This essay sample essay on Yoruba History And Culture offers an extensive list of facts and arguments related to it. The essay’s introduction, body paragraphs and the conclusion are provided below.
The Yoruba People of Nigeria Among the many tribes found in Africa, the Yoruba People of Nigeria are among the most popular and well known. The Yoruba are the tribe that many Africans confess that their family roots started from and therefore follow the religion and culture of the Yoruba.
These people are indigenous to the Southwestern parts of Nigeria and Benin. They may not be the only tribe in Africa, but they certainty have an interesting culture along with one of the oldest ancestry lines. The Yoruba have a culture and history that is unique in its own way and meaning.
According to the oral history of the Yoruba, it is described as a myth. As the tale goes, the first kings of the land were the offspring of the creator, Oduduwa.
The crown wore by the kings identifies those individuals as powerful and able to communicate with the spiritual world in a way to benefit the people of the land. As the story continues, the sky god, Olorun, lowered a rope from the heavens in which climbed down Oduduwa. Upon reaching Earth, he brought along with him a five-toed chicken, a palm seed and a handful of dirt.
These items he used to create the Ife kingdom, and in that kingdom grew a magnificent tree with sixteen branches.
These sixteen branches symbolized his sixteen sons and grandsons. Even though Oduduwa was the first ruler of these kingdoms, he would later on send of his sixteen sons and grandsons to create their own great kingdoms. As history shows, the majority of Yoruba people were farmers, growing such crops as yams and cocoa beans that brought them most of their profit. However, they grew in a three-year rotational period to be able to grow other crops for their people such as corn, peanuts and beans.
The people made sure to grow enough to live off of for several seasons, as after the rotation is done the land is left alone from any sort of planting for almost seven years. This allows the land to become fertile again to promise a good growing season when the time comes back around. It was estimated at one time that 70 percent of the total population of Yoruba people were masters in agriculture and 10 percent working throughout the town as traders or craft workers. Yorubaland, as it was called, was known by its’ numerous populated areas with lots of land surrounding them for farming.
This centralization of income and revenue between cities allowed for the development of a complex market economy for the people, which then put a heavy emphasis on the arts. When it comes to religion amongst the people, there are numerous deities in which they worship; over 401 of them to be exact. The complex nature of these has led scholars to compare them to the Ancient Greeks and their ways of religion. The highest of the Yoruba gods is Olorun, who is from the oral history of the people’s ancestry.
Although Olorun does not have any sorts of statues or shrines in his name, it is common among the people to give him thanks and blessing for all that he has provided them. The Yoruba have deities that they believe perform differing tasks, ranging from Yemonja; the Spirit of Fertility and salt waters, to Osun; the Spirit of love and the protector of women and children. They believe that when their time here on Earth is over, that they enter the realm of the ancestors where they still will have an influence on the events that happen on Earth where they came from.
At the funeral ceremonies of those who have passed, people in masks will attend, as it is believed that they embody the spirit of the deceased. Every year, people pay respects to their ancestors’ gravesites, and all heads of the family are responsible for honoring all those deceased before them by performing a sacrifice of some sorts. Among the many vast qualities of the Yoruba people’s culture, this belief is found by many to be the most interesting. In traditional African societies, twins were considered abnormal and raised many reactions from fear to joy.
In the ancient times of the Yoruba, twins were rejected and even sometimes sacrificed as they felt it was bad nature towards the tribe. As times went on, the beliefs changed to where now in the Yoruba, twins are not only accepted but also welcomed into the tribe. The birth of twins into the community is an occasion that arises rejoicing and the preparation of a great feast for all the people in celebration of the twins. The first-born child of the twins is always named Taiwo, which means “having the first taste of the world”, and the second being called Kehinde, meaning, “arriving after the other. Oddly enough, the first-born child is regarded as being the younger of the two children. This is a result of the belief that Kehinde, the second of the two born, sends out his brother or sister to see what the outside world looks like. As soon as Taiwo has started crying, this is a symbol that it is okay for Kehinde to come out. As it is told, Kehinde is supposed to be more careful and intelligent, while Taiwo is more adventurous and curious. On the third day after the twins’ birth, the parents are supposed to make a visit to the priest of the community.
Through interpretation of the Ifa oracle, which is that by which the tribe abides, the priest is able to drive out any evil spirits that may cause a threat to the newborns as well as be able to tell them how to keep their precious children safe. The priest also has the power at an extreme sense to sacrifice one of the twins if he feels as if the twin has evil spirits that cannot be overcome. As it seems to be prevalent in most other African tribes, the use of masks is no different among the Yoruba people.
Artists who will have usually had training from a previous master carver of the tribe usually carve these decorative masks from such materials as wood or some type of metal. This tradition is normally passed down through generations, and represents something of the family’s ancestry. An artist such as this receives much respect from the tribe as he not only holds such an artistic ability but also being able to embody such spiritual and symbolic knowledge into his or her artwork.
Masks can depict such things as animals, which tribes use to communicate to the spirits of the wilderness. However, African masks can also indicate a culture’s look at feminine beauty. An example of this representation can be seen in the masks of Punu of Gabon, in which the details of the face are very woman-like, starting with the arched eyebrows and the raised strip that runs from the nose to the ears that is meant to represent jewelry. But one of the most prevalent features is the whiteness of the face, which is to portray the whiteness and beauty of the spirit world.
Today, the meanings and deep qualities of African art seem to become more understood, even though African masks are being created for tourist purposes. Even though these masks show good craftsmanship, it is stated that they will always be lacking the spiritual quality that the traditional masks had. The ways of African life can easily be seen as much different from Americans. However, we all have a way in which we came upon this Earth and a belief in how we should go about our lives. As the Yoruba culture shows, they have had a long ancestry and culture, in which they still abide by.
They have a way of religion they praise, a hard work ethic, and give praise and love to the youngest members of the tribe as well as newborns. In this case, we an all relate to a culture that is different from ours. Culture is a way in which a group of people, no matter how large or small, can identify themselves among others. The Yoruba has had a culture for years that allows them to identify themselves while still being different. No matter how different cultures may be, the main focus is to remember the roots in which they came from.