The Tradition of Female Circumcision

The Tradition of Female Circumcision

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Female Circumcision is widely known as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) or Female Cutting. This tradition was practiced in some ethnic groups and religion, has been wiped off by some laws and still in practice in some countries. This act is deeply rooted in the Islamic region; thus, its practice in some Islamic countries. FGM according to WHO (1997) is the total or partial removal of the external female genitalia or organs for non-medical reason. The practice is non-medical because it is been carried out for ritualistic purposes.

Circumcising a female child can occur right at birth or at the puberty age by a traditional circumciser with the use of sharp razors, which are mostly unsterilized.  Some women are circumcised in their old age especially when they want to marry into another clan or when after the birth of their first child. This practice varies according to traditions.

The external genitalia, that is, the #vulva can be cut. Other parts of the external sexual organs that are being tampered with or removed in this process include the visible part of the #clitoris, the outer and inner #labia, urethral and other openings on the #vagina. Holes are being left for urine, menses, sexual intercourse and childbirth. A lady that is circumcised has naturally lost her virginity.

Reasons for FGM

  1. Cultural Beliefs

Female Circumcision is believed by some culture to bring honour, modesty and power to their female children. It is seen as a cultural tradition in some places. The females child in these cultures are seen as unclean until they are being circumcised. The parts of the genitals are then removed to make the child pure, clean and beautiful. Some women circumcised their daughters because they were circumcised.

  1. To Reduce Sexual Urge

The removal of the part of the #clitoris, that is responsible for sexual sensation reduces sexual urge. This practice is being carried out by people so as to restrain their daughters from pre-marital sexual activities.

Effects of Female Cutting in Women

Female Genital Mutilation has no health benefits to women but rather poses risks to their health. Some of these risks are discussed in the following paragraphs.

  1. Painful and Boring Sexual Experiences

FGM is a painful experience for ladies and accompanied by bleeding which can lead to anemia, fainting or death. Complications arise during the procedure because the practitioners are unskillful. Women that are cut experience painful sexual experience, have low sex libido while some do not enjoy sex at all. This is due to the removal of the external sexual organs.

  1. Painful birth Experience

Circumcised women find it difficult to have natural birth and many complications during birth procedures are common among these category of women. Birthing experience becomes unbearable and extremely painful for some of them. Some even bleed to death during childbirth. Childbirth is through surgical operation (Caesarian section).

  1. Prone to Infections and Diseases

The use of unsterilized equipments during circumcision exposes the female body to infections and disease. Infections such as tetanus, the formation of cysts in the ovaries and HIV/AIDS can be transmitted.

  1. Damage To Vital Body and Sexual Organs

Organs such as the urethra and the passage for easy flow of urine and menstrual blood can be blocked or damaged. The ovary can also be tampered with: thus leading to infertility and inability to get pregnant and bear children.

Female Genital Mutilation is seen as a form of child violation by some organizations (both Governmental and Non-Governmental Organisations) like the WHO, Human Rights Bodies, UNICEF among others. Women are exposed to physical, medical and psychological health trauma when they undergo circumcision.

Property and Widowhood Inheritance

Widowhood Inheritance In the Olden Days

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Property inheritance is a common tradition in Nigeria that cut across all ethnic groups. When a man dies, his properties, children and wife/wives are inherited by his family members. On the dead of a man, his body will be washed and the water will be given to his wife/wives to drink.  She is also expected to sleep on the same mat with her dead husband. This tradition serves as a way to show their innocence. The hair of the widow is shaven; she will be robed in black cloth and stay indoor for forty days. All these  are part of the mourning rites.

Any woman that is involved in the death of her husband is believed to be disturbed by the spirit of the deceased after the widow’s mourning rites. According to the tradition, she will be inflicted by mental illness, incurable diseases or death. This practice is still common in some parts of the country, especially in the eastern parts. After the burial ceremony and the completion of the burial rites, the family members are faced with the issue of the sharing of the properties of the deceased.

