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Prostration Among The Yoruba And The Israelites - Culture - Nairaland

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Prostration Among The Yoruba And The Israelites by amor4ce(m): 9:42pm On Oct 21, 2011
Deeply ingrained within the tradition of the Yoruba people of West Africa is the unique way of greeting elders and the Oba (King) by the males, commonly known as prostration (doba’le).

This is a posture that involves falling flat on one’s face as a sign of respect and worship. It has been a peculiar part of the culture that any male that does not practice it when considered necessary is seen as very disrespectful and having shameful character and morals. The origin and reason may have been forgotten with time or perhaps one has to look at the root of the word doba’le and/or search deep within the Ifa literary corpus to shed more light on it. However, the practice is being watered down as a result of the introduction of the handshake that was introduced by European colonialists. Personally, I consider handshakes to be a candidate for consideration as a public health nuisance. Prostration is still observed by some Yoruba Christians during prayer and worship which he considers as normal instead of during special occasions, and in deference to an Oba. For females the greeting, also known as ikun’le, is done by bowing on one or both knees.


Interestingly, the Bible mentions many incidents in which greeting, deference and worship involved a similar or exact style of prostration. There are probably over a hundred verses from Genesis to Revelations where it is mentioned either as prostrate or fall on the face or bow to the earth or even worship.

However, it seems the people who call themselves Jews today and occupy the land of Israel only prostrate during prayer and worship while some do it on certain days. I am yet to come across any mention of the practice being associated with other activities like greeting elders including their priests, and non-religious events like weddings. Could the reason be that they are not the descendants of Jacob and thus it was alien to them when they adopted Judaism?

Furthermore, it appears that prostration is alien to the Igbo culture of which some of her people have claimed to have descended from the Jews – the tribe of Gad. Some have looked down on the Yoruba for posturing thus in showing respect for elders. If they look with scorn at those who prostrate then it may mean treat Abraham, Jacob, Moses, the prophets and so on thus.

I have more questions like
(1)Are there any other groups of people within the Niger-Congo and Afro-Asiatic language families that practice prostration as part of daily life like the Yoruba?
(2)Did the Lemba, Ethiopians, Nubians and original Egyptians prostrate likewise?
Re: Prostration Among The Yoruba And The Israelites by chikeuz(m): 10:15pm On Oct 21, 2011
i don't know if any other tribe does that, but the fact that Abraham, Jacob, and the like did it, doesn't make it any *chic-er* than it is, i dread to think of the fate of a white cloth in that affair
Re: Prostration Among The Yoruba And The Israelites by mbatuku1: 12:07am On Oct 24, 2011
I dont understand the reason for the comparison with Igbos.

Prostrating to greet is alien to all cultures in Nigeria except yoruba.

Do Hausas also prostrate to greet?

Even the culture of prostrating and kneeling to greet is slowly dying in yorubaland. Most moderns aren't in tune with the practice, and it's now been relegated to ceremonial occasions.
Re: Prostration Among The Yoruba And The Israelites by lakal(m): 2:49am On Oct 24, 2011
Urhobos kneel to greet. I've heard even some Anioma people do too.
Re: Prostration Among The Yoruba And The Israelites by mbatuku1: 6:59am On Oct 24, 2011
lakal:

Urhobos kneel to greet. I've heard even some Anioma people do too.

We are talking about prostrating here, I think. Even Yorubas themselves are getting ashamed of it. It's becoming an uncommon practice. It just doesn't make sense in a modern world, and people are adjusting to that subconsciously.
Re: Prostration Among The Yoruba And The Israelites by Nobody: 7:02am On Oct 24, 2011
mbatuku1:

We are talking about prostrating here, I think. Even Yorubas themselves are getting ashamed of it. It's becoming an uncommon practice. It just doesn't make sense in a modern world, and people are adjusting to that subconsciously.

