The Elements of the Yoruba Tradition

Beliefs. The Yoruba religion is embedded in the belief of spirits called the Orisha. According to (Abimbola, 2005) there are many Yoruba spirits, with 400-700 gods. For example, the Orisha Sango is the spirit associated with fertility and thunderstorms.  The central belief among the Yoruba is the belief in the supreme creator, the Olodumare. The gods vary depending on the religion and includes, but not limited natural features such as mountains, hills, trees and rivers. The author further notes that these gods can include heroes and heroines, who become gods after they have had great influence upon their lives. Moreover, the Yoruba religion is rooted in the belief of

Ethics. The code of behavior in the Yoruba tradition is controlled by the belief in the “Ayanmo” (destiny) (Abimbola, 2005). The destiny (Ayanmo) of an individual determines the spirit that one becomes with the supreme creator after death. The spiritual consciousness guides one’s behavior towards attaining the Orun-Rere, the spiritual realm for people who strive to do good things that benefit other people in the society.

Rituals. The Yoruba belief in Orisha is associated with many rituals (Abimbola, 2005). Although the Yoruba people engage in diverse occupations, the main ritual among all the Yoruba is the thanksgiving. The yams are considered the major offering to the spirits, before consuming them. For example, the Eje festival is conducted annually to offer yams to Malokum, the god of the sea. The offerings are also offered to the spirits and ancestors, whom the Yoruba believe to be responsible for their harvests. Similarly, the Ifa is performed using the kola nuts to allow the priest to read any influence of supernatural powers on a member of the community.


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