but its high tone easily attaches to the first syllable of aṣọ, the mid tone of which disappears without a trace. In the second example, the Low tone of the first syllable of ọ̀bẹ is not as easily deleted; it causes a downstep (marked by ‹!›, i.e., a lowering of subsequent tones. The ease with which the Mid tone gives way is attributed to it not being specified underlyingly. Cf. Bamgboṣe 1966:9 (who calls the downstep effect 'the assimilated low tone'). [13] Cf. Bamgboṣe 1966:6: The so-called glides […] are treated in this system as separate tones occurring on a sequence of two syllables. [14] See Bamgboṣe 1965a for more details. See also Ward 1952:123–133 ('Chapter XI: Abbreviations and Elisions'). [15] Karlsson, F. Yleinen kielitiede. ("General linguistics") Helsinki: Helsinki University Press, 1998. [16] Rowlands, Evan Colyn. (1969). Teach Yourself Yoruba. English Universities Press: London. [17] Ogunbowale, P. O. (1970). The Essentials of the Yoruba Language. University of London Press: London. [18] Rowlands, Evan Colyn. (1969). Teach Yourself Yoruba. English Universities Press:London. [19] Sheikh Dr. Abu-Abdullah Adelabu at Awqaf Africa Damascus titled: Islam in Africa - West African in Particular, and Missionary and Colonization in Africa see Al-Arab Daily Newspaper, London July, 1998 40-010X 01 40-010X (http:/ / www. worldcat. org/ issn/ 01) [20] DELAB International Newsmagazine, November 2005 1465-4814 (http:/ / www. worldcat. org/ issn/ 1465-4814) [21] A lecture by Sheikh Dr. Abu-Abdullah Adelabu of Awqaf Africa London titled: The History Of Islam in 'The Black History' DELAB International Newsmagazine, April 2003 1465-4814 (http:/ / www. worldcat. org/ issn/ 1465-4814)

• Adetugbọ, Abiọdun (1982). "Towards a Yoruba Dialectology". In Afọlayan (ed.). Yoruba Language and Literature. pp. 207–224. • Afọlayan, Adebisi (ed.) (1982). Yoruba language and literature. Ifẹ / Ibadan: University of Ifẹ Press / Ibadan University Press. • Ajayi, J.F. Ade (1960). "How Yoruba was Reduced to Writing". Odu: A Journal of Yoruba, Ẹdo and Related Studies (8): 49–58. • Bamgboṣe, Ayọ (1965a). "Assimilation and contraction in Yoruba". Journal of West African Languages (2): 21–27. • Bamgboṣe, Ayọ (1965b). Yoruba Orthography. Ibadan: Ibadan University Press.

