LOCATION: West Africa (primarily Nigeria; also Benin and Togo)

POPULATION: 53 million


Language Classification: Yoruboid

1. RELIGION: Ancestral religion; Islam; Christianity


The Yoruba are among the biggest African ethnic groups south of the Sahara Desert. They are, in reality, not a single group, but rather a collection of diverse individuals bound together by a common language, history, and culture. Within Nigeria, the Yoruba dominate the western part of the nation. Yoruba mythology holds that all Yoruba people came down from a hero called Odua or Oduduwa. Today there are over fifty people who claim kingship as descendants of Odua.

In numerous parts of the Caribbean and South America, Yoruba religion has actually been combined with Christianity. In 1893, the Yoruba kingdoms in Nigeria ended up being part of the Protectorate of Great Britain. Until 1960 Nigeria was a British nest and the Yoruba were British subjects.

2. Location


The Yoruba homeland lies in west Africa. It stretches from a savanna (meadow) region in the north to a region of rain forest in the south. The majority of Yoruba reside in Nigeria. Nevertheless there are also some scattered groups in Benin and Togo, little countries to the west of Nigeria. The professions and living conditions of the Yoruba in the north and south differ sharply.

Current census figures are hard to obtain. The Yoruba population is estimated to be 53 million.


The Yoruba language belongs to the Congo-Kordofanian language household. Yoruba has numerous dialects, but its speakers can all comprehend each other.

Yoruba is a tonal language. The exact same combination of consonants and vowels has various significances depending upon the pitch of the vowels (whether they are pronounced with a low voice or a high voice). The exact same word, aro, can imply cymbal, indigo color, lamentation, and granary, depending on intonation. Pele o is “Hey there”; Bawo ni? is “How are you?”; and Dada ni is “Fine, thank you.”.



According to a Yoruba creation misconception, the deities (gods) originally resided in the sky with only water below them. Olorun, the Sky God, offered to Orishala, the God of Brightness, a chain, a bit of earth in a snail shell, and a five-toed chicken. He informed Orishala to go down and create the earth. Orishala approached the gate of heaven. He saw some divine beings having a party and he stopped to greet them. They offered him palm wine and he consumed too much and went to sleep. Odua, his younger sibling, saw Orishala resting. He took the products and went to the edge of heaven, accompanied by Chameleon. He let down the chain and they climbed up down it. Odua threw the piece of earth on the water and positioned the five-toed chicken upon it. The chicken began to scratch the earth, spreading it in all directions. After Chameleon had checked the firmness of the earth, Odua stepped down. A sacred grove exists today.



As many as 20 percent of the Yoruba still exercise the traditional faiths of their forefathers.

A divine being (god) might be male in one town and woman in another. Yoruba standard religious beliefs holds that there is one supreme being and hundreds of orisha, or small divine beings.

Olorun (Sky God) is the high god, the Developer. Followers in the Yoruba religion turn to Ifa in times of difficulty. In Yoruba courts, individuals who follow conventional beliefs swear to give genuine statement by kissing a machete spiritual to Ogun.

Shango (also spelled Sango and Sagoe) is the deity that produces thunder. The Yoruba believe that when thunder and lightning strike, Shango has actually tossed a thunderstone to earth. After a thunderstorm, Yoruba spiritual leaders search the ground for the thunderstone, which is thought to have unique powers. The stones are housed in shrines committed to Shango. Shango has four better halves, each representing a river in Nigeria.

The Yoruba who practice other spiritual are divided about uniformly between Muslims (followers of Islam) and Christians. Almost all Yoruba still observe annual celebrations and other conventional religious practices.


Regional festivals are normally devoted to individual deities. Yoruba may also commemorate the following vacations, depending on whether they are Christians or Muslims: New Year’s Day, January; Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice), June or July; Easter, March or April; Maulid an-Nabi (Muhammad’s birthday); Ramadan, followed by a three-day feast; Nigerian Independence Day (October); Eid al-Fitr; Christmas (December).