Properties Inheritance in the Olden Days

In the traditional era, the properties of the man are expected to be shared among his wives, children and kinsmen. The first male child (heir) claims the greater portion of the properties while the remaining ones are shared among the other people that are entitled to the properties. If the man was a polygamist, the first male child (irrespective of his position among the children) has the largest portion of the properties. In situations where the man died without a child, the properties are inherited among the kinsmen or brothers. They do this on the claim of keeping the wife from taking the properties to another man’s house while some do this because of their greedy nature.

Widowhood Inheritance In the Olden Days

Not only the properties are inherited but the wife of the deceased man (widow) is also inherited by the brothers. This practice is called “Levirate”. Levirate is a practice where the eldest living brother of a dead man lay claim to the wife/wives and children of his brother. This tradition is done to keep the family blood and the dead man’s properties flowing in the lineage. The brother has the role of performing social and sexual responsibilities to the wife and children of his deceased brother.

There are some cases where the wife refuses to marry the brother of her deceased husband. In such situations, the widow is left stranded without any inheritance from her husband. Widowhood inheritance has many disadvantages. There is high risk of transmitting sexual related diseases due to the transfer of wives to brothers. There is also competition among the wives which may lead to conflict, disagreement which may later result to jealousy.

Inheritance in the Modern Day

Property inheritance is still in practice in this modern day while widowhood inheritance has been reduced drastically. Sharing of properties is easy if there is a “will”. But, if not, chaos and conflict do occur during the sharing of properties. In situations where there are no documents or will on how the properties should be shared, the family members of the deceased do claim these properties, leaving the wife and children stranded. Some even kill themselves just to inherit the properties. Modernization has resulted to the decrease in the practice of these traditions. Women now have the freedom to reject being shaven or drinking the water used to bath her deceased husband. Some of them,  if financial stable leave the country with their children to avoid the conflict that arise in sharing the properties of the deceased man.

Tradition and Its Importance

Differences between Culture and Tradition

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Tradition is the passing down of the elements of culture such as beliefs and customs, from one generation to another which could be either through oral or written means. A tradition is something that was practiced by forefathers in the past which is now being transferred or handed down to the new generation. People of this present generation will pass on the tradition to those of the future generation.  Traditions carry symbols with different meanings that are sacred to people of a particular origin. There is a misconception that traditions are fetish activities or beliefs. This is not true because not all traditions are. Tradition could be a normal or routine behavior of an individual that was passed down from parents, grand-parents or people from three generations back.

Tradition is not the same as culture. Culture encompasses all what define a society such as the custom, beliefs, arts, language, food and so on while tradition is the process of passing on all what define a culture. Culture is not static and changes over time and with the introduction and influence of other culture(s) while tradition is static and do not change. The tradition of a society or that of a family that was practiced decades of years back will still be in existence in the next ten years. Tradition of a family or lineage may differ from that of another lineage or family in the same society while culture is the same or similar across all families in a society. This means that culture is general and not individually-oriented while tradition can be individual or private.

Importance of Tradition

Many people are of the opinion that tradition should be eradicated because some may be barbaric and archaic while some oppose this opinion by saying that tradition should not be wiped off but be maintained because of the its importance. Some of the advantages of traditions are :

  1. Tradition Offers A Sense of Identity

The tradition(s) one is imbibed with shows a great level of social identity. The tradition of a place, society one live in or a group one belong to shows one’s identity. So far an individual practice such tradition(s), it means that he or she is also a member of that group.

  1. Traditions Promotes Unity

Traditions hold people with the same roots or origins together. It brings people with the same background together through the passage of some norms, values and behaviours. Through unity, traditions promote inter-personal relationship among members of a family or origin.

  1. Traditions Teaches Values

Traditions enable the young ones to learn the values and morals of the society. They are also being familiarized with what they are expected to do or not. Traditions guides people’s act and constrains their behavior. It impose on an individual a sense of responsibilities. An example is a family tradition where all the girls are expected to marry as virgins. This tradition will curb their sexual act and make them keep themselves until marriage.

  1. Tradition Serves As A Means of Reminder

The passage of values, norms and behavior from the previous generation(s) helps to remind the youths and those of the new generation of the values and morals of their origin. If there are no traditions, the youths will forget their source and all what that are held at high esteem by the society, groups or families.