Yoruba language • Bamgboṣe, Ayọ (1969). "Yoruba". In Elizabeth Dunstan (ed.). Twelve Nigerian Languages. New York: Africana Publishing Corp. pp. 166. ISBN 0-8419-0031-0. • Fagborun, J. Gbenga (1994). The Yoruba Koiné – Its History and Linguistic Innovations (http://www.amazon. com/Yoruba-Koine-History-Linguistics-Innovations/dp/3929075474/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books& qid=1297920718&sr=8-1). LINCOM Linguistic Edition vol. 6.. München/Newcastle: LINCOM Europe. ISBN 3-929-07547-4. • Fresco, Max (1970). Topics in Yoruba Dialect Phonology. (Studies in African Linguistics Supplement Vol. 1). Los Angeles: University of California, Dept. of Linguistics/ASC. • Ladipọ, Duro (1972). Ọba kò so (The king did not hang) — Opera by Duro Ladipọ. (Transcribed and translated by R.G. Armstrong, Robert L. Awujọọla and Val Ọlayẹmi from a tape recording by R. Curt Wittig). Ibadan: Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan. • Oyètádé, B. Akíntúndé & Buba, Malami (2000) 'Hausa Loan Words in Yorùbá', in Wolff & Gensler (eds.) Proceedings of the 2nd WoCAL, Leipzig 1997, Köln: Rüdiger Köppe, 241-260. • Oyenuga, Soji www.YorubaForKidsAbroad.com (2007). "Yoruba". In Soji and Titi Oyenuga. Yoruba For Kids Abroad - Learn Yoruba In 27 Days. Saskatoon, Canada: Gaptel Innovative Solutions Inc. pp. 27 days. ISBN. History • Adetugbọ, Abiọdun (1973). "The Yoruba Language in Yoruba History". In Biobaku, S.O. (ed.). Sources of Yoruba History. pp. 176–204. • Biobaku, S.O. (ed.) (1973). Sources of Yoruba History. Oxford: Clarendon Press. • Hair, P.E.H. (1967). "The Early Study of Yoruba, 1825-1850". The Early Study of Nigerian Languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. • Law, R.C.C. (1973a). "Contemporary Written Sources". In Biobaku, S.O. (ed.). Sources of Yoruba History. pp. 9–24. • Law, R.C.C. (1973b). "Traditional History". In Biobaku, S.O. (ed.). Sources of Yoruba History. pp. 25–40. Dictionaries • Abraham, Roy Clive (1958). Dictionary of Modern Yoruba. London: University of London Press. • CMS (Canon C.W. Wakeman, ed.) (1950[1937]). A Dictionary of the Yoruba language. Ibadan: University Press. • Delanọ, Oloye Isaac (1958). Atúmọ̀ ede Yoruba [short dictionary and grammar of the Yoruba language]. London: Oxford University Press. • Sachnine, Michka (1997). Dictionnaire yorùbá-français, suivi d’un index français-yorùbâ. Paris: Karthala. Grammars and sketches • Adéwọlé, L.O. (2000). Beginning Yorùbá (Part I). Monograph Series no. 9. Cape Town: CASAS. • Adéwọlé, L.O. (2001). Beginning Yorùbá (Part II). Monograph Series no. 10. Cape Town: CASAS. • Bamgboṣe, Ayọ (1966). A Grammar of Yoruba. [West African Languages Survey / Institute of African Studies]. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. • Crowther, Samuel Ajayi (1852). Yoruba Grammar. London. — the first grammar of Yoruba. • Rowlands, E.C. (1969). Teach Yourself Yoruba. London: The English Universities Press. • Ward, Ida (1952). An introduction to the Yoruba language. Cambridge: W. Heffer & Sons. • Yetunde, Antonia & Schleicher, Folarin (2006). Colloquial Yoruba. London: Taylor & Francis Ltd (Routledge).


Yoruba language


External links
• Map of Yoruba language from the LL-Map project (http://llmap.org/languages/yor.html) • Information on the Yoruba language from the MultiTree project (http://multitree.org/codes/yor.html) • Yoruba For Kids Abroad - Interactive Software for Yoruba Kids Abroad (http://www.YorubaForKidsAbroad. com) • (http://sites.google.com/site/learnyorubafree) • kasahorow Yoruba Dictionary (http://dictionary.kasahorow.com/all/yo) • Ọrọ èdè Yorùbá (http://oroede.sourceforge.net/) - promotes the digital presentation of proper Yorùbá orthography through the creation and modification of Opensource software. • Ethnologue report for Yoruba (http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=yor) • Omniglot: Yoruba orthography (http://www.omniglot.com/writing/yoruba.htm) • Yoruba dictionary (http://www.yorubadictionary.com/) • Sabere d'owo Yoruba video drama series (http://media.revver.com/broadcast/28158/video.mov). Radio Abeokuta (2006). • Pan-African Localization (http://www.panafril10n.org/wikidoc/pmwiki.php/PanAfrLoc/Yoruba) page for Yoruba • Yoruba in Russia (http://yoruba.ru) - all about yoruba culture, art, traditional religion. Yoruba language lessons • Yoruba in North America (http://www.yorubanation.org/) • USA Foreign Service Institute Yoruba basic course (http://www.fsi-language-courses.org/Content. php?page=Yoruba)

Santería is a syncretic religion of West African and Caribbean origin, also known as Regla de Ocha, La Regla Lucumi, or Lukumi.[1] [2] Its liturgical language, a dialect of Yoruba, is also known as Lucumi.

