The Yoruba are an ethnic group of southwestern Nigeria and southern Benin in West Africa who share a rich history and culture.
Here are eight interesting facts about the traditional Yoruba culture:
1. According to Yoruba mythology, all Yoruba people are descendants from the hero Odua or Oduduwa.
2. The language of the Yorubas, known as Yoruba, belongs to the Congo-Kordofanian language family. The language has many dialects, but most of its speakers are able to understand each other.
3. The Yoruba homeland is located in west Africa, with most Yoruba living in Nigeria. There are also some scattered groups in small neighbouring countries, Togo and Benin.
4. The Yoruba are one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa.
5. The Yoruba are a very sociable and expressive people who commemorate major events with colorful festivals and celebrations. Weddings, naming ceremonies, funerals and even housewarming parties are celebrated in a lavish and ceremonial nature.
6. As many as 20 percent of the Yoruba still practice the traditional religion of their ancestors. A large number of modern Yoruba also combine traditional Yoruba beliefs with modern day religions such as Islam and Christianity.
7. About 75 percent of the Yoruba men are farmers, producing food crops for their domestic needs. Women help plant yams and harvest corn, beans, and cotton.
8. The Yoruba present the highest rate of twin births in the world. This may be because of high consumption of a specific type of yam containing a natural phytoestrogen which may stimulate the ovaries to release an egg from each side. Twins are very important for the Yoruba; they are given special names and inspire wooden sculptures.