Women in the Yoruba Religious Sphere (Mcgill Studies in the by Oyeronke Olajubu

By Oyeronke Olajubu

An exploration of gender and gear kin in Yoruba religion-both Christianity and Yoruba conventional faith.

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A wrestling match symbolizing the struggle of the Igbo with the Ile-Ife people is enacted in front of the palace of Ooni, the king of Ile-Ife. On the seventh day, a goat is sacrificed to carry away the ills of the city. This goat represents Oluorogbo and his sacrifice for the well-being of the society. We may posit then, that an aggregate portrait of the woman in Yoruba history and myth presents us with an individual who is economically independent, socially active, and politically enthusiastic. Moreover, power and gender relations as presented by these sources confirm that women were not passive or oppressed but vibrant and powerful.

At no time, however, was I refused an interview by any of the informants contacted in the two religious traditions. Though repeated calls were sometimes required, eventually the interviews took place. On the whole, my field research experience was interesting, educational, and enjoyable. This page intentionally left blank. CHAPTER TWO • Women in Yoruba Culture and Society Introduction As a background for examining gender and the role of women in Yoruba religious life, I would like to provide an overview of the place and status of women in Yoruba culture and society.

This is usually arrived at during the child’s ese nta ‘ye, which is conducted on the third day after birth. On this occasion, the child’s feet are placed on the divining tray (opon ifa) on which the divining powder (iyere osun) had been sprinkled. Configuration marks are made on them in accordance with the odu that is prescribed for the child by the ifa oracle. The same odu makes known to everyone present the dos and don’ts for the child. 5 A daughter therefore possesses personal religious prescriptions as well as family and lineage religious obligations.

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