Priests are commonly known as "olorishas" or owner of Orisa. Once those priests have initiated other priests, they become known as babalorishas, "fathers of orisha" (for men), and as iyalorishas, "mothers of orisha" (for women). Any priest can commonly be referred to as Santeros and Santeras (depending on gender), and if they function as diviners (using cowrie-shell divination known as Diloggun) of the Orishas they can be considered Italeros, or if they go through training to become leaders of initiations, they are known as Oba or Oriate. Considered to be highest in rank are priests of Ifá (ee-fah), which in santeria is an all male group. Ifá Priests receive Orunmila who is the Orisha of Prophecy, Wisdom and Knowledge. Ifa Priests are known by the title Babalawo or "Father Who Knows the Secrets". In the recent years, the practice of traditional Yoruba Ifa priests (from Nigeria) has come to the diaspora of initiating women to be Iyanifa or "Mother of Destiny", but Santeria or "Lucumi" practitioners do not accept this practice as dictated by the Odu Ifa Irete Untelu which states woman cannot be in the presence of Olofin or Igba Iwa Odu and so cannot be initiated as divining priestesses. This is a major difference between santeria Ifa practitioners, and traditional Yoruba practitioners from Nigeria (though it should be noted that not all areas of Nigeria have this practice). Instead, women are initiated as Apetebi Ifa (bride of Ifa) and are considered senior in Ifa to all but fully initiated Babalawos. There is little evidence of Iyanifa existing in West Africa until very recently, so the existence of the Iyanifa is likely to be of modern origin in Yorubaland and therefore does not appear in the Cuban variant. The foremost Western academic authority on Ifa, William Bascom, traveled throughout Yorubaland studying the Ifa cult in a series of visits in 1937–1938, 1950–1951, 1960 and 1965, and never encountered a single Iyanifa nor was he told of their existence by any of his informants.[3] However, Maupoil in his work in the early 20th century does note

Santería the existence of Iyanifa[4] and Chief Fama, is a Nigerian born Iyanifa with several books considered to be academic worthy.[5]


Santería is a system of beliefs that merges the Yoruba religion (brought to the New World by slaves imported to the Caribbean to work the sugar plantations) with Roman Catholic and Native Indian traditions.[2] These slaves carried with them various religious traditions, including a trance for communicating with their ancestors and deities, animal sacrifice and sacred drumming. In Cuba, this religious tradition has evolved into what we now recognize as Santería. In 2001, there were an estimated 22,000 practitioners in the US alone,[6] but the number may be higher as some practitioners may be reluctant to disclose their religion on a government census or to an academic researcher. In Puerto Rico, the religion is extremely popular especially in the towns of Loiza and Carolina. Of those living in the US, some are fully committed priests and priestesses, others are "godchildren" or members of a particular house-tradition, and many are clients seeking help with their everyday problems. Many are of Black Hispanic and Caribbean descent but as the religion moves out of the inner cities and into the suburbs, a growing number are of African-American and European-American heritage. As a religion from Africa was recreated in the Americas it was transformed. "The colonial period from the standpoint of African slaves may be defined as a time of perseverance. Their world quickly changed. Tribal kings and families, politicians, business and community leaders all were enslaved in a foreign region of the world. Religious leaders, their descendants, and the faithful, were now slaves. Colonial laws criminalize their religion. They were forced to become baptized and worship a god their ancestors had not known who was surrounded by a pantheon of saints. The early concerns during this period seem to indicate a need for individual survival under harsh plantation conditions. A sense of hope was sustaining the internal essence of what today is called Santería, a misnomer for the indigenous religion of the Lukumi people of Nigeria. "In the heart of their homeland, they had a complex political and social order. They were a sedentary hoe farming cultural group with specialized labor. Their religion based on the worship of nature was renamed and documented by their masters. Santería, a pejorative term that characterizes deviant Catholic forms of worshiping saints, has become a common name for the religion. The term santero(a) is used to describe a priest or priestess replacing the traditional term Olorisha as an extension of the deities. The orishas became known as the saints in image of the Catholic pantheon." (Ernesto Pichardo, CLBA, Santería in Contemporary Cuba: The individual life and condition of the priesthood) As mentioned, in order to preserve their authentic ancestral and traditional beliefs, the Lukumi people had no choice but to disguise their orishas as Catholic saints. When the Roman Catholic slave owners observed Africans celebrating a Saint's Day, they were generally unaware that the slaves were actually worshiping their sacred orishas.[7] In Cuba today, the terms "saint" and "orisha" are sometimes used interchangeably. The term Santería was originally a derisive term applied by the Spanish to mock followers' seemingly eccentric devotion to the saints and their perceived neglect of their deity. It was later applied to the religion by others. This "veil" characterization of the relationship between Catholic saints and Cuban orisha, however, is somewhat undermined by the fact that the vast majority of santeros in Cuba today also consider themselves to be Catholics, have been baptized, and often require initiates to be baptized. Many hold separate rituals to honor the saints and orisha respectively, even though the disguise of Catholicism is no longer needed. The traditional Lukumi religion and its Santería counterpart can be found in many parts of the world today, including Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, and even the United States, which was mainly the result of mostly Cuban and Puerto Rican migration. A very similar religion called Candomblé is practiced in Brazil, along with a rich variety of other Afro-American religions. This is now being referred to as "parallel

