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Friday, 15 March 2013


In Yorùbá land, ilé l’à ń wò  á tó s ọmọ l’órúkọ.

This implies that, the various circumstances surrounding the birth of a child is a major factor in naming the child on the ọj́ ìsọmọlórúkọ.

Maybe, it took long for the child to come out of the mother, the labour which the mother had to go through and etc can be the reason behind the child’s name (àsìkò tí a bí mi yàtọ̀ìdílé tí a ti bí mi yàtọ̀ọjọ́ àti dún pàápàá yàtọ̀ síra wn).

We all are not born the same day, month, and year and also we are not born the same way, we came from different family as well as sociopolitical background.

Bákan náà, ni ọ̀nà tí a gbà bími yàtọ̀ sí ọ̀nà tí a gbà bí ìr. Bí a e bí àwn kan tí wọ́n dojú sókè kọ́ la bí àwn míràn tí wọ́sojú dẹ́lẹ̀ nígbà tí a bí wn - Also, we were born in different ways, the same way i was born is not the same way you were born, while many came out from the mother with the head facing up, others come out with the head face down. 

A child born with locked hair; dreadlocks is regarded as Dàda.

Automatically, any child born in the Yoruba house born face down will be named Àjàyí.

Tàlàbí; this is a name of a child who has covering around the face at birth.

On the other hand, if the child is born with the umbilical cord around the neck, such children are referred to as Àìná for a girl and Òjó for a male child. Whereas, a child that comes out with the legs is the Ìgè, or Ìgè-Àdùbí

Furthermore, if a child stayed in the womb beyond the usual 9 and 10 months, the child name will include mọ́pẹ́ (child stayed long in womb).

Another unique set of people according to the Yoruba culture are twin children; ìbejì or ọmọ mé. The first to come out of the mother among the two children is the i/Táíwò (tọ áyé wò – have a taste of life) and the second is the Kẹ́hindé/Àkẹ́hindé/ ọmọkẹ́hindé (one who came late). mọ-kẹ́hin-the second of the twins is regarded to be the senior who sent ọmọ- tọ - áyé- to come see how sweet earth is, táíwò is the àbúrò (junior).
Those born after the twins are the Ìdòwú and Àlábà respectively.

Apart from giving birth to ọmọ meji, Yorubas also have the ìbẹ́ta/ ọmọmẹ́ta/ẹ̀ta òkò (triplet) , ìbejì are believed to be special children, adored by the Yorùbá race. 

Away from the ìbejì and ìbẹta. Some children are born with more than five fingers or toes, such people are called olúgbodi.

Furthermore, traditional Yoruba names are not only by the circumstances surrounding the birth of a child that points to a befitting name for the child, but also the behaviour of the child after birth prior to the ọjọ́ isọmọlórúkọ (child naming day). 

A child that cries all time is the Òní, whereas a child born and enveloped in a sack of flesh will have kẹ́ as a name. Some women take-in without a menstrual circle, children conceived by women like this, are named ìlọ̀rí.

Above all, the situation at hand when the baby was delivered also gives insight to a choice of name for the child. A child born during any festivity have names like Abíọ́dún, Bọdúnrin and Bọdúndé. In a sad moment, names like Rẹ̀mílẹ́kún, kúndayọ̀ are names suitable for the new child. On the opposite, children born in happy times have the prefix or suffix- Ayọ̀ in their names.

What about the names of the Àbíkú? Do you know any? Of course, the wandering children also have their own names which tells one upon hearing such names that the child is an Àbíkú

Children born during the raining season are called Béjidé. Beautiful babies have names like Béwaji, wátòkẹ́, Ewáwùmi. Women who gives birth on the road have their child named Abíọ́nà (born on the road).  When the father/mother travels and he/she came back to meet a new born baby, such child will be named Tòkunbọ̀; ti-òkun-bọ̀ (arrival from sea).  mọtóóyọ̀ is a name given to child whom the mother and father had longed for, the name means the joy of having a child.

When a man lost his father and the wife put to bed shortly after the death of her father-in-law, no one tells the man that the child’s name will be Babátúndé tabi Babájídé and Yétúndé or ìyábọ̀ if it was a girl, most especially if the baby look just like the late grandfather or grandmother. 

Now you can see that there is a lot in a Yorùbá name. Names that are unique, names that are different.

What is your Yorùbá name? Do you know the meaning? 
Have you ever made an attempt to find out what your name means?

Come here again for the sequel!!! 

 Ẹ ṣé gan-an ni

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Friday, 8 March 2013

ENTHRONING A YORÙBÁ KING (fi fi Ọba jẹ̀ ni ilẹ̀ Yorùbá)

You have read ba, the Yorùbá king and you know well who an Ọba is. But wait, do you know how one is made an ba? 

See below -
In Yorùbá land, an ba does not die, rather a king went to join the ancestors (Iruml). You don’t say ba ku (the king dies) because it is believed that kings never die, they live on the other side of life. Instead, we say, ba waja (the king ascended the throne for heaven).

