Is there a person in Nigeria who doesn’t know a thing about Yoruba culture and art? They are remarkable and definitely worth attention and they do receive this attention from foreigners. It’s impossible to leave this culture unnoticed once you come across it. Let’s try to figure out what the Yoruba tribe is famous for.
Who are the Yoruba people?
The people from this ethnic group live in the south-western areas of Nigeria, in their historical lands. Today, there are about 35 million of the people who call themselves Yoruba and the number is growing with the general growth of the population in the country. It’s interesting that the biggest number of Africans who live elsewhere outside Africa are of Yoruba descent.
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Some of them have left their motherlands in Nigeria and other countries in the western Africa on their own accord. Others were taken as slaves during the tragic period of slavery and brought to the Caribbean islands or either of Americas.
Being a Yoruba means being a part of an ethnic group that embraces diverse people who are united under a common language and the same religion. Historical bonds, cultural unity, and the sense of togetherness holds these people together now in a big, bright, colorful family.
For example, Yoruba women are known to be industrious and diligent. They are like all other African women expected to become good wives for their husbands but, at the same time, they are not limited in their own achievements. One of the world’s richest women named Folorunsho Alakija is Yoruba.
Remarkable facts about Yoruba culture
It’s interesting and worth noticing that the Yoruba still follows their traditions and rites in many spheres of their life. For instance, their marriage rites have remained mostly the same with the ancient ones, with only little changes.
Up to recent time, female babies were circumcised together with males within the very first month of their life. Now this tradition is almost gone because the mutilation of female reproductive organs is more dangerous and influences the life and health of the future woman in a negative way.
The rite of burying the deceased is interesting, too. The grave is dug only by those who belong to the same clan with the deceased person but not his or her relatives. The graves are usually dug inside the deceased people’s houses. After the person is buried, it’s necessary to conduct a range of certain rites that will ensure his or her rebirth.
All these rites may seem strange in the 21st century, especially for Christians. However, 20% of the Yoruba population still keeps the faith of their ancestors. The faith is extremely complicated and researchers name about 400 divine personalities that belong to it.
Yoruba people have their own music, quite a vibrant one, and they are perfect drummers.
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One more thing that’s widely known outside the homeland of Yoruba people is their Aso-Oke cloth. It’s a fabric woven by hand in a huge variety of styles. The Aso-Oke in red colors is called Alaari, the brown one is known as Sanyan, and Etu stands for the blue Aso-Oke sorts.
Yoruba beads and terracotta and bronze
One of the things that make Yoruba famous among other peoples and nations is their gift for sculpturing and other arts. For instance, the masterpieces they create out of tiny beads, their pottery and terracotta works, embroidery and the art of making masks are higher that any appraisals.
Their beadwork is something incredible as they can create perfect ornaments, decorative elements and even entire pictures out of the smallest beads. In most cases, such works are dedicated to their ancestors or are created to show their respect for the gods. The terracotta, bronze, brass and wood are the materials to depict their deities, too.
The masks they make out of wood, bronze, ivory or even stone are a thing many tourists and collectors of ancient and rare things would love to see in their collections. The elaborate designs, careful neat work and absolutely genuine look make these masks unique.
Interesting things about Yoruba you need to know
Now, let’s check out several facts about the Yoruba people that you probably don’t even know. It will be interesting.
- Yoruba people give birth to more twin babies than any other nation on the globe. Researchers still don’t know why it happens though there are several opinions. Some say that it’s the Lord’s will and others claim that the reason hides in the cassava, which Yoruba people eat quite often
- The names always mean a lot for the Yoruba people and thus, when a child is born, they conduct special naming rites and ceremonies. When twins are born, the first one normally receives the name Taiwo because all twins, in accordance with their beliefs, possess certain birth names.
- In rural lands, most people have colorful and richly decorated traditional clothes that are used for special occasions like weddings or other parties. They don’t wear such attires every day but when they do, they look fabulous
- The Yoruba tradition has preserved thousands of folklore pieces, mostly tales about the creatures who can be met in the world that we see but who can also exist in the unseen world.
- The Yoruba people believe that death is not the end to everything and that a person will live another life right after this one. The only thing that’s going to change in this new life is the scenery and the setting
- Yoruba people are most ancient tribe in Nigeria. Researchers have proved that they have been here for many centuries. Their initial kingdoms known as Ife and Oyo have given scientists plenty of relics that show evidently how ancient the civilization of Yoruba is
Here are some things that make the Yoruba tribe so outstanding, famous and still full of mysteries that are only waiting for a moment to be unfolded. This is why their culture is so bright and attractive to tourists and researchers all over the world.
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