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Yoruba (native name Yorúbà) is a dialect continuum of sub-Saharan Africa. The native tongue of the Yoruba people, it is spoken, among other languages, in Nigeria, Benin, and Togo and traces of it are found among communities in Brazil and Cuba (where it is called Nago). It belongs to the Benue-Congo branch of the Niger-Congo language family, and has over 22 million speakers. Yoruba is an isolating, tonal language with SVO syntax. Apart from referring to the aggregate of dialects and their speakers, the term Yoruba is used for the standard, written form of the language. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoruba_language [Jan 2005]
Yoruba mythology is sometimes claimed to be one of the world's oldest widely practised religions. It is a major religion in Africa, chiefly in Nigeria, and it has given origin to several New World religions such as Santería in Cuba and Candomblé in Brazil.
Itan is the term for the sum total of all Yoruba myths, songs, histories, and other cultural components.
Many ethnic Yoruba were enslaved and taken to Cuba, Brazil, Trinidad and the rest of the New World (chiefly in the 19th century, after the Oyo empire collapsed and the region plunged into civil war), and carried their religious beliefs with them. These concepts were combined with preexisting African-based religions, Christianity, Native American mythology, and Kardecist Spiritism into various New World lineages:
- Santería (Cuba)
- Oyotunji (USA)
- Idigene (Nigeria)
- Anago (Nigeria)
- Candomblé (Brazil)
- Umbanda (Brazil)
- Batuque (Brazil)
The popularly known Vodun religion of Haiti combines the religious beliefs of the many different African ethnic nationalities taken to the island with the structure and liturgy from the Fon-Ewe of present-day Benin and the Congo-Angolan culture area, but Yoruba-derived relgious ideology and deities also play an important role.
Yoruba deities include "Oya" (wind goddess), "Ifa" (divination or fate), "Eleda" (destiny), "Ibeji" (twins), "Osanyin" (medicines and healing) and "Osun" (goddess of fertility, protector of children and mothers), Sango (God of thunder)
Human beings and other sentient creatures are also assumed to have their own individual deity of destiny, called "Ori", who is venerated through a sculpture symbolically decorated with cowrie shells. The majority of contemporary Yorubas are Christians and Muslims, with indigenous congregations having the largest memberships among Christians. A substantial portion of the population either follows the traditional religion called Ifa or consult with the clergy of traditional diviners known as babalawo, or "Father of secrets." --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoruba [Jan 2006]
Yoruba - Latin America bridge - South America and the Carribean has eventually developed into a center for master percussionists of Afro-Caribbean rhythms
http://members.aol.com/ilebaba/adeleke/music.html Ian Scott Horst's Orishas in music http://members.aol.com/ishorst/love/Yoruba.html Yoruba religion, again Ian Scott Horst
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