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Taboo can be directly translated to as “Eewo” in Yoruba Language (pronounced as Hey Wore). These are set of things that is forbidden and must not be done. Doing it attracts certain and impending consequences which can be grievous many times. This is why Yoruba do renders a proverb that ”A kii so wipe ki omode maa d’ete, ti o ba tile da inu igbo gbe”.

There are different types of Taboos in Yoruba Land, ranging from Socio, Cultural, Family, Moral taboos. Today, we shall be talking about one of the most dreaded common type of taboos in Yoruba Land i.e. “The Lineage Taboo”.

awon eewo idile (family taboos)Lineage Taboo can also called “Family Taboo”. These are types of things ought not to be done by people or children born of a certain family or descendants in Yoruba land. Since there’s no fire without smoke, all these taboos have what caused them one way the other, ranging from jealousy, diligence, plague, war etc. Follow me as we dive into them one after the other

Oyan and Iresi are both popular towns located in Osun State. A true indigene of either of the aforementioned towns must never drink from the waters of "Isoko River". A story behind this analyzed that; Many years ago, an Oyan born lady went to Iresi town to marry. And after a very long years of bareness, she eventually gave birth to a boy.

On a fateful day, the boy was easing himself when a dog came along and ate up the boy's private part and this led to the boy’s death. What a sad tragedy that befell this woman! She cried and wailed "Ko sí oko ni idi omo mi mo o" (translated to “my boy's manhood is gone”) "Aja ti ja oko ni'di omo mi" (the dog bitten off my boy’s manhood).

The pain and agony of this is what got the woman angry and she transformed into a river which was named “Ko-s’oko” (Since that’s what the woman was yelling when transforming to the river). Years of contraction of words “Kosoko” gave birth to the word "Isoko". And it became a taboo for anyone born in Oyan/Iresi towns to drink from that water, as it is believed they are drinking their very own flesh if they drank from it.

Anyone (females) that married to any descendants of this lineage must eat what is known as “Ate” for seven days after birthing a baby (Ate is pronounced as “Her Tel”). Ate is a process whereby food is made without salt or seasoning condiments. Documentation confirms the story behind this that; The great founding father Olu-Oje lineage was a war lord by profession. Since he was a noble man, he had many slaves in his compound. Later, he fell in love with one of his slaves and made love to her, and such motion is not welcomed by the remaining legal wives.

Few weeks later, a call arose to have needed his service to combat a war, which he went unknowingly to him that the slave had pregnant. The war lasted for several months and the slave eventually gave birth, but his husband is yet to be back. The other wives refused to associate and care for her, despite she has just given birth; the slave suffered a lot.

Fortunately for the slave, her husband came back in the sixth day of her delivery. When he saw the condition of this newly delivered wife (slave), he was annoyed that such desertion can happen to someone. He rose up immediately, full of annoyance and made a reproach that, every wife of descendant of Olu Oje lineage must suffer caring for the first seventh day of her delivery. Hence, the reason why they eat “Ate”. Ate is more like a punishment, but it is a heritage that must be preserved by the descendant of Olu Oje lineage.

Descendants of this family is permanently barred from eating pouch rat (okete). They must not eat it.

Any woman that marry from Ogburo descendant has a taboo to be kept too. Immediately the wife is pregnant, she must not touch Osun (pronounced as Hoe Soon) which is translated as Camwood in English Language.

In this family, any baby born of this descendant must have his/her hair shaved on the seventh day of birth. They use palm oil to file the blade which they will use to shave the baby’s hair. Oriki for this lineage is often said that “Aresa omo arepo pon abe”.

The children of this descendants must not eat dog meats

Any genuine descendants of this lineage is permanently barred from eating snake meat

Genuine children born of this lineage must not eat “Efo Egunmo” (This is a type of vegetable in Yoruba Land).

When a baby is born of this descendant, such baby must be made to sleep on dried grass which is made as baby couch

The children born of Oko Irese family must not be brought out to the public before the naming ceremony is held. This means, the baby and mother must be kept in an enclosed room before the official naming ceremony.

Out of these taboos, which surprises you most? Use the comment section below… 

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