Ìbejì: Yorùbá Twins Belief System

Twins are called “Ìbejì/Èjìrẹ́” in Yorùbá Language.

According to the Yorùbá belief, they are a unique pair of children. They are believed to bring so much joy and goodness to their family. They are also seen as blessing and joy. Yorùbá parents cook beans which is popularly known as “Ẹ̀wà Ìbejì” to celebrate/venerate them.

The first child amongst the two of them is called Táíwò while the second one is known as Kẹ́hìndé.
Kẹ́hìndé is believed to be the eldest; the reason for this is that Taiwo is sent by Kẹ́hìndé to judge if the world is fit and beautiful before he/she descends.

According to the Yorùbá belief when one of the twins fall ill, the mother is expected to visit the Òrìṣà Ìbejì shrine and use palm oil found there to rub the body of the sick one. If one of the twins dies, the family makes a wooden doll replica “Ère Ìbejì” of the deceased twin so that the remaining one will not try to follow. This sculpture is beloved as if the child is alive. It is fed, bathed, dressed, and involved in rituals.

It is believed amongst the Ìbàràpá that the okra leaf soup “Ọbẹ̀ Ìlasa” has its benefits when it comes to the issue of twins.

Igbó-Ọrà is considered the twin capital of the world. The community has the highest birth rate of twins and they usually hold an annual festival to celebrate the twins.

Till today, twins are highly desired by men and they are always celebrated.

Festival Video Credit: @ntanetwork

Panegyric: @iya_yoruba