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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

A look at Iwoye-Ketu in Ogun State, Where the Use of Umbrella is a taboo

The usage of an umbrella for rain or sun protection is frowned upon in the Iwoye-Ketu community, this tradition is traced back to the 1700s. The community is located in the Imeko/Afon Local Government Area of Ogun State, Nigeria. Although the advent of Christianity and Islam had changed a lot of the land’s customs; this particular custom has remained unwavering despite new religions.

There are eight ethnic groups in Iwoye-Ketu, namely,  Egun, Hausa, Igbo, Fulani, Igede, Ohoi and the Yorubas. The town also shares a similar history with other ancient Yoruba towns like Oyo and Ile-Ife, Osun State.

According to legend, one of the first settlers of the community called Olumu came from Ile-Ife to Iwoye-Ketu with three items; a crown, a staff called Opa Ogbo, and his deity called Orisa Oluwa. It is the deity Orisa Oluwa that does not allow the use of umbrellas in Iwoye-Ketu and Wasinmi, a smaller community Iwoye-Ketu controls. The deity also forbids the rearing of pigs because they are dirty.

Related Article: Brief history of Ira In Yoruba land 

There is also a folktale about how umbrellas came about to become prohibited. It says that the first settlers used to hunt elephants in the forests. Since elephants have big ears that are wide like an umbrella, they felt threatened by the sight of umbrellas anytime they saw hunters with them. Most times, the elephants would chase after them.

As a result, there were many vicious attacks by elephants on the hunters. The hunters consulted with the Orisa Oluwa for a possible solution to their predicament; the deity warned them against the use of umbrellas. Since then, the law had stuck and eventually became a tradition for the Iwoye-Ketu people.

However, residents can use umbrellas outside the community. Furthermore, nothing bad happens to anyone who uses the umbrella but the Iwoye-Ketu do not defy the tradition.

The people of the town resort to raincoats, woven hats, and other clothing to protect against rain or the sun.




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