Yoruba Burial Rite

A newborn infant is sprayed with water making it cry. No word may be spoken until the baby weeps. Likewise, nobody more youthful than the mom must exist at the birth. The infant then is brought to the yard. The umbilical cord is bound securely with thread and after that cut. The placenta is buried in the backyard. On the placenta burial spot, the youngster is bathed with a loofah sponge and rubbed with palm oil. The youngster is held by the feet and offered 3 shakes to make it strong and brave. After a defined number of days, a naming event is held. Family members participate in and bring small amounts of cash. Male and female circumcision are typically performed in the very first month.

If he is authorized he must bring the household a payment called a bride wealth, paid in three installations. There she is cleaned from foot to knee with a herbal mixture meant to bring her numerous children. For the very first eight days after marriage she divides her time in between her spouse’s and in her father and mothers’ compounds.

Burials are carried out by the adult males who are not close loved ones however belong to the clan of the deceased. Numerous of the rituals associated with burial are planned to insure that the deceased will be reborn again.



Best friends are very crucial. When approaching death, a Yoruba shares his last desires with his finest good friend.

Crucial are clubs that grow out of youth associations. When a group of young good friends begins spending time together, they form a club.


Conventional substances (which home clans) in Yoruba villages are made up of rectangular yards, each with a single entryway. Around each yard is an open or a partly confined porch. Here the females sit, weave, and cook. Behind this are the rooms of each adult. Today the old compounds are quickly being replaced by contemporary cottages made of cement blocks with corrugated iron roofings. A lot of Yoruba towns, even small ones, have sufficient basic services, consisting of electrical power, running water, and paved roadways.


Every Yoruba is born into a clan whose members are come down from a typical forefather. Descent is patrilineal– both daughters and boys are born into the clan of their father. Clan members reside in a big domestic area called a compound. The males are born, married, and buried in it. Women reside in the compound of their birth up until they wed. They go to live with their spouses. The eldest male, or Bale, is the head of the substance. A husband is liable for settling quarrels within his own family. However, if he is not successful or if an argument involves members of 2 various families, it is referred to the Bale.

Within the compound, the immediate household consists of a man, his spouses, and their kids. The Yoruba practice polygyny (having more than one other half). Each spouse and her kids are considered a sub-family. They have a different living room within the spouse’s and they share properties. Each mother cooks for her own children just. A guy is expected to deal with each better half similarly. Spouses compete to acquire added favors for their own children. The father is stringent and far-off. Commonly, he sees little of his children. When they are young, children of co-wives play together. As they grow older, they typically grow apart due to the fact that of quarrels over properties.


Western-style gown is worn in metropolitan areas. Conventional clothes is still used on important celebrations and in backwoods. It is extremely vibrant and fancy. Conventional fabrics were block printed with geometric designs. Women wear a head tie made from a rectangular piece of material. They carry children or children on their backs by tying another rectangular cloth around their the waists. A 3rd fabric might be worn over the shoulder as a shawl over a loose-fitting, short-sleeved blouse. A larger fabric works as a wrap-around skirt.

12 – FOODIMG_20150902_105516

The Yoruba diet includes starchy tubers, grains, and plantains. These are supplemented by vegetable oils, wild and cultivated veggies and fruits, meat, and fish. The everyday household diet relies on cassava, taro, maize, beans, and plantains. Among the most popular foods is fufu (or foo-foo ), just like a dumpling, however made from cassava (white yams). Rice and yams are eaten on special events.

The dishes are incredibly popular and are generally served together.

15 – WORK
17 – ENTERTAINMENT 18 – HOBBIES and crafts

There are large differences in wealth among Yoruba of different social classes. Numerous urban occupations do not offer adequate salaries to support a household.

Nigeria’s human rights record is poor. A Yoruba, Olisa Agbakobe, led a group of attorneys that established the human rights group, the Civil Liberties Company (CLO).

The criminal activity rate in Nigeria is high, specifically in Lagos, Ibadan, Abeokuta, and other city areas. Young people are using both marijuana and drug in increasing numbers.