What kind of taboos are in Yoruba culture?

What must you never do in Yorubaland? The taboos which exist here will shock you! Learn about them in this article and prepare before going to Yorubaland!


All people have its own cultural ways of life. The need to prevent cultural abuses has led to the establishment of cultural taboos and abominations. This is what people in the society must never do to save their community.

Yoruba culture

Every tribe in Nigeria, especially Igbos, Hausas, Ibibios, Igalas, and Bermos, have its cultural taboos. Below you will find the list of top 10 taboos of Yorubas. Read them carefully and learn what you must never do in Yorubaland.

yorubaland man

1.    Whistling at night is taboo

Yoruba people believe that whistling can invite evil spirits and demons to the houses. Therefore men and women are not allowed to sound at nights. Besides, it is believed that whistling could attract snakes and reptiles into the house.

2.    A king must never prostrate

A king is not allowed to prostrate to greet anyone in his entire live because he is considered a demi-god in Yorubaland.

A king must never prostrate

3.    Same-sex marriage is forbidden

Even though in some American and European countries same-sex marriage is legalized, in Yorubaland it is prohibited. Some men in the North were caught in the act of sexual union, but it shouldn't be practiced.

Same-sex marriage is forbidden

4.    A strapped baby must never fall dawn from mother’s back

Many new mothers strap their kids firmly to their back because it is an abomination for a child to fall from its mother’s back. It is thought that if the male baby falls, he will lose his wife when he grows up. If it happens to the female baby, she will always have a lover die atop her when she grows up.

A strapped baby must never fall dawn from mother’s back

5.    It is forbidden to eat cats, dogs, and pigs

It is considered unclear to eat cat meat, pork and dog meat. However, Ondo people will gladly consume dog meat with relish.

Adultery is taboo

READ ALSO: What are the funniest Yoruba jokes?

6.    Suicide is an abomination

Suicide is forbidden in Yorubaland, and some sacrifices must be performed to calm the gods before the dangling body is lowered down. But even in this case, the body should be buried outside the town in the evil forest. The reason is to avoid the anger of gods. The family of this person must be tainted forever in the community.

7.    Pregnant women are not allowed walk the streets in broad daylight

It means that pregnant women must never walk the streets between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. when the sun is the brightest. Yoruba people are sure that evil spirits roam the town when the sun is at its brightest. As a result, they can get into a pregnant woman, and the baby can be born deformed.

taboo for woman

8.    Adultery is taboo

Interesting to know that this taboo is more critical against women than against man. It means that it is forbidden for a married woman to commit adultery with another man who is not her husband. A man who thinks that his wife is cheating could lace her with magun. This would lead to the death of her lover.

Adultery is taboo

9.    A king must never look inside his royal crown

A king has to wear the crown, but he must never look inside of it. It is believed that he will join ancestors on the day he does this.  In Yorubaland, Kings can do this only if they insist on committing suicide.

 A king must never look inside his royal crown

10.    It is forbidden to bring the corpse of a person that drowns for burial at home

If the corpse of a person who drowns will be buried at home, it will irk the gods who may provoke the death of people without causes. In practice, it means that if the person died near the tree, the corp must be buried near the tree. If the individual passed away in the river, then his corpse should be buried near the river.

Watch entertaining video below about Yoruba culture and costumes!

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