Yoruba People

Yoruba People is an African ethnic found mainly in southwestern Nigeria, Togo, Benin, and outlying regions of Ghana, Upper Volta, Sierre Leone, and Ivory Coast. During the trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Yorubas were shipped to places like Brazil, Haiti, Cuba, and numerous other countries in the Americas. It is estimated the Yorubas are 60 million strong. 


Family


In the past, a  Yoruba man could have many wives, but with the spread of Christianity most men have one wife. A man is expected to support his family, and  treat his wife or wives kindly and with affection. A wife is expected to display "good character."

 It was the function of men to farm the land which was close to the family compound, and the function of women to sell produce in market. Social custom was strong against a man selling produce. Through selling at market, women could engage other enterprising business activities. Women were expected to assist in the economic activities of the household. She was expected to be an income earner. The notion of the stay at home-mom, completely dependent on her husband for support was once non-existant in Yoruba culture. 

Families typically lived in a rectangular compound with the oldest male as head of an extended family both patrilineal and patrilocal. Each wife had a her separate room. Male and female children would sleep with their mothers until maturity. At maturity, girls would sleep in the girls room and the same with mature boys, in the boys room.

Clothing


Agbada is a V-neck Yoruba robe, that extends the length of ones arm to ones feet. It is worn with trousers called sokoto, and a round cap called fila. It was traditionally made with a silken textured material sanyan. Traditionally, agbada was only worn by nobles and people of high status. 

Yoruba women are known for elaborate, brightly colored head-dress called gele. Gele is worn during weddings and other festive occassion. The head-dress is made of stiff material called ashoka is brightly colored. For full body attire, women wear iro (wrapper) at the bottom half of an attire and the buba the top half of an attire. On top of the shoulders goes the pele or iborun(shawl).

Music


Yoruba music is poly-rhythmic. It is centered around drums. Drums can reproduce the tones of Yoruba speech. Dundun is the name given to Yoruba talking drums. Dundun means means "sweet sound" in Yoruba. A dundun ensemble comprise of a iyalu(lead), gangan (the front guard), the gudugudu (the rear guard). Songs can praise the orisa or gods. Each orisa is affiliated with a rhythm. Other drums include the bata drums, omele ako, kudi. In the past to become a drummer one had to be from a drumming lineage. 

Today Yoruba music has been influence by music from the African diaspora like jazz, funk, and soul music. Juju, fuji, and highlife are all modern styles popular among Yorubas.

Yoruba Ethnics

All Yoruba claim common origin from Ile Ife. The following are Yoruba ethnics:
  1. Ife
  2. Oyo
  3. Ijebu
  4. Remo
  5. Awori
  6. Egba
  7. Ijesa
  8. Ekiti
  9. Ilaje
  10. Ondo

Yoruba Calendar


Yorubas presently use the western calendar. Before the western calendar, Yorubas used a lunar calendar. The Yoruba year begins June 3 of this year to June 2nd the following year. The traditional calendar had a 4 day week, 7 week month, and 12 month year.

4 days=1 week(traditional calendar)
7 weeks=1 month
93 weeks=1 year
12 months=1 year

DaysYoruba
SundayOjo-Aiku
MondayOko-Aje
TuesdayOjo-Ishegun 
WednesdayOjo-Riru
ThursdayOjo-Bo/Alamisi
FridayOjo-Eti
SaturdayOjo-Abameta


Time UnitsYoruba
Second n/a
Minutes isheju
Hourwakati
Dayojo
Weekose
Monthoshu
Yearodun
  


Month Yoruba
JanuarySere
FebruaryErele
MarchErena
AprilIgbe
MayEbibi
JuneOkudu
JulyAgemo 
AugustOgun
SeptemberOwere
OctoberOwaro
NovemberBelu
DecemberOpe

Yoruba Religion and Pantheon


The Yoruba Pantheon or Orisa is comprised of about 400 gods. Each god has a particular function and place in a hierarchy. Ancestor spirits occupy the lowest position in the hierarchy. Yoruba gods can have different functions and sex in different locals. In one tradition Obatala created land. But in another tradition, Oduduwa created land. Olukun in one tradition is male, in another female. Some gods are universal in the Yoruba pantheon.  


GodsDescription
Aja goddess of forest who taught the use of herbs 
Eshutrickster God 
Ibeji god of twins 
Jakuta the one who hurls stones; associated with Shango, co-creator of lightning and thunder with Shango 
Obatala king of the white cloth;creator of man; representative of Olorun on earth; founder of Ife 
OgunGod of iron, war, hunt 
OlorunOlodumare; Owner of Endless Space; Supreme God, owner of the sky
Orishala/OduduaFirst ruler of Ife, god ancestor 
Osanyin God of medicine and divining 
OlokunHe/she god of the marshes 
Shango deified fourth ruler of the city of Oyo 
Yansan god of the wind 
Yemaja goddess of Ogun River, mother goddess from whom 15 gods came to be 
  


Yoruba Numeration


The Yoruba numeration system is a vagesimal system,  based on 20.