Which ones? Stop making lies up, dear.
Yorubas still prostrate, some do half way, others do full way. Depends on where you're from and the occasion, really.
Makes sense in modern world, because in the region opposite the SW, the world has gone to the dogs. No sense of respect.
Re: Prostration Among The Yoruba And The Israelites by mbatuku1: 1:19pm On Oct 24, 2011
Ileke-IdI:

Which ones? Stop making lies up, dear.
Yorubas still prostrate, some do half way, others do full way. Depends on where you're from and the occasion, really.
Makes sense in modern world, because in the region opposite the SW, the world has gone to the dogs. No sense of respect.

No one is prostrating again, maybe in your Ekiti village. From my growing up days in the city of Lag nothing like that.

Ofcourse, it make no sense in a modern world. It was cool when people were primitive and wore rags. I just cant imagine soiling my clothes because I want to greet. Those who are sincere to themselves(not an ignoramus/liar like you) know that the prostrating thing is a thing of the past.

Anyway, you do not have to always compare every problem you have in yorubaland to east of the Niger, ok?

Yes, Igbo dont prostrate to greet people, so do many other people. No biggie about that. I do not have to tell you that prostrating does not equal to respect. In my own neck of the woods, the youths are very respectful to their elders and hold an older person in high esteem. Occasional cases of disrespect by unruly youths are usually handled by the council of elders, with certain fines imposed on the convicted.

You dont know something, do not talk about it.
Re: Prostration Among The Yoruba And The Israelites by Privy(m): 8:39pm On Oct 24, 2011
For those that find it strange, all u need to know is that culture differs from place to place and it's neither strange nor absurd so long as it is accepted by those that practice it (since it's neither illegal nor inhuman).

The Yorubas place a very high premium on showing respect to elders (not just the aged but everyone who is older than one is). This is the significance of prostrating and kneeling when greeting and in some other situations too. I strongly believe that it has nothing to do with Isreal or biblical cultures/religion.
Re: Prostration Among The Yoruba And The Israelites by Nobody: 9:34pm On Oct 24, 2011
mbatuku1:

No one is prostrating again, maybe in your Ekiti village. From my growing up days in the city of Lag nothing like that.

Ofcourse, it make no sense in a modern world. It was cool when people were primitive and wore rags. I just cant imagine soiling my clothes because I want to greet. Those who are sincere to themselves(not an ignoramus/liar like you) know that the prostrating thing is a thing of the past.

Anyway, you do not have to always compare every problem you have in yorubaland to east of the Niger, ok?

Yes, Igbo dont prostrate to greet people, so do many other people. No biggie about that. I do not have to tell you that prostrating does not equal to respect. In my own neck of the woods, the youths are very respectful to their elders and hold an older person in high esteem. Occasional cases of disrespect by unruly youths are usually handled by the council of elders, with certain fines imposed on the convicted.

You dont know something, do not talk about it.


Subjective opinion from an outsider. And to make it worst, one who hates anything Yoruba.

People still prostrate in this modern world to sow respect in a modern world where respect is not valued anymore. Yorubas and Yoruba descendants still value and practice Yoruba culture. Prostration is a must in Yorubaland, still goes on.
Re: Prostration Among The Yoruba And The Israelites by tpia5: 9:36pm On Oct 24, 2011
I think most cultures in the world have some things in common.

A lot of african cultures have semitic tones which some prefer to call jewish while others prefer arab.

Ibn batuta reported visitors to the king either of songhai or mali empire, as having to lie flat (maybe) and pour sand on their heads when in the presence of the sovereign.

So, all these things arent new to africa.
Re: Prostration Among The Yoruba And The Israelites by mbatuku1: 10:31pm On Oct 24, 2011
Ileke-IdI:

Subjective opinion from an outsider. And to make it worst, one who hates anything Yoruba.

People still prostrate in this modern world to sow respect in a modern world where respect is not valued anymore. Yorubas and Yoruba descendants still value and practice Yoruba culture. Prostration is a must in Yorubaland, still goes on.

@ bolded. You are so wrong, dear. Just have a problem with the arrogance and superiority complex exuded most times.

Well, I'm simply stated what I see and observe. I have no stake in all of this.

