What is the meaning of "Oriki" and what can we call "Oriki" in English?
Oriki is a kind of Yoruba literary genre used to inspire people. It is usually in the form of poetry, consisting of songs of praise. Oriki can also take the name form as...
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Yoruba Language and culture is quite enduring and deep, evidence by the fact that close to two hundred years after slavery the culture and language survives in some parts of the Americas. In 1977 a lady came from Brazil performed the Sango ritual ceremony almost exactly to the letter as is still being practised in Western Nigeria till today. Susan Wenger a Caucasian Austrian came to study Yoruba Traditional religion and mythology (for her dissertation) more than 50 years ago and ended up never returning to Austria but became the high priestess of the Osun Diety in Osogbo after many years of understudy at the shrine of the diety.
Oriki element of Yoruba Culture serves the following purposes:
1. Poetry and Entertainment
2. Means of Identity (you must know your Oriki) as it proves what part of Yorubaland right to the household you are from. Tribal marks also in conjunction serves the same purpose. From looking at your tribal mark anybody will know the town you are from.
3. History and means of establishing and understanding your ancestry. It tells the weakness and the strengths of your ancestors and forebears and could give an insight to a) Family traits and behaviour b) past achievements c) health issues d) Antecedents, family migration patterns and family ties to other towns and villages in Yoruba land
4. Spirituality: The Yorubas believe that the Oriki and knowledge of it has a spiritual essence. It is believed that a person who does not know his Oriki loses his spiritual essence. There was a story of a young man who would always fight and create all kinds of problems. Investigation was conducted into his Oriki and it was discovered that his forebears were warriors and it was their nature and destiny to fight wars. Unfortunately he lived in a generation where there were no wars. His problem was solved by involving him in combat sports. In another case a young man who was usually troublesome with a terrible, fierce and temper that does not easily subside, often times the Oriki specialist would be called to calm him down. As soon as the woman would appear from distance chanting his Oriki and some other words his temper would immediately begin to subside. The Oriki is viewed as a spiritual channel of transmitting the collective consciousness of ancestors to children of the next generation.
Each child at birth is given a prefix Oriki in additional to his names which like the Spanish could be several names. This prefix is then added to the established immediate family Oriki followed by the extended family narrative which is then to the town Oriki narrative
ORIKI HAS NO EQUIVALENT IN ENGLISH: It is tied to the whole culture and world view of the Yorubas