Before a new king is crowned, it is a tradition never to leave a palace empty without a ruler; ba. In place of the king, an old woman (ìyá arúgbó), will serve as the ruler for a while.
However, 3 months  (où ḿta) or 6 months (où ḿfa) after the passing-on of the king into immortal realm, the Afbaj ( The King Makers) have a prominent role to play in ensuring that the right man for the throne is installed. In Ọyọ for instance, afbajẹ are the Ọyọmesi), it is ìwàràfà, ìkòrí mẹṣan, abọ́bapé and many others, from town to town.

The Afbaj informs the ruling families; ìdí̀lba to present one of their son for the throne. When someone has been chosen,  the King Makers consult Ifá so as to select the worthy man who will ease everything in the land (ba ti o máa tu ilu lára). Lyin ti wn ba ba ifa ni gbolohun tan; after consultation with Ifa, four, ḿrin or márún; five of the afbajẹ have to endorse the person selected. That is not all, the king makers approach old, wise and intelligent ones (awn àgbàgba ̀m̀ràn) for advice on the king search. 

All those that are needed to be consulted have been done, a day will be fixed for the actual coronation.

Ọjọ pe ọjọ ko; the day is here, the day has, the town is surrounded, secured by olóògun (warriors), ̀lẹ́gbẹ́ (groups) to combat party spoilers (adagboru). On this lovely morning, all important men of the family of the selected king must be present in the ààfin; palace.

The head of the afbajẹ starts by welcoming all in attendance, explain the reason for the gathering. Next, one of the warriors will step forward to the man who is to be made king, removes is fila (cap), insert the Okika leaves (ewé òkikà). Sometimes, the man might not be aware he has been selected by ifá to be the king.

Ewé òkikà has been placed on the kings head, an abẹ̀bẹ̀ (fan) will be given to the newly selected king. One of the afbaj will ask the crowd, “Nj ba yi wù nyin bi tabi ko wù nyin?” and all will answer “ó wù wá.” – “Do you all accept this man as your king”, and the people replies “we want him.”

Praise singing follows –
Kábíyesí, ki áde pẹ lorí ki bàtà pẹ l’ẹ́sẹ́...

The new king has been installed, he; ba with the Afbaj will visit an ìjòyè (chief) also known as ̀d̀fin, ísa, ̀tún ìwẹ̀fà. It is in the house of this ìjòyè that the new king will stay for 3 months; où ḿta afterwhich he goes back to the ààfin. When going back to the palace, the ba is heralded with beatings of the drum and singing from the house of the ̀d̀fin with joy and happiness for the king.

He will be washed, dressed and adorned in royal garment (wú òyè), beaded footwear; bàtà ìlẹ̀kẹ̀ as well as other things that shows the value of a Yorùbá ba.

In the ààfin, the àgbaàgba ilu (village elders) awaits the new king. Three calabash with íỳ (salt), eérú (ash), epo ati íyẹ̀pẹ̀ di (palm oil and little sand) in the each respectively. In some places, omi ati ewe odundun (water and odundun leave) will be in another calabash; igbá.

As soon, as the ba arrives the palace and he is seated, one of the ìjòyè will ask the king to open one of the igbá and what ever is in the one he opens signifies how the reign of the ba will be. Sacrifices (ètùtù) is made to appease the irúml (mother earth) so that the King will pick and open the right calabash.

If he opens the igbá íỳ, it is a good omen for the ilu because íỳ; salt symbolizes sweetness, there will not be any famine, pestilence and the likes in his regime. Eérú symbolizes a bad omen, therefore, if the ba opens the igbá eérú, there will be calamity, war etc in the ilu.

Afterwards, the ba will be excorted by the ìjòyè’s to the throne (orí ìt), with happiness for the new king, singing  -
Kabiyesi,  ba alase ekeji orisa,
Ki ade pe lori, ki bata pe lese,
Ki igba tire dara fun gbogbo wa o.”

The ba will be shown round the most important places in the ààfin to pay homage (júbà) to the ancestors before he sits on the throne, place the adé crown on his head.  Am gbogbo ba  k l ó n de  adé.  It is necessary to note, that not all ba wears a crown, a kings bead around his neck and arms (ìlẹ̀kẹ̀ ba), pa àṣ́ ìlẹ̀kẹ̀ (beaded staff of office) including all other necessities.
An inaugural speech will be made by the àlá ikéji oria to his followers, tell them what he will fix and what they will enjoy during his reign. Iwúyè  will follow, this day marks the beginning of the rule of the new king, everyone in the village will troop out en-mass to sing, dance and felicitate with their ba. Gifts, owó; money, obi; kola, salt are doled out to the king.

All is done, the king has been recognized by all in the community, the ìwúyè  is ended. The ba goes back to his gigantic domain (ààfin) to do some requisite etutu. From this day, the ba becomes the àpàṣẹ, the ikú baba yeye, ẹ̀rù-jẹ̀jẹ̀ ti mba m lẹ́ (the commander, mighty one whom everyone fears).

Have you witnessed any coronation ceremony of the Yorùbá Ọba before? 
How did it go? 
What did it look like?