P.S: You're looking pretty on FB. Good job on the weight loss. wink wink
Re: Prostration Among The Yoruba And The Israelites by Nobody: 11:02pm On Oct 24, 2011
mbatuku1:

@ bolded. You are so wrong, dear. Just have a problem with the arrogance and superiority complex exuded most times.

Well, I'm simply stated what I see and observe. I have no stake in all of this.

P.S: You're looking pretty on FB. Good job on the weight loss. wink wink

What does prostration have to do with arrogance and superiority complex?
The day I dont "kunle" for my mom when greeting her is the day i'M BEGGING FOR A SOUND SLAP. Even at old age, my mom still prostrates to her elders and her oldest sister. undecided

Seriously, how are you ppl getting my FB info, I have blocked everything, still. undecided I told you I was never fat, even if you wish it cool
Re: Prostration Among The Yoruba And The Israelites by mbatuku1: 11:12pm On Oct 24, 2011
tpia@:

I think most cultures in the world have some things in common.

A lot of african cultures have semitic tones which some prefer to call jewish while others prefer arab.

Ibn batuta reported visitors to the king either of songhai or mali empire, as having to lie flat (maybe) and pour sand on their heads when in the presence of the sovereign.

So, all these things arent new to africa.


It's possible that Ibn batuta observed some form of prostration/genuflection in the East, but it's unlikely they involved laying flat(more like the one done by muslims when praying).
Re: Prostration Among The Yoruba And The Israelites by mbatuku1: 11:16pm On Oct 24, 2011
Ileke-IdI:

What does prostration have to do with arrogance and superiority complex?
The day I dont "kunle" for my mom when greeting her is the day i'M BEGGING FOR A SOUND SLAP. Even at old age, my mom still prostrates to her elders and her oldest sister. undecided

Seriously, how are you ppl getting my FB info, I have blocked everything, still. undecided I told you I was never fat, even if you wish it cool

lol. I just came across it again by accident.

I just lying. You're still ugly and fat.
Re: Prostration Among The Yoruba And The Israelites by Nobody: 11:18pm On Oct 24, 2011
mbatuku1:

lol. I just came across it again by accident.

I just lying. You're still ugly and fat.

Thanks very flattering cheesy More like it

Now why does prostration bother you? Because it's a Yoruba practice? What is up with the superiority complex - inferiority complex that's bothering you?
Re: Prostration Among The Yoruba And The Israelites by mbatuku1: 11:35pm On Oct 24, 2011
Ileke-IdI:

Thanks very flattering cheesy More like it

Now why does prostration bother you? Because it's a Yoruba practice? What is up with the superiority complex - inferiority complex that's bothering you?

www.nairaland.com/nigeria/topic-785746.0.html
Re: Prostration Among The Yoruba And The Israelites by Nobody: 12:14am On Oct 25, 2011
mbatuku1:

www.nairaland.com/nigeria/topic-785746.0.html

A thread on NL is what you use to support your opinion? From your site:

As long as I want to avoid tribalism on any issue but I cannot help on this. I believe the Yoruba folks gives more respect to their elders compare with other tribes in Nigeria. Just a thought anyway. What is your view on this?

Obviously so. Prostration is one way to show respect in Yorubaland, still full intact.
Re: Prostration Among The Yoruba And The Israelites by mafolayomi(f): 5:35pm On Oct 25, 2011
grin grin it is still very much in practice o, infact if you dont do it well, u can be corrected and ask to do it again. i wont only kneel down to greet those that ar not yorubas cos dey wont know d meaning/value. i have once tried it with my FIL b4 marriage, and he told me he is not God, so since den i never did, all i do is just bend a little bit, cos i cant be greeting somebody as old and important as him and be standing, oti oooooo smiley
Re: Prostration Among The Yoruba And The Israelites by mbatuku1: 7:27pm On Oct 25, 2011
mafolayomi:

grin grin it is still very much in practice o, infact if you dont do it well, u can be corrected and ask to do it again. i wont only kneel down to greet those that ar not yorubas cos dey wont know d meaning/value. i have once tried it with my FIL b4 marriage, and[b] he told me he is not God[/b], so since den i never did, all i do is just bend a little bit, cos i cant be greeting somebody as old and important as him and be standing, oti oooooo smiley