Santería religiosity"[8] because some believers worship the African variant that has no notion of a devil and no baptism or marriage, yet they belong to Catholic or mainline Protestant churches, where these concepts exist. Lukumi religiosity works toward a balance in life on earth (androcentric) while the Christian European religions work toward the hereafter. Some in Cuban Santería, Haitian Vodou or Puerto Rican spiritualism (Afro-Latin religions) do not view a difference between saints and orishas,[9] the ancestor deities of the Lukumi people's Ifa religion. There are now individuals who mix the Lukumí practices with traditional practices as they survived in Africa after the deleterious effects of colonialism. Although most of these mixes have not been at the hands of experienced or knowledgeable practitioners of either system, they have gained a certain popularity. In 1974, the Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye became the first Santería church in the United States to become officially incorporated.[10]


Controversies and criticisms
• In 1993, the issue of animal sacrifice was taken to the United States Supreme Court in the case of Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah. The Supreme Court ruled that animal cruelty laws targeted specifically at Yoruba were unconstitutional;[11] the Yoruba practice of animal sacrifice has seen no significant legal challenges since then. • There have been a few highly publicized cases where injuries allegedly occurred during Lukumi rituals. One such case reported by The New York Times took place on January 18, 1998 in Sayville, New York, where 17-year-old Charity Miranda was suffocated to death with a plastic bag at her home by her mother Vivian, 39, and sister Serena, 20, after attempting an exorcism to free her of demons. Police found the women chanting and praying over the prostrate body. Not long before, the women had embraced Lukumi. However, Lukumi doctrine does not postulate the existence of demons, nor does its liturgy contain exorcism rituals. The mother, Vivian Miranda, was found not guilty due to insanity, and is currently confined in a New York State psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane.[12]

[1] Santeria (http:/ / www. religioustolerance. org/ santeri. htm) Religions of the World. ReigiousTolerance.org. Retrieved on 4 January 2009. [2] LUCUMI REL'GION (http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 20080528053852/ http:/ / www. neworleansmistic. com/ spells/ primer/ santeria. htm) New Orleans Mistic. Retrieved on 4 January 2009. [3] Bascom, William. Ifa Divination: Communication Between Gods and Men in West Africa. P. 81 [4] Maupoil, Bernard. "La Geomancie L'ancienne Côte des Esclaves" [5] Amazon.com: Chief Fama: Books (http:/ / www. amazon. com/ s?ie=UTF8& keywords=Chief Fama& rh=n:283155,k:Chief Fama& page=1) [6] American Religious Identification Survey, 2001 (http:/ / www. gc. cuny. edu/ faculty/ research_studies/ aris. pdf). [7] (http:/ / www. orishanet. org/ santeria. htm) [8] Perez y Mena, SSSR paper, 2005. [9] universalbances.com (http:/ / www. universalbances. com) [10] Richard Fausset (2008-08-10). "Santeria priest won't let religious freedom be sacrificed" (http:/ / articles. latimes. com/ 2008/ aug/ 11/ nation/ na-santeria11). L. A. Times. . Retrieved 2008-08-10. [11] 508 U.S. 520 (http:/ / caselaw. lp. findlaw. com/ scripts/ getcase. pl?navby=CASE& court=US& vol=508& page=520) Full text of the opinion courtesy of Findlaw.com. [12] John T. McQuiston (January 28, 1998). "Mother who called daughter possessed pleads not guilty to her murder" (http:/ / select. nytimes. com/ gst/ abstract. html?res=F70911FA345F0C7B8EDDA80894D0494D81& n=Top/ Reference/ Times Topics/ Subjects/ O/ Occult Sciences). The New York Times: pp. B/5. . Retrieved 2007-07-26.



