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Tribalingual Blog

17 Jul 2017

Culture showcase: Yorùbá

The Yorùbá speaking people are native to West Africa and have a rich and fascinating culture. They are renowned for their arts and crafts, including cloth weaving, sculpting, molding pots and effigies from clay, and metal work. Dancing, songs and celebrations are also important to the Yorùbá people; the yorùbá also have several proverbs about dancing, such as ‘the raising of the hand starts the dance’ – and traditionally bring songs to life with instruments like the ìlù, the sèkèrè, and the agogo.

The Yorùbá also occupy themselves with stories and games, though work is taken seriously. They have a huge amount of oral literature, often linked to the nature around them and including a message passed from generation to generation, teaching children how to be good members of the community. Respect for elders is especially important and young people have a responsibility to assist adults they see carrying heavy loads, and must not insult or abuse their elders. In return, adults must not cheat young people.

Here’s why you should visit Yorùbáland, according to our course teacher:

Yorùbá people are accommodating; they like to live with strangers. In addition, there are numerous exciting tourist attractions and historical sites to visit in Yorùbáland. If you like to try out new food, why not visit Yorùbáland, there is various traditional delicacy for your delight.”

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Did you know….

  • It is believed Yorùbá had a celebration that lasted for 364 days
  • 200 Terracotta heads were found in Ilé-ifè, the ancestral home of the Yorùbá.
  • The Yoruba believe in 401 deities who carry spiritual messages to the ‘Supreme Being’ known as the Olódùmarè, one of which is Ọya, linked to the River Niger.
  • Iyán, pounded yams, is considered Yorùbáland’s best delicacy.
  • The most popular character in the Yorùbá’s many stories about animals is the tortoise, known as Ìjàpá.
  • Tattoos were drawn in Yorùbáland before modern tattooing was invented.
  • The Yorùbá have masquerades called egúngún, with costumes called èkú, as well as other types of festivals and holidays.
  • In Yoruba culture, laziness is not accepted and anyone who doesn’t take their work seriously is called ọ̀lẹ afàjò
  • A popular pastime is wrestling; young adults compete in the gídígbò competition.

To find out more about Yoruba, sign up to our course!