Tuesday July 23, 2019

Find Out: Taboos still exist about Yoruba Land Culture and Tradition

Located in West Africa, Yorubaland is a country of traditions and beliefs. In the community of Yoruba, various taboos exist.

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Yoruba drumming ensemble. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
  • Taboos are developed so that there is peace and order in the society
  • The king is given the status of a demigod in the lands of Yoruba
  • Whistling attracts reptiles like snakes into the house

In order to maintain the society in acceptable ways, various practices are collectively looked down upon by the people. Taboos are developed so that there is peace and order in the society. All the communities in this world have their own social practices, customs, values and taboos. The various taboos that exist in the Yorubaland of West Africa are listed below.

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(i) Same-sex marriage is prohibited

People of Yorubaland do not practise same sex marriages. There have been instances where people have been caught in the act of sexual union of the same gender, in the northern parts of the country.  However, such an act is seen as a disgrace in this community and is prohibited.

(ii) Children should never look into the eyes of the elders when they are being rebuked 

It is seen as a sign of disrespect. Also, by not looking at the elder’s face, they are showing fear and respect for the elder.

(iii) Bare hands should not be used for collecting rain water

This is done to ensure accidents caused due to thunder are reduced. However, this taboo is hard to explain scientifically.

(iv) Ladies should not wear men’s clothing

This is especially relevant to trousers. It is based on traditional superstitions. This was enforced so that sanitation could be introduced in women’s dressing culture.

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(v) Pregnant women should not walk in the streets in the afternoon

It is believed that evil spirits roam the earth when the sun is at its brightest, from 12-3 p.m. If the pregnant women go to markets or streams during this time of the day, these evil spirits will enter her body, leading to the birth of deformed babies.

Map of Yorubaland, Africa. Wikimedia Commoms
Map of Yorubaland, Africa. Wikimedia Commoms

(vi) Kings of the land should not peer into their crowns

If they do so, it is believed that they will join their ancestors. However, kings who insist on committing suicide can be allowed to look into the insides of their crowns.

(vii) Whistling at night is not allowed

This practice is forbidden in Yorubaland. It is believed that whistling at night acts as an invitation for the evil spirits and demons to enter the houses of people to torment them. It also attracts reptiles like snakes into the house.

(viii) Suicide is considered an abomination

In Yorubaland, a dangling corpse is not lowered, until certain rituals are performed. Also, this body will only be buried in the evil forest and the outskirts of the town, to avoid the wrath of their gods. The family of such an individual becomes tainted in the society.

(ix) A king must never prostrate again

The king is given the status of a demigod and is required to never prostrate in front of anyone.

(x) People avoid eating meats of dogs, cats and pigs

It is considered an abomination to consume the meats of dogs, cats and pigs. However, the people of the Yoruba tribe consume African rabbit and the members of the Ondo tribe consume dog meat.

-By Devika Todi, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: devika_todi

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Flawed Facebook App Let Children Chat with Strangers: Report

Instead, the social media giant said it would focus more on its Messenger Kids service

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FILE - Attendees walk past a Facebook logo during Facebook Inc's F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, United States. VOA
Facebook has admitted a design flaw in its Messenger Kids Service that exposed thousands of children on group chats with unauthorised users.
According to a report in The Verge on Tuesday, the design flaw “allowed users to sidestep that protection through the group chat system, thereby letting children to enter group chats with unapproved strangers”.
The social networking platform introduced Messenger Kids in 2017 and is aimed at kids under 13 years of age. Despite call for withdrawal by experts, Facebook said a “technical error” was behind the problem in group chat. Facebook sent notification to parents, saying it has disabled the group chats in cases where the flaw was detected.
“We recently notified some parents of Messenger Kids account users about a technical error that we detected affecting a small number of group chats,” a Facebook spokesperson was quoted as saying.
“We turned off the affected chats and provided parents with additional resources on Messenger Kids and online safety,” the company added.
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FILE – In this April 30, 2019, file photo, Facebook stickers are laid out on a table at F8, Facebook’s developer conference in San Jose, Calif. VOA
Messenger Kids is a video chat and messaging app designed for kids to communicate with family and close friends that parents or caregivers approve.
Parents set up and manage their child’s Messenger Kids account through their own Facebook account.
It is unclear how long the bug was present in the app’s group chat feature. Last year, more than 100 child health experts wrote an open letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, urging him to discontinue the Messenger Kids app.
“At a time when there is mounting concern about how social media use affects the well being of adolescents, it is particularly irresponsible to encourage children as young as pre-schoolers to start using a Facebook product,” the authors wrote.
Facing the flak from lawmakers and experts, Facebook in February this year decided not to build a new app called “LOL” to let children share and post humorous meme content. Instead, the social media giant said it would focus more on its Messenger Kids service. (IANS)