Should Traditions Be Static?

We need to be careful when dealing with our traditions. Our obedience to traditions should not pose a threat to lives, health and freedom. Those that contain the accurate knowledge needed for our development should be embraced while those that are harmful should be shunned. Example are the traditions of female circumcision, burying of a dead king with living souls, killing of rape victims among others.

The Training of A Child In Nigerian Culture

Adoption n nigerian culture

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Barrenness is a taboo and any woman who could not conceive is called names like a male, a stone or an infertile soil and disgraced by her in-laws and people in the society. On the other hand, a woman who conceives after the wedding ceremony is seen as a fertile woman, a blessing and will be praised. When a child is born, both the family members and the society as a whole have the responsibility of bringing up and training the child. This means that the training of a child is not only done by the parents of such a child. Child training is a communal process.

The first way through which a child is being trained is through the socialization period. Socialization is a process by which a child is taught the norms and values of a society. As a child is growing up, he is taught the language and simple way of conducts. During the infant stage, the child will know things like beating an older person, stealing, fighting are bad behaviours. The child will be taught the roles and responsibilities to be a good member of the society and a good ambassador. The family is not only the institution that is responsible for the socialization process. The school and the religious institutions are also the major institutions that help to socialize the child. A child can also be scolded by other members of the society.

God-Parenting

God-parenting is an important factor that proves a joint-effort of child training. This is common in the Eastern part of the country. God-parents are social parents and not the biological parent of a child and they perform social responsibilities for the child. The child is given a god-father/ mother at his birth. These social parents have the power to name their god-child/children. These people are always of higher status than the biological parents. They are always rich; some can have children of their own while some might be with no child. They can volunteer to pay the school fees or cater for the needs of the children. A child can decide to live with his or her god-parents while some can decide to spend holidays with them. Most god-parents give gifts and other material things to their god-children.

Adoption

Adoption process is not a common practice in Nigeria unlike in the Western States. Nigerians also adopt children. This practice is not only restricted to those without children because those with children can decide to adopt one or more children. In Nigeria culture, those without a child can decide to take in a child partially or fully, but with the consent of the parents or the family members of the child. Those that give up their child are those with unwanted pregnancies or those that do not have the capability of taking care of the child. Also, some god-parents can adopt their god-children. The total wellbeing, training and the care of the child is being given by the adopted parents.

Children that lose their parents through death can be adopted by family members or other people in the society. Widowhood inheritance: a process by which a brother of a deceased man marry the wife of the dead man and take in full responsibilities of taking care of the widow and children. This practice is another way to show the communal way of training a child.

The communal way of training a child has many advantages. It brings people together and promotes unity and social bond. In some places, there is always a joint contribution of bride price, bride’s wealth, dowry by those people that are responsible for the training of a child. A child that is trained by people in the societies turns out to be responsible and good ambassador of the society.

Culture and Its Characteristics

Culture is Dynamic

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Culture is generally known as the total way of life, the ideas, customs and expected behavior of people in a society. Culture encompasses all aspect of an individual’s life such as the dressing, value, music, art, artifact, language, food, attitude, experience, knowledge, belief, norm, moral. religion that are shared by members of a society. The word “culture” was coined by an Anthropologist named E.B Taylor and he defined it as “a complex whole which include knowledge, belief, art, morals, customs and all other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of the society”. Culture is a universal phenomenon that is common in all society although it is specific to each society and varies from one society to another. In order to have a better understanding of what culture is, it is essential to know its characteristics.

There are some attributes or characteristics that define what culture is.

  1. Culture is learned

Culture is always learned. A child that is born into a society or a stranger, need to be taught and learn the way of life of that society. The process by which culture is being learned is called enculturation. The first avenue of learning culture is through the family. Language, morals, behaviours, respect, ways of eating etc. are first learned by an infant through the parents, peer group, friends and other members of the society. The clean slate nature of a child is being filled up by what he learns from the people around him.  The genetic make-up of an individual does not influence his process of learning a culture. Thus, culture is not biologically transferred from parents but transmitted from one generation to another through the process of teaching the new members by the old members of the society.

