Y is for Yoruba Youth

We are pleased to participate in the A to Z Blog Challenge (http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/). The Story Crossroads theme for this year is Dual Natures in Folktales Around the World – opposites, contradictions & paradoxes.


From Nigeria

Twins are important in the Yoruba culture. The second-born twin is actually known as the oldest twin. Taiwo is sent by the older twin, Kehinde, to experience the world and see if all is safe. The chance to be a twin are quite high in Nigeria, specifically Igbo-Ora, the highest possibility in the world! They have held twin festivals and twins are respected to the point of gifts of God and full of magical powers.

What is so fascinating? What dualities have surfaced?

Twins certainly have duality. Twins could mean that something ominous is about to happen. Yet, there is the power behind this twinship…so something glorious, too.

Thus, there is a kind of good luck/bad luck.

In the story shared, we eventually find out that one of the first people when the earth became populated was Shango. He became the Father of Twins and God of Thunder. But he was mortal first, entered the heavens, and eventually gained this power. It is quite intense. Though what about before? I find it fascinating that Oludumare had to send two sons – not at the same time – much like how twins are born. Not that they are twins…but still interesting.

50-word-or-less summary:

Oludumare created world. Sent son, Obatala. Took chicken, divination board, gelede mask. Populate! Heard drums. Followed. Festival! Became drunk. Oludumare sent second son, Oduduwa. Now Oduduwa had to populate world instead. Chicken made 16 piles of dirt – 16 kingdoms. Principal ancestor Shango, became Father of Twins/God of Thunder.

Finding the Story: 

Article called “Yoruba Customs and Beliefs Pertaining to Twins” – found here

Los Angeles Times article about Twins Bring Luck – found here

Article about Stephen Tayo who photographed many Yoruba Youth/Twins – found here

The J. Richard Simon Collection of Yoruba Twin Figures – found here

Please share thoughts in the comments. While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has year-round offerings. See quick list of programs here.

As for our past A to Z Challenges…

While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has been “dual” in our offerings of our hybrid summit & festival on May 9-12, 2022 – yes, in-person and virtual – and would be honored for you to join us. Explore the schedule and register here: http://www.storycrossroads.org/Festival

Thanks to funding from National Endowment for the Arts; National Endowment for the Humanities; Western States Arts Federation; Utah Division of Arts and Museums/Utah Legislature; Utah Humanities; Youth, Educators, Storytellers (YES); City of Murray; Zoo, Arts & Parks (ZAP) of Salt Lake County; Salt Lake City Arts Council; Clever Octopus; High Desert Brain Trust; Ashton Family Foundation; and people like you.

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