Further reading
• John Mason and Gary Edwards, Black Gods — Orisa Studies in the New World, Yoruba Theological Archministry, 1985. ISBN 978-1-881244-02-8 • John Mason. Olokun: Owner of Rivers and Seas ISBN 1-881244-05-9. • John Mason. Orin Orisa: Songs for selected Heads ISBN 1-881244-06-7. • Charles Spencer King, Nature's Ancient Religion ISBN 978-1-4404-1733-7 • Charles Spencer King, IFA Y Los Orishas: La Religion Antigua De LA Naturaleza ISBN 1-46102-898-1 • Cabrera, Lydia (1995). El Monte: Igbo — Finda, Ewe Orisha/Vititi Nfinda. Ediciones Universal. ISBN 978-0-89729-009-8. • Chief Priest Ifayemi Elebuibon, Apetebii: The Wife of Orunmila ISBN 0-9638787-1-9. • J. Omosade Awolalu, Yoruba Beliefs & Sacrificial Rites ISBN 0-9638787-3-5. • Baba Ifa Karade, The Handbook of Yoruba Religious Concepts. • William Bascom, Sixteen Cowries: Yoruba Divination from Africa to the New World. 1980 • David M. O'Brien, Animal Sacrifice and Religious Freedom: Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah. • James T. Houk, Spirits, Blood, and Drums: The Orisha Religion of Trinidad. 1995. Temple University Press. • Baba Raul Canizares, Cuban Santería. • • • • • • • Robert Farris Thompson, Flash of the Spirit. Miguel A. De La Torre, Santería: The Beliefs and Rituals of a Growing Religion in America. Miguel R. Bances, Santería: El Nuevo Manual del Oba u Oriaté (http://www.tratadosifasanteria.com/). Baba Esù Onàrè,, Tratado Encilopedico de Ifa (http://www.tratadosifasanteria.com/orisha1/ libros_tratados_ifa.html). Mozella G. Mitchell, Crucial Issues in Caribbean Religions, Peter Lang Pub, 2006. Andres I. Perez y Mena" Speaking With The Dead: Development of Afro-Latin Religion Among Puerto Ricans in the United States" AMS — Press 1991 ISBN 0-404-19485-0. Anthony M. Stevens Arroyo & Andres I. Perez y Mena, Editors "Enigmatic Powers: Syncretism With African and Indigenous Peoples'Religions Among Latinos" Bildner Center for Western Hemisphere Studies 1995 ISBN 0-929972-11-2 (hbk.) & 0-9657839-1-X (pbk.) Andres I. Perez y Mena, "Understanding Religiosity in Cuba" in Journal of Hispanic/Latino Theology. February 2000. Vol 7 No. 3 Copyright: The Order of St. Benedict, Collegeville, Minnesota. Andres I. Perez y Mena, "Cuban Santería, Haitian Vodun, Puerto Rican Spiritualism: A Multicultural Inquiry Into Syncretism." 1997. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. Vol. 37. No. 1. Andres I. Perez y Mena, Santería: in "Contemporary American Religion", an encyclopedia. Wade Clark Roof, Editor in Chief. Macmillan Reference, Macmillan Publishing. New York, New York, Fall, 1999. Andres I. Perez y Mena, Animal Sacrifice: in "Contemporary American Religion", an encyclopedia. Wade Clark Roof, Editor in Chief. Macmillan Reference, Macmillan Publishing. New York, New York, Fall, 1999. Andres I. Perez y Mena, Religious Syncretism. 1996. "The Latino Encyclopedia" by Salem Press, Suite 350, 131 North El Molino Avenue, Pasadena, California, 91101. Andres I. Perez y Mena, John Paul II Visits Cuba, in "Great Events of the Twentieth Century." 2000 Edited by Salem Press, Pasadena, California. Andres I. Perez y Mena. 1982. "Socialization by Stages of Development into a ‘Centro Espiritista’ in the South Bronx of New York City." Special Collections, Gottesman Libraries Archive Historical Dissertations. Teachers College, Columbia University.

• • • • • • •



External links
• OrishaNet (http://www.orishanet.org/) — In depth Santería page written by a Babalawo (High Priest) • Furius Santería DB: A database of the rhythms and chants found in recordings (http://furius.ca/santeriadb)

An Orisha (also spelled Orisa or Orixa) is a spirit or deity that reflects one of the manifestations of Olodumare (God) in the Yoruba spiritual or religious system. (Olodumare is also known by various other names including Olorun, Eledumare, Eleda and Olofin-Orun). This religion has found its way throughout the world and is now expressed in practices as varied as Candomblé, Lucumí/Santería, Shango in Trinidad, Anago and Oyotunji, as well as in some aspects of Umbanda, Winti, Obeah, Vodun and a host of others. These varieties or spiritual lineages as they are called are practiced throughout areas of Nigeria, the Republic of Benin, Togo, Brazil, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, the United States, Uruguay and Venezuela among others. As interest in African indigenous religions (spiritual systems) grows, Orisha communities and lineages can be found in parts of Europe and Asia as well. While this may vary, some scholars estimate there could be more than 100 million adherents of this spiritual tradition worldwide.[1]