  1. Culture is shared

Culture is shared by all members of a society. It is collectively and not individually owned and belong to a society An expected behavior, what to do and what not to do is being belong to a society, and generally accepted by members and transmitted among members of a particular society. This is the reason why people of the same community or society have the same way of life, view about life, speak the same language, think the same way and have the same or similar belief system. The shared attribute of culture promotes unity, togetherness and sense of belonging among members of a society.

  1. Culture is Dynamic

Culture undergo changes and not static. There are modifications and some factors that change culture. Some beliefs, acts, morals and ways of life change as the society changes. The influx of new people into a society brings new ideas and their own culture which can lead to a change. Migration, civilization, modernization, globalization and colonialism have brought change to our culture in Nigeria. When people with different origin come together, their culture will definitely mix together, which can lead to the change or total eradication of a culture or the development of a new culture.

  1. Culture is Integrated

Culture is like a tree with different branches and a system with different components. An individual must be integrated into the culture wholly by taking into considerations all essential parts or components of culture.

  1. Culture Does Not Act In Isolation

A culture, no matter how rigid it may look will be influenced by other culture of the nearby society or community. Although culture is known to be specific to the members of a society, it also gives room to accommodate other culture. An example is the way of dressing in Nigeria. Traditional wears with the use of tie and dye or “adire” are being coupled with the cooperate and formal wears from the white people’ culture.

The Tradition “Virginity” In Yoruba Kingdom

Virginity In Yoruba Culture

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Nigeria is a country in West Africa with three distinct tribes- Yoruba, Ibo and Hausa. The Yoruba people occupy majorly the South Western parts of the country but can also be found, although in small population in other parts of the country. These three tribes have different views on sexuality and virginity, although there is a possibility of two cultures with similar views. The tradition of Virginity among young Yoruba women before marriage is known as “Asa Ibale” in the Yoruba Kingdom. This tradition is no longer practiced today because it has been eroded by colonialisation. A virgin is someone who has never had sexual intercourse or sexual activity.

Virginity In Yoruba Culture

During the traditional era and before the advent of colonialism, virginity was held at high esteem among the Yoruba people. A lady is expected to get married as a virgin as having sexual intercourse before the wedding ceremony is a taboo. This is the reason why the intending couple are not allowed to have close contact or be in the same room with each other before the D-day: thus, the need for an intermediary (Alarina).

Virginity to them is known as ‘Ibale’ and it is the pride of any Yoruba lady to keep hers till her wedding night.The wedding night is usually seen as a frightened day for the bride and her parents. In those days, mothers were fond of asking their daughters about their virginity so as to prevent the shame and disgrace that come with not been a virgin.

On the wedding night, a white cloth is usually given to the couple and the cloth will be spread on their bedding, mostly mats. The parents of both families sometimes stay at the entrance of the house waiting for the cloth to be brought out of the house while some parents will be in their homes expecting result. In this culture, the white cloth is expected to be stained by blood and after the sexual intercourse, if the cloth is stained, it means that the new bride is a virgin. If it turns out that the white cloth is not stained with blood, it signifies that the new bride had been promiscuous and slept with a man before.

A bride that is met as a virgin by her husband will be celebrated while the one that is not will be disgraced and banished from the village. The white cloth (stained or not) will be sent to the bride’s parents. Other items like rotten yam, half-filled matches or empty box of matches, half keg of palm wine will also be sent to them meaning that their daughter was rotten and not complete before she was married. The parents will be publicly blamed for not training their daughter. Grief, sorrow and loud cries will follow suit. Such bride that will sweep the whole village, dance naked in the market’s place before she finally leaves her village. The groom also has the right to divorce such a woman.

On the other hand, if the newly-wed was met as a virgin, the groom’s family will send a full keg of palm wine, full matches box to the bride’s parents indicating that their daughter was complete before the wedding night. She will be praised publicly and her parents will be happy. It is believed that virgins have self-discipline and are well-trained by their parents.