I've been researching for a while, it seems the yorubas are the only ones stuck with this practice. Every other peoples(Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, etc) who practice some form of prostration usually do it to worship their gods/God.
Re: Prostration Among The Yoruba And The Israelites by tpia5: 9:34pm On Oct 25, 2011
^^you're not yoruba so its not your business.
Re: Prostration Among The Yoruba And The Israelites by amor4ce(m): 9:39pm On Oct 25, 2011
When before the Ancient of Days, you wouldn't dare say that you cannot doba'le because you are wearing white cloth. Did Abraham and Moses think twice and/or consider their apparel before prostrating?

I initially posted the article here
http://yemitom.wordpress.com/2011/10/13/prostration-among-the-yoruba-and-the-israelites/
and I got some very interesting comments. How many churches today do we see members falling on their faces in worship?
Re: Prostration Among The Yoruba And The Israelites by NegroNtns(m): 7:46pm On Oct 27, 2011
Prostration, in any race of people, is an act of worship. Kneeling, in any race of people, is also an act of worship.

I can throw more light on this if you want but for a start I need you all to watch any video of royal coronation or honorary conferrement of title in England or anywhere in Europe. You will see kneeling. Now, I also want you to watch any video of the Papal lethargy in Vatican and you will see prostrations.

I shouldnt be using Europe to establish proofs but my experience has shown that many Nairalanders will only believe in things endorsed by the white man. So if seeing whiteman/woman kneel and prostrate makes it a honorable act, then it is a honorable act for the Yorubas.
Re: Prostration Among The Yoruba And The Israelites by amor4ce(m): 11:13pm On Oct 27, 2011
I have a feeling that the prostrations in the Vatican that you referred to are derived from the Israelite tradition. As seen in the Bible, prostration was not limited to worship. I want to believe that the Yoruba must have a strong reason for prostrating - could the reason have been forgotten over time?

I'm searching for the roots of the words doba'le and ikun'le. I'm sure the "le" part has to do with ile (earth/ground).
Apart from king, does OBA mean royal father and/or dear father?


With regard to worship, here's what a someone contributed to my blog:
I am Eastern Orthodox and we also prostrate ourselves before the Sacrament and facing East (location of altar) during Great Lent.

The Coptic Christians of Egypt also prostrate themsleves. It is the only proper posture of those who would humble themselves before God. When in our bodies we finally appear before Christ our God none will dare to shake His hand.
Re: Prostration Among The Yoruba And The Israelites by mbatuku2: 11:57am On Oct 28, 2011
amor4ce:

I have a feeling that the prostrations in the Vatican that you referred to are derived from the Israelite tradition. As seen in the Bible, prostration was not limited to worship. I want to believe that the Yoruba must have a strong reason for prostrating - could the reason have been forgotten over time?

I'm searching for the roots of the words doba'le and ikun'le. I'm sure the "le" part has to do with ile (earth/ground).
Apart from king, does OBA mean royal father and/or dear father?


With regard to worship, here's what a someone contributed to my blog:

My guess is that there was probably some kind of human worship among the yorubas in the past which was eventually adopted as a standard form of greeting.

I could recall (not vividly) reading an account of Sango being worshipped by his subjects when he started spitting fire, most likely by some form of prostration and knelling.
Re: Prostration Among The Yoruba And The Israelites by Nobody: 7:15pm On Oct 28, 2011
mbatuku2:

My guess is that there was probably some kind of human worship among the yorubas in the past which was eventually adopted as a standard form of greeting.

I could recall (not vividly) reading an account of Sango being worshipped by his subjects when he started spitting fire, most likely by some form of prostration and knelling.

Stop guessing and try to atleast research and get the fact straight.
Re: Prostration Among The Yoruba And The Israelites by NegroNtns(m): 7:49pm On Oct 28, 2011
Papal lethargy in Vatican


How is it that no one caught and corrected me on this error. I meant liturgy. cheesy ibon, ala kokolette!
Re: Prostration Among The Yoruba And The Israelites by NegroNtns(m): 8:06pm On Oct 28, 2011
lol@Ileke-Idi's response. I agree, Mbatuku, get it right!!!