An entity that possesses the capability of reflecting some of the manifestations of Olódùmarè. Yòrùbá Oriṣas (translated "owners of heads") are often described as intermediaries between man and the supernatural. The term is often translated as "deities" or "divinities".[2] Oriṣa(s) are more like "animistic entities" and have control over specific elements in nature and are better known as the divinities, and yet there are also the Oriṣa that are more like ancient heroes and or sages[3] and are best addressed as dema deities. Even though in the basics of things, the term Oriṣa is often used to describe either of these entities it is mainly reserved for the former.[3]

The Yoruba belief in Orisha is meant to consolidate not contradict the terms of Olódùmarè. Adherents of the religion appeal to specific manifestations of Olódùmarè in the form of those whose fame will last for all time. Ancestors and culture-heroes held in reverence can also be enlisted for help with day-to-day problems. Some believers will also consult a geomantic divination specialist, known as a babalawo (Ifa Priest) or Iyanifa (Ifa's lady), to mediate in their problems. Ifa divination, an important part of Yoruba life, is the process through which an adept (or even a lay person skilled in oracular affairs) attempts to determine the wishes of God and His Servants. The cultural and scientific education arm of the United Nations, declared Ifa a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2005.



Oduduwa is considered as the first of the contemporary dynasty of kings of Ife. cosmicists believe Oduduwa descended from the heavens and brought with him much of what is now their belief system.[4] migrationists believe Oduduwa was a local emissary from an all too earthly place, said to recount the coming of Oduduwa from the east, sometimes understood by some sources as the "vicinity" of Mecca, but more likely signifying the region of Ekiti and Okun sub-communities in northeastern Yorubaland/central Nigeria.[5] Whatever the case may be, all of the Yoruba traditionally believe that daily life depends on proper alignment and knowledge of one's Ori. Ori literally means the head, but in spiritual matters it is taken to mean an inner portion of the soul which determines personal destiny and success. Ase, which is also spelled “Axe,” “Axé,” “Ashe,” or “Ache,” is the life-force which runs though all things, living and inanimate. Ashe is the power to make things happen. It is an affirmation which is used in greetings and prayers, as well as a concept about spiritual growth. Orisha devotees strive to obtain Ashe through Iwa-Pele or gentle and good character, and in turn they experience alignment with the Ori, or what others might call inner peace or satisfaction with life.

The Yoruba theogony enjoys a Pantheon of Orishas, this includes: Aganju, Obalu Aye, Erinle, Eshu/Elegba, Yemaya, Nana Buluku, Obà, Obatala, Oxossi/Ochosi/Osoosi, Oshumare, Ogun/Ogoun/Ogunda, Oko, Olofi, Olokun, Olorun, Orunmila, Oshun, Osun, Oya, Ozain, and Shango, among countless others. In the Lucumi tradition, Osun and Oshun are different Orishas. Oshun is the beautiful and benevolent Orisha of love, life, marriage, sex and money while Osun is the protector of the Ori, or our heads and inner Orisha. The Yoruba also venerate their ancestral spirits through Egungun masquerades, Orò, Irumole, Gelede and Ibeji, the orisha of Twins (which is no wonder since the Yoruba are officially known to have the world's highest rate of twin births of any group). In fact, the world capital of twins is the Yoruba town of Igboora, with an average of 150 twins per 1 000 birth.

Partial list of Orishas
• Olokun - guardian of the deep ocean, the abyss, and signifies unfathomable wisdom, • Obatala (Obatalá, Oxalá, Orixalá, Orisainlá) - arch-divinity, father of humankind, divinity of light, spiritual purity, and moral uprightness • Orunmila (Orunla, Ifá) - divinity of wisdom, divination, destiny, and foresight • Eshu (Eleggua, Exú, Esu, Elegba, Legbara, Papa Legba) - Eshu is the messenger between the human and divine worlds, Undergod of duality, crossroads and beginnings, and also a phallic and fertility Undergod (an Embodiment of Life) and the deliverer of souls to the underworld (an Embodiment of Death). Eshu is recognized as a trickster and is child-like, while Eleggua is Eshu under the influence of Obatala. • Ochumare (Oshumare, Oxumare) - rainbow deity, divinity of movement and activity, guardian of children and associated with the umbilical cord • Nana Buluku as Yemaja, the female thought of the male creator Ashe and the effective cause of all further creation. Sometimes considered to be the same as the Fon Mawu-Lisa who is, however, most usually depicted as her child or children. [1] • Iemanja (Yemaja, Imanja, Yemayá, Jemanja, Yemalla, Yemana, Yemanja, Yemaya, Yemayah, Yemoja, Ymoja, Nanã, La Sirène, LaSiren, Mami Wata) - divine mother, divinity of the sea and loving mother of mankind, daughter of Obatala and wife of Aganju. • Aganju (Aganyu, Agayu) - Father of Shango, he is also said to be Shango's brother in other stories. Aganju is said to be the orisha of volcanoes, mountains, and the desert. • Shango (Shangó, Xango, Changó, Chango, Nago Shango) - warrior deity ; divinity of thunder, fire, sky father, represents male power and sexuality

