Tuesday November 20, 2018

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
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  • 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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Growth Hormone Deficiency May Also Hit Healthy Children

Since he started getting these injections two years ago, Spencer has grown about 15 centimeters.

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FILE - UNICEF staff measure a girl's height to see if she is stunted in a village health clinic of South Hamgyong province, North Korea. VOA

Most healthy children between the ages of four and 10 grow about five centimeters (two inches) a year. So, one family knew something was wrong when their son fit into the same clothes, season after season. Doctors were able to get him growing once again after testing for a growth hormone.

Eleven year-old Spencer Baehman is passionate about baseball.

“My goal is to play college baseball,” Spencer said.

There was only one problem. Spencer was the shortest player on his team. It didn’t stop him from playing, but the height difference was noticeable. And it made Spencer feel different.

“I want to be as tall as these kids,” Spencer said.

At first, Spencer’s parents thought their son was just small, but gradually, they suspected something was wrong. His mom, Stephanie Baehman, became worried.

“It really set in one year coming out of winter into spring when he got out his cleats for spring baseball and he put them on, and they fit. And they never should have fit. Those were from the spring prior,” Baehman said.

Spencer’s parents set up an appointment with Dr. Bert Bachrach, the chief of pediatric endocrinology at University of Missouri Health Care. Nurses measured Spencer’s height.

After careful testing, Dr. Bachrach determined a growth hormone deficiency was causing Spencer’s growth failure. Hormones are basically chemicals that send messages from one cell to another.

“Growth hormone just doesn’t affect your growth, it affects your muscle mass and fat distribution, so that affects your cholesterol, that affects you overall, it also affects your overall sense of wellbeing,” Bachrach said.

Young Kids learning
Young Kids learning. pixabay

Growth hormone insufficiency is a disorder involving the pituitary gland which is a small, pea-sized gland located at the base of the brain. It’s this gland that produces human growth hormone, among others.

Also Read: Poor Aerobic Fitness Increases Risk of Diabetes in Kids

Every day, Spencer’s mother gives him a daily hormone injection. Since he started getting these injections two years ago, Spencer has grown about 15 centimeters (six inches). But just in case he doesn’t grow tall, he has a reminder written in each of his baseball caps.

“It says HDMH, which means height doesn’t measure heart,” Spencer read.

And heart is something Spencer has plenty of. (VOA)