Cultures and TraditionsYoruba

Oriki Ibeji (Yoruba Twins Panegyric) and its English Translation

Oriki Ibeji (Yoruba Twins Panegyric)
Identical twins Taiwo Adejare and Kehinde Adejare pose for a picture in Igbo Ora, Oyo State, Nigeria April 4, 2019. Picture taken April 4, 2019. REUTERS/AFOLABI SOTUNDE

The Yoruba people of Western Nigeria are known to have a very high birth rate of twins known as ibeji in their language.

In the Yoruba culture, twins are revered and given a godlike treatment. Below is the oriki ibeji (Yoruba twins panegyric) and its translation in English.

Oriki Ibeji

Ẹ̀jìrẹ́ ará Ìṣokún,
Ẹdúnjobí, ọmọ ẹdun tíí ṣeré orí igi.
Ó-bẹ́-kẹ́ṣé-bẹ́-kàṣà,
Ó fẹsẹ̀ méjèèjì bẹ sílé alákìísa;
Ó sọ alákìísà donígba aṣọ.
Gbajúmọ̀ ọmọ tíí gbàkúnlẹ̀ ìyá,
Tíí gbàdọ̀bálẹ̀ lọ́wọ́ baba tó bí í lọ́mọ.
Wínrinwínrin lójú orogún
Ejìwọ̀rọ̀ lojú ìyá ẹ̀.
Tani yo bi ibeji ko n’owo?

Translation in English

Twins, natives of Isokun,
relatives of the colobus monkey
playing and having fun on a tree.
You jumped up and down,
you landed in a wretched man’s home
and turned him to a wealthy man.
Revered set of children that commands undue honour and respect from their parents.
You are a horrible sight to your stepmother,
But to your mother, you are both emperors of two empires!
Wouldn’t you love to be parents to twins ?

Cite this article as: Teslim Omipidan. (November 2, 2019). Oriki Ibeji (Yoruba Twins Panegyric) and its English Translation. OldNaija. Retrieved from https://oldnaija.com/2019/11/02/oriki-ibeji-yoruba-twins-panegyric-and-its-english-translation/

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