Orisha • Oba (Obba) - Shango's jealous wife, divinity of marriage and domesticity, daughter of Iemanja • Oya (Oyá, Oiá, Iansã, Yansá, Iansan, Yansan) - warrior deity; divinity of the wind, sudden change, hurricanes, and underworld gates, a powerful sorceress and primary lover of Shango • Ogoun (Ogun, Ogúm, Ogou) - warrior deity; divinity of iron, war, labour, sacrifice, politics, and technology (e.g. railroads) • Oshun (Oshún, Ọṣun, Oxum, Ochun, Osun, Oschun) - divinity of rivers, love, feminine beauty, fertility, and art, also one of Shango's lovers and beloved of Ogoun • Ibeji - the sacred twins, represent youth and vitality • Ochosi (Oxósse, Ocshosi, Osoosi, Oxossi) - hunter and the scout of the orishas, deity of the accused and those seeking justice or searching for something • Ozain (Osain, Osanyin) - Orisha of the forest, he owns the Omiero, a holy liquid consisting of many herbs, the liquid through which all saints and ceremonies have to proceed. Ozain is the keeper and guardian of the herbs, and is a natural healer. He sometimes appears as a beautiful wood sprite when in female form. • Babalu Aye (Omolu, Soponna, Shonponno, Obaluaye, Sakpata, Shakpana) - divinity of disease and illness (particularly smallpox, leprosy, and now AIDS), also orisha of healing and the earth, son of Iemanja • Erinle (Inle) - orisha of medicine, healing, and comfort, physician to the gods • Oko (Okko) - orisha of agriculture and the harvest • Ori (Yoruba) - Ruler of the head



Iansan/Iansã, Orixá of wind, change

Nanã, The oldest Orixá in Candomblé

Pair of Ibeji

Babalu Aye/Omolú




[1] Kevin Baxter (on De La Torre), Ozzie Guillen secure in his faith (http:/ / www. post-gazette. com/ pg/ 07182/ 798519-63. stm), Los Angeles Times, 2007 [2] Cf. The Concept of God: The People of Yoruba (http:/ / organizations. uncfsu. edu/ ncrsa/ journal/ v03/ johnsonoyinade_yoruba. htm) for the acceptability of the translation [3] J. Olumide Lucas, The Religion of the Yorubas, Athelia Henrietta PR, 1996. ISBN 0-963-87878-6 [4] E. Bolaji Idowu Olódùmarè: God in Yoruba Belief (http:/ / www. amazon. com/ Olodumare-Yoruba-Belief-Bolaji-Idowu/ dp/ 1886832005) (ed Hardcover) Wazobia, 1994 ISBN 1-886-83200-5 [5] Article: Oduduwa, The Ancestor Of The Crowned Yoruba Kings (http:/ / www. coastalnews. com/ profile/ 120-nigeria-news/ 592-oduduwa-the-ancestor-of-the-crowned-yoruba-kings. html)

Further reading
• • • • • • • • • • • Awo Fa'Lokun Fatunmbi Orisas J. Omosade Awolalu, Yoruba Beliefs & Sacrificial Rites. ISBN 0-9638787-3-5 William Bascom, Sixteen Cowries. Lydia Cabrera, El Monte: Igbo-Nfinda, Ewe Orisha/Vititi Nfinda. ISBN 0-89729-009-7 Charles Spencer King, Nature's Ancient Religion: Orisha Worship & IFA. ISBN 1-44041-733-4 Charles Spencer King, IFA Y Los Orishas: La Religion Antigua De LA Naturaleza. ISBN 1-46102-898-1 Raul Canizares, Cuban Santeria. Chief Priest Ifayemi Elebuibon, Apetebii: The Wife of Orunmila. ISBN 0-9638787-1-9 Fakayode Fayemi Fatunde (2004) Osun, The Manly Woman. New York: Athelia Henrietta Press. James T. Houk, Spirits, Blood, and Drums: The Orisha Religion of Trinidad. 1995. Temple University Press. Jo Anna Hunter, “Oro Pataki Aganju: A Cross Cultural Approach Towards the Understanding of the Fundamentos of the Orisa Aganju in Nigeria and Cuba”. In Orisa Yoruba God and Spiritual Identity in Africa and the Diaspora, edited by Toyin Falola, Ann Genova. New Jersey: Africa World Press, Inc. 2006. Baba Ifa Karade, The Handbook of Yoruba Religious Concepts, Weiser Books, York Beach, New York, 1994. ISBN 0-877-28789-9 Gary Edwards (Author), John Mason (Author), Black Gods - Orisa Studies in the New World , 1998. ISBN 1-881-24408-3 John Mason, Olokun: Owner of Rivers and Seas. ISBN 1-881244-05-9 John Mason, Orin Orisa: Songs for selected Heads. ISBN 1-881244-06-7 David M. O'Brien, Animal Sacrifice and Religious Freedom: Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah. S. Solagbade Popoola, Ikunle Abiyamo: It is on Bent Knees that I gave Birth. 2007. Asefin Media Publication Robert Farris Thompson, Flash of the Spirit.