I have a feeling that the prostrations in the Vatican that you referred to are derived from the Israelite tradition. As seen in the Bible, prostration was not limited to worship. I want to believe that the Yoruba must have a strong reason for prostrating - could the reason have been forgotten over time?

I'm searching for the roots of the words doba'le and ikun'le. I'm sure the "le" part has to do with ile (earth/ground).
Apart from king, does OBA mean royal father and/or dear father?


With regard to worship, here's what a someone contributed to my blog:

Quote
I am Eastern Orthodox and we also prostrate ourselves before the Sacrament and facing East (location of altar) during Great Lent.

The Coptic Christians of Egypt also prostrate themsleves. It is the only proper posture of those who would humble themselves before God. When in our bodies we finally appear before Christ our God none will dare to shake His hand.

Amor4ce,

Oba was seen as a proxy for GOD on earth and so he was reverenced as such. Oba itself is a derivative of semitic Aba - meaning father. From the same Aba or Abba root, we get Baba - also meaning father. From that same root we get Kabiyesi - a honorific greeting of exaltation.

So you have OBA - the father of the community or tribe or race, who because of his exalted position is greeted as KABIYESI. Then Baba, which is the father of a progeny or a parent.

How does all these tie in with the topic?

There is a prostration/kneeling for worship and there is a different one for respect and reverence. In Yoruba culture, the prostration/kneeling for worship is a ritualistic act for grounding. ( I can share more on that if you want). This act is separate from the prostration/kneeling of greeting and paying homage - which is a moral obligation.
Re: Prostration Among The Yoruba And The Israelites by mbatuku2: 9:01pm On Oct 28, 2011
Ileke-IdI:

Stop guessing and try to atleast research and get the fact straight.

Have you heard of the word 'hypothesis' before?

It's usually the first step toward gaining knowledge of something.

Instead of attempting/answering the question that was raised, you are busying attacking me.
Re: Prostration Among The Yoruba And The Israelites by amor4ce(m): 10:05pm On Oct 28, 2011
I noticed the "lethargy" and wondered what you could have been referring to.
I thought as much that oba is related to or is equivalent to abba, but hadn't yet seen the connection. Isn't Kabiyesi derived from oka bi esi, or cobra begat boar? Any cryptic info therein?
Please share more on "the prostration/kneeling for worship is a ritualistic act for grounding" as I want to prostrate the right way during worship.
Re: Prostration Among The Yoruba And The Israelites by tpia5: 11:00pm On Oct 28, 2011
^^you're going off on a tangent with all this wrong info.

why exactly are you fascinated with yoruba?

are you nigerian?
Re: Prostration Among The Yoruba And The Israelites by NegroNtns(m): 5:03am On Oct 29, 2011
Amor4ce is writing a book. He comes here to collect information.

I taked about the grounding beforein religion section. You have seen Tibetians prostrate and you have seen Muslims prostrate, You have seen Jews prostrate and you have seen orthodox Christians prostrate. The Buddhists and Hindus prostrate when they enter temple. Adherents of Ifa (Yorubas) prostrate full length with the third eye kissing the earth. It all has to do with reconciling the spiritual to the material and it is done in a symbolic way to denote 'total submission to a HIGHER will". Muslims, Tibetian monks, Orthodox and Jews all kiss the third eye to the ground. Muslims do it many times more frequently than any other worshiping group, to the point that a marker is left on the spot covering the forehead.

I think that"s good enough on that rite of prostration. It's too much on it to be understood here, besides I dont need to say more than whats already said so far. Leave the spiritual alone and focus on the moral aspect of prostration.
Re: Prostration Among The Yoruba And The Israelites by NegroNtns(m): 5:05am On Oct 29, 2011
I would like to add that the respect or homage prostration does not include a kiss of the forehead to the ground. Thats the difference in the two - the distinction between worshipping GOD and paying respect to human.

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