Superstitions and misconceptions are found in every nook and cranny of every society around the world, in the culture, customs, religion- be it traditional or modern day religions and Yoruba society is not an exception.
The word superstition originates from Latin word ‘Superstition’ meaning ‘standing beyond, outliving’. From the general angle, people describe it to be a blindly accepted belief or notion, not based on reason or knowledge. It is also described as irrational fear of what is unknown or mysterious, especially in connection with religion, culture or custom while misconception is just mistaken view or opinion about something.
Superstitious saying in Yoruba context, outside religious issues, is mostly used by the Yorubas, to guide peoples aright, or to keep them doing what is safer. They usually put it across with fears so that it can be strictly followed. Sayings like ọmọde o kin joko lori Odo; ọmọde o kin jẹ ẹpọn ewurẹ are mere superstitious. The first one is to prevent children from contaminating the mortar because children could be unclean enough while the second one is to prevent children from being greedy while growing up. We later grow up to know that most of these Yoruba superstitious sayings are meant to guide us aright and not misconceptions or intended to mislead. Therefore, we should not castigate our fore-fathers for the sayings that could not further hold. Even, in the scientific field, it is Theory that turns to Hypothesis which later becomes Law, millions of theories have failed to become Laws while thousands of Laws have been proved wrong.
Misconception is something personal, mistaken view, idea or opinion. Misconception is also found in Yoruba society and has given birth to general belief in some aspect of life to some extent. There are some imaginary occurrences, which we hardly ever seen or experienced, but we have pictured how it should be in our mind and managed to link them with what we have around us.
Sometimes, by mere checking the album of a Yoruba movie, you can know their roles. When you see a man with one eye painted, that is Babalawo; a short man with two eyes painted and a dot on the fore head is definitely ẹbọra; a woman with full face painted is ajẹ.
Even, in the society, beautiful girls are ọmọ omi
If extremely short and slim, that is Egbere
The stubborn children are Emere
A bald man (Apari) is likely to be Oloogun
A fat, short and bald man is likely to be Olowo
If you use hand bead, that could be linked to Ogboni
Ladies with waist beads are Abiku
The list is endless, you can add your own…..
Source & Written By: Raymond Ajeigbe