 Number Term
 Arithmetic Expression
 1 ikan 1
 2 meji 2
 3 meta
 4 merin 4
 5 marun 5
 6 mefa 6
 7 meje 7
 8 mejo 8
 9 mesan 9
 10 mewa 10
 11 mokanla 10+1
 12 mejila 10+2
 13 metala 10+3
 14 merinla 10+4
 15 medogun -5+20
 16 merindilogun 4 from twenty
 17 metadilogun 3 from twenty
 18 mejidilogun 2 from twenty
 19 mokandilogun 1 from twenty
 20 ogun 20
 21 mokanlelogun 1 and 20
 22 mejilelogun 2 and 20
 23 metalelogun 3 and 20
 24 merinlelogun 4 and 20
 25 medogbon -5 + 30
 26 merindilogbon 4 from 30
 27 metadilogbon 3 from 30
 29 mokandilogbon 1 from 30
 30 ogbon 30
 31 mokanlelogbon 1 and 30
 32 mejilelogbon 2 and 30
 33 metalelogbon 3 and 30
 34 merinlelogbon 4 and 30
 35 marundilogoji 5 from 20* × 2*
 36 merindilogoji 4 from 20* × 2*
 37 metadilogoji 3 from 20* × 2*
 38 mejidilogoji 2 from 20* × 2*
 39 mokandilogoji 1 from 20* × 2*
 40 ogoji 20* × 2*
 41 mokanlelogoji 1 and 20* × 2*
 42 mejilelogoji 2 and 20* × 2*
 43 metalelogoji 3 and 20* × 2*
 44 merinlelogoji 4 and 20* × 2*
 45 marundiladota 5 from 50
 46 merindiladota 4 from 50
 47 metadiladota 3 from 50
 48 mejidiladota 2 from 50
 49 mokandiladota 1 from 50
 50 adota 50
 51 mokanleladota 1 and 50
 52 mejileladota 2 and 50
 53 metaleladota 3 and 50
 54 merinleladota 4 and 50
 55 marundilogota 5 from 20* × 3*
 56 merindilogota 4 from 20* × 3*
 57 metadilogota 3 from 20* × 3*
 58 mejidilogota 2 from 20* × 3*
 59 mokandilogota 1 from 20* × 3*
 60 ogota 20* × 3*
 61 mokanlelogota1 and 20* × 3*
 62 mejilelogota 2 and 20* × 3*
 63 metalelogota 3 and 20* × 3*
 64 merinlelogota 4 and 20* × 3*
 65 marundiladorin 3 from 70
 66 merindiladorin 4 from 70
 67 metadiladorin 3 from 70
 68 mejidiladorin 2 from 70
 69 mokandiladorin 1 from 70
 70 adorin 70
 71 mokanleladorin 1 and 70
 72 mejileladorin 2 and 70
 73 metaleladorin 3 and 70
 74 merinleladorin 4 and 70
 75 marundilogorin 5 from 20* × 4*
 76 merindilogorin 4 from 20* × 4*
 77 metadilogorin 3 from 20* × 4*
 78 mejidilogorin 2 from 20* × 4*
 79 mokandilogorin 1 from 20* × 4*
 80 ogorin 20* × 4*
 81 mokanlelogorin 1 and 20* × 4*
 82 mejilelogorin 2 and 20* × 4*
 83 metalelogorin 3 and 20* × 4*
 84 merinlelogorin 4 and 20* × 4*
 85 marundiladorun 5 from 90
 86 merindiladorun 4 from 90
 87 metadiladorun 3 from 90
 88 mejidiladorun 3 from 90
 89 mokandiladoru 1 from 90
 90 adorun 90
 91 mokanleladorun 1 and 90
 92 mejileladorun 2 and 90
 94 merinleladorun 4 and 90
 95 marundilogorun 5 from 20* × 5*
 96 merindilogorun 4 from 20* × 5*
 97 metadilogorun 3 from 20* × 5*
 98 mejidilogorun 2 from 20* × 5*
 99 mokandilogorun 1 from 20* × 5*
 100 ogorun 20* × 5*
 200 ogorun meji (20* × 5*) × 2
 300 ogorun meta (20* × 5*) × 3
 400 ogorun merin (20* × 5*) × 4
 500 ogorun marun (20* × 5*) × 5
 600 ogorun mefa (20* × 5*) × 6
 700 ogorun meje (20* × 5*) × 7
 800 ogorun mejo (20* × 5*) × 8
 900 ogorun mesan (20* × 5*) × 9
 1000 egberun 1000



Works Cited

The Yoruba In Trinidad. <http://sta.uwi.edu/stan/article6.asp>

The Yoruba Family.  < http://archive.unu.edu/unupress/unupbooks/uu13se/uu13se0e.htm >

<http://plc.sas.upenn.edu/yoruba>

Yorupedia.com