It feels like your spiritual code, passed down from generation to generation.
Its your family’s , your lineage’s, ancient eulogy .
Even your Yoruba town has its own.
Our Yoruba deities have their own. It’s part of what makes you Yoruba.
Do you know yours?
Shola Ola waxes lyrical about Oriki:
The uniqueness of the Yoruba nation is very vast beyond what can be easily documented in a single scribe,because the culture and the tradition is what has been in practice for many centuries and has been passed down to many generations which makes it a perpetual heritage. One of the major traits of being a Yoruba born is Oriki,which simply means Eulogy.Oriki is a poetry praise that connects a yoruba born individual with his/her ancestors.
Oriki is so strong and spiritual that it has effect on the emotion and the behaviour of an individual when it is being uttered or sang in the form of a song to the
fellow.Oriki is a must for every child born by a Yoruba person either home and abroad.
Oriki is important for every mother giving birth to a child,because it is sang in the form of a song to a crying child,and upon hearing the Oriki the child would be calm and would stop crying.it is such a deep connection that creates special bond between a child and the parents,especially the mother.Oriki is almost magical on every individual,because its a special connection of lineage and its effects is still as potent as it used to be in the past.
Oriki varies in length depending on lineage and the clan of the individual and the past ancestors. Just as you know that the Yoruba nation is a civilized nation and has varieties in every part of its culture and tradition,so is the Oriki.Oriki varies and it is based on each family lineage and ancestral clan,which talks about the bravery act and the pedigree of their ancestors.
Just as an individual has Eulogy,so does every village,town and empire in yoruba nation.some Oriki can be in the form of a name,and some are used as surname.though most oriki that are in the form of names are cropped out from the long Oriki of the individual or clan.Oriki is the combination of the heroic act or the ancestors of an individual and it is also a means to remind an individual of the clan and lineage that the person came from and its pedigree.
Below is the enumeration some Orikis in the form of names that are cropped out from long verse or phrase of oriki.
Here are some examples of oriki in the form of names and their meanings.
- Ajoke _ a child meant to be pet and care for by all,usually a
*Anike _ born to be pampered,also a female child
*Arike – meant to be spoilt with caring upon sighting
*Abeni _ a child begged from the gods to have,also a female
*Ajani _ fought to have or give birth to a child,mainly a male
*Ariyo _ one that brings joy upon sighting,also a male child
All the above are Oriki in the form of names and can also be surname,that are cropped out from long verse of oriki. These names are usually shortened,to make it fit perfectly to be pronounced.
Town and settlement Oriki
Each town and village has it own Oriki that showcase and explains some heroics events and acts of the past,by the ancestors that once
occupied and form the settlement, that later turn to a town and a kingdom.any individual that is from Oyo town will be eulogise as OMO
OJO PA SEKERE OMO ATIBA,and someone that comes from Ilesa would be eulogised as AROGUN YO SESE, just anyone from Ogbomoso would be eulogise
as OMO SOUN OGUNLOLA OGBORI ELEMOSO,NIBI TI WON TIN JE OKA KI WON TO
MU EKO YANGAN etc.
Oriki for deities
Apart from individuals and towns,there are also Orikis for the gods in yoruba land which the eulogising are always sang or outer by the priests of each gods when performing rituals or sacrifice,or during their festival peroid.for example,OGUN god of iron is eulogise as follows,
OGUN LAKAAYE OSIN MOLE,
OLOMI NILE FEJE WE,
ONI ASO NI ILE FI IMOKIMO BORA…
SANGO god of thunder is also eulogised as follows
SANGO OLUKOSO AYARA INA,
INALOJU INA LENU…etc.each god and deity has it own oriki that are peculiar to the deity,based on its heroic acts.
Going deep,some sacred animals in yoruba land also has oriki. The hunters always specialized in this.the yoruba hunters know the orikis of this sacred animal and know how to used it to calm the animal,most especially when they encounter them in the forest and want to capture them.
Oriki is a very important part of life for every Yoruba born child,and also it is good to educate our offsprings of their oriki,for them to know them and can even put them into a trance
written By Shola Ola.
Khalid Ayanshina and Co. on the Oriki for Yorubaland below: