Subscribe Now: RSS feed

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Ẹdìẹ Ìrànà - Heaven-Passport-Hen

Ó mà e o! - Oh, what a pity! The handiwork of the colonial masters; ara iẹ́ wọ́ àwòyìnbó amúnisìn. ò nání iìbílẹ̀ wa mọ́  - we no longer care about our traditions, we stick to foreign culture, t'òyìnbó là ń e. Many of our long, old cultural rites are long gone to western rites. 



They tell us our own is bad - dúdú ò dára, while their own is good - funfun dáa, that black is bad and white is good. They made us hate ourselves - ò níf tiwa, we are now fake humans, who do not know a thing about our real self (ò jẹ́  m Yorùbá tòótọ́  mọ́, ò m ie, ààì wa mọ́ .)

Which is one of many reasons why we find it difficult to be our real selves, and one of the many important rite in Yorùbá land is the Ẹdìẹ Ìrànà. 

So what is  Ẹdìẹ Ìrànà and what is it all about?

Ẹdìẹ Ìrànà - ẹdìẹ tí a fi ń ra ọ̀nà kọjá ní ibodè ọ̀run - Ẹdìẹ Ìrànàhen-for-clearing-the-heaven-path so that the dead can go in to heaven with ease.


"Láyé àti, ó di dandan láti pa ẹdìẹ ìrànà fún ọmọ Yorùbá tó bá kú kí ó ba lè 'ra ọ̀nà kojá níbodè ọ̀run', nítorípé Yorùbá gbàgbọ́ nínú ibodè ọ̀run, pé ẹni tí a kò pa  ẹdìẹ ìrànà fún kì í lè wọ ọ̀run, ẹnítọ̀hún á  kàn ma rìn gbéregbère ní ibodè ọ̀run ni".

It is a normal phenomenon to see Yoruba of old performing the rite when someone has died, usually done with a hen; ẹdìẹ.

Ẹdìẹ-ì-rà-ọ̀nà is compulsory, (dandan nílẹ̀ O'òduà, bí a kò pa ẹdìẹ ì-rà-ọ̀nà, ẹnítọ̀hún ò ní lè wọ ọ̀run, á kàn ma rìn gbéregbère ibodè ni) - it is believed that when someone die and the rite is not done, such person cannot have access into heaven but will wander about the boundary of heaven.  

The first son or someone from the deceased house will stand in front of the procession holding the hen in his hands, and the pall bearers comes behind him. The feather of the hen is removed gradually as they move till there are no more feathers on the hen. 

Yorùbá bọ̀, Yorùbá ní "A kì ń sin ọmọ'ba lóko a ó ru òkú rẹ̀ délé koko"- Its a taboo to bury the son of a Yorùbá  king (ọba) at the farm, outskirt or outside the boundary of the palace or village. 


Bí òkú ọmọ Yoòbá bá kú sájo àbí sí ẹ̀hìn odi. Ẹdìẹ ni ọmọ olókú yóó mú lọ́wọ́, ọ̀hún ni yóó sì wà níwájú òkú, àwọn tó gbókú, yíó máa tu ìyẹ́ ara ẹdìẹ náà tán títí ẹdìẹ yíó fi wà ní ìhòhò, á sì má fọ̀ pé "ọfẹ" "ọfẹ" lọ. 

Also, when someone died abroad and such corpse (òkú) is to be brought into the village, the Ẹdìẹ Ìrànà is always handy  to cleanse the path so that no other person will die when the body enters the village. As they move into the village, the son holding the hen will simultaneously say - "ọfẹ" "ọfẹ" - (disappear, disappeared) which indicate that someone is dead, gone into the air. 

"Bí ó bá yá, bí wọ́n bá dé ìlú, wọn yóò pa ẹdìẹ yìí wọ́n á sì ta ẹ̀jẹ̀ẹ rẹ̀ sílẹ̀, àwọn tí ń gbé òkú bọ̀ yoo sì tẹ ẹ̀jẹ̀ ẹdìẹ náà mọ́lẹ̀ kọjá wọ inú ìlú, wọ́n á sì máa kọrin lọ". 

At a point, the hen will be killed and its blood (ẹ̀jẹ̀) spilled on the ground; ilẹ̀ for the pall bearers (agbóòkú) to step on it as the enter into the village. 

Ìgbàgbọ́ ni pé kí irú rẹ̀ má ẹlẹ̀ mọ́ This is done so that the corpse won't take any other soul or be the cause of any other death in the village. It is also done to avoid repeated news of death.

Wonder what such hen is used for after the entire rite? 

A máa ń jẹ ẹdìẹ ọ̀hún gbẹ̀hìn ni lẹ́yìn tá ti tu ìyẹ́ ara rẹ̀, tí agbé òkú sì ti tẹ ẹ̀jẹ̀ẹ rẹ̀ kọjáWe do eat the hen after the feathers are gone and its blood spilled on the ground. 

In one òwe - proverb, the elders has this to say about the importance of the heaven-path-clearer-hen; ẹdìẹ ìrànà  - 
" Ẹdìẹ-ìrànà kì ńṣe ẹdìẹ àjegbé" if you are there to join in feeding on the hen, one day will come, others will also feed on yours. 

Ni àwọn àgbà fi ní;
 "Ẹdìẹ-ìrànà kì ńṣe ẹdìẹ àjegbé, 
bóo jẹ tèmi,
 elòmíràn á jẹ tì ẹ ". 


Do we still do this Yorùbá traditional rite?