• • • • • • •

Article Sources and Contributors


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Image Sources, Licenses and Contributors


Image Sources, Licenses and Contributors
File:The Childrens Museum of Indianapolis - Egungun masquerade dance garment.jpg  Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:The_Childrens_Museum_of_Indianapolis_-_Egungun_masquerade_dance_garment.jpg  License: unknown  Contributors: HstryQT, Missvain Image:Kwarastatedrummers.jpg  Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Kwarastatedrummers.jpg  License: Creative Commons Attribution 2.0  Contributors: Melvin "Buddy" Baker from St. Petersburg, Florida, United States File:Flag of Nigeria.svg  Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Flag_of_Nigeria.svg  License: Public Domain  Contributors: User:Jhs File:Flag of Benin.svg  Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Flag_of_Benin.svg  License: Public Domain  Contributors: Drawn by User:SKopp, rewritten by User:Gabbe File:Flag of Ghana.svg  Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Flag_of_Ghana.svg  License: Public Domain  Contributors: Benchill, Fry1989, Henswick, Homo lupus, Indolences, Jarekt, Klemen Kocjancic, Neq00, OAlexander, SKopp, ThomasPusch, Threecharlie, Torstein, Zscout370, 4 anonymous edits File:Flag of Togo.svg  Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Flag_of_Togo.svg  License: Public Domain  Contributors: Aaker, Ahsoous, EugeneZelenko, Fry1989, Homo lupus, Klemen Kocjancic, Mattes, Mxn, Neq00, Nightstallion, Reisio, ThomasPusch, Vzb83 File:Flag of Canada.svg  Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Flag_of_Canada.svg  License: Public Domain  Contributors: User:E Pluribus Anthony, User:Mzajac Image:Yoruba-bronze-head.jpg  Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Yoruba-bronze-head.jpg  License: Public Domain  Contributors: WaynaQhapaq File:Arte_yoruba,_nigeria,_testa_da_ife,_12-15mo_secolo.JPG  Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Arte_yoruba,_nigeria,_testa_da_ife,_12-15mo_secolo.JPG  License: GNU Free Documentation License  Contributors: sailko Image:Oyoxviii.jpeg  Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Oyoxviii.jpeg  License: GNU Free Documentation License  Contributors: Commons and Rollebon Image:IbejiTwins.jpg  Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:IbejiTwins.jpg  License: Public Domain  Contributors: Self, Bruce Cameron [dumarest2] Image:Nigeria Yoruba Area.png  Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Nigeria_Yoruba_Area.png  License: GNU Free Documentation License  Contributors: Benutzer:Kapitän Nemo, Boivie, Ji-Elle, 2 anonymous edits Image:Kru, Ibo, Yoruba USC2000 PHS.svg  Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Kru,_Ibo,_Yoruba_USC2000_PHS.svg  License: GNU Free Documentation License  Contributors: Ji-Elle, Martin Kozák, 1 anonymous edits File:Yoruba Vowel Diagram.png  Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Yoruba_Vowel_Diagram.png  License: Creative Commons Sharealike 1.0  Contributors: User:Jiminy Krikkitt Image:Eleggua2005.jpg  Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Eleggua2005.jpg  License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 2.0  Contributors: user:solar Image:Iansa.jpg  Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Iansa.jpg  License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 2.5  Contributors: Cmdrjameson, Jedsundwall Image:Nana_Buruku.jpg  Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Nana_Buruku.jpg  License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 2.5  Contributors: Printed by Davi Nascimento Image:Omolu.jpg  Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Omolu.jpg  License: Public Domain  Contributors: Limongi Image:Iansa new.jpg  Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Iansa_new.jpg  License: Public Domain  Contributors: Limongi



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