The Yoruba is considered as one of the largest ethnic communities in Africa having a population of approximately 30 million people (Johnson 16). The community is mostly found in countries such as Nigeria, Benin and Togo, though it is possible to find that there are some who have migrated to other countries such as the US and other destinations for immigrants. These subgroups are 20 in number and are as a result of the fact that the community had 20 kingdoms, each led by an independent king and when the kingdoms were dissolved, the communities continued to recognize themselves in that scope. Much of the economic activities conducted by this community mainly involve farming (Akintoye 29). However, due to industrialization and subsequent rapid urbanization, some of the members have migrated to urban areas in search of formal employment, but it is observed that even in these areas, the Yoruba people still engage in crop production though in a minimal scale. As with any other community in Africa and the world in general, the Yoruba’s have their own unique culture which is greatly respected and strictly followed by the members. This is despite the fact that the community is surrounded by diversity, especially in religious dimension, which has the capacity to influence and assimilate these people thereby resulting to abandonment of traditional practices (Ambibola 22). This paper will examine the Yoruba’s culture in the context of rites of passage, i.e. traditional practices conducted in defining moments such as birth, marriage and eventually, death. Birth The birth of a child is an event that is received with great joy and happiness as it involves the introduction of a new life to the world. It facilitates the continuation of a family lineage and the existence of a community, which may otherwise become extinct in the absence of new births to compensate lost lives. The Yoruba people are no different from other communities in recognizing the importance of new births. This may be the reason why every newborn child must undergo two major processes that include welcoming and naming which are celebrated in two different occasions. In these occasions, tradition demands that parties be held and in this case, Iko Omo and Isomo Loruko are the two words that are used to refer to the welcoming and the naming parties respectively (Akintoye 41). In both Iko Omo and Isomo Loruko, the family must ensure that proper planning is done as these are considered to be the most important and probably defining moments for the child’s future. Depending on the financial capability of the family, it is a requirement that food be in plenty and to achieve this, most of the people opt to slaughter a cow or a goat. Buying of new clothes is also a component of these celebrations as family members must look smart and presentable in an effort to signify their status and also to symbolize their joy for the arrival of the new born (Lawal and Sadiku 22). It may be observable that buying of new clothes during important occasions such as Christmas. It is a common practice in most of the societies and this may be interpreted to signify their celebratory mood. It is also common for parents and the family of the newborn to hire celebrities such as musicians to entertain the crowd with music. Also, when these celebrations are in progress, traffic along the streets near the venue of the celebrations may be disrupted as a result of people blocking the roads while singing and dancing such that anyone familiar with the Yoruba culture would definitely tell what is
The Yoruba Rites of Passage.
The Yoruba is considered as one of the largest ethnic communities in Africa having a population of approximately 30 million people (Johnson 16). …
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