This custom and virginity has many advantages as it prevent the rate of fornication and helps the married women to be faithful with their husbands. Also, many lives have been lost to the act. Some young ladies have committed suicide because of the shame. Highly respected or elders can also commit suicide if their daughter was found to have lost her virginity before her marriage. This tradition is no longer in practice and has eaten deep by colonilisation.

The Effect and Influence of Colonial Rule on Nigeria’s Culture and Tradition

The Effect and influence of Colonial Rule on Nigeria’s Culture and Tradition, advantages, disadvantages, effect, colonization

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Colonization/Colonial Rule

The colonial masters, majorly the Europeans invaded Nigeria in the early 19th century. They introduced many things and displaced the culture and traditions of Nigeria. There was an influx of culture and they dominated almost all areas of Nigerian’s lifestyle. There were change, development, modernization and all sorts of positive changes. Some barbaric traditions were thrown into pits, some were reviewed while some were replaced with new ones. Also, the coming of the Europeans also brought negative changes to the heritage of the country. Although some parts of the country were rigid and firm about their culture as they stood vehemently against change while some culture allowed the total influence of the colonial masters. Some of the areas that were influenced, both positively and negatively are discussed below( Read about culture and its characteristics here )

 

  1. Religion

The religion that predominates Nigeria before the invasion of the foreigners was traditional religion. The colonial masters brought Christianity because many of them were missionaries from the Roman Catholic Church. Crusades were conducted and many Nigerians were converted. Shrines, worshipping house of the gods were burnt down. Through trade and contact with the Arabs, Islamic religion was also introduced to Nigerians. This new religion grew and was divided into many branches to the extent that only a few people still practice the indigenous religion in Nigeria today. All these are the effects of colonial rule in Nigeria. (Traditional Medicine Practitioners)

 

  1. Traditions

Many traditions were stopped with colonialization. Traditions that involve the killing of people for rituals and sacrifices were abolished. For example, the killing of twins was put to stop by a Western Nurse named Mary Mitchell Slessor. On the other hand, some traditions that were important and those that curb immorality were destroyed. An example is the importance of virginity before marriage. This practice has gained less ground and no more founded in the culture. Modernization has destroyed some positive and good aspects of Nigeria’s culture. (The Tradition “Virginity” In Yoruba Kingdom)

  1. Works of Arts

Many arts, artifacts, sculptures and old images were being carted away by the Europeans when they were leaving the country. During their rule, these works of arts were being bought, some were stolen while some were given away by the corrupt elders. The remaining works of arts are those that were left behind and they cannot be compared with the good ones that flew away with independence. The influx of the colonial masters led to a serious side effect of our artworks transferred to museums in their country. Read an interesting article on Definition, Types, and Importance of Museum to Children and Students here.

 

  1. Dressing

This is one of the areas that were negatively influenced by colonial reign. The main motive and reason for wearing cloth is now a thing of the past. Before colonization, the clothes wore do cover the nakedness and are with modesty. When the Europeans came, they introduced their dressing and sense of fashion. The new dress code has eaten deep down and has destroyed the initial moral standards of Nigeria. The traditional attire is hardly worn, clothes are now worn for the sense of fashion and not to cover the sensitive body parts. ( Fashion Among Nigerian Women in The Olden Days)

 

  1. Marriage

Marriage is one of the universal cultural behaviors. The type, forms and people’s view of marriage have been influenced both positively and negatively by the Europeans. On the positive side, polygamous marriage was reduced while monogamous marriage was encouraged. Family size has been reduced compared to that of the olden days. on the negative side, the divorce rate has been increased. Before the colonial rule, despite the large family size and the numerous number of wives, the head of the family was responsible and there is no or low divorce rate. Divorce was only allowed on special cases, grounds and occasions. But the story has changed with the coming of the Europeans, divorce is now seen as a normal procedure. Marriages hardly last for a decade before the couple calls it to quit.  Responsibility, marital dedication and the quote “for better, for worse” are now things of the past in many Nigerian’s marriages and family settings. (More About Monogamous And Polygamous Families)

 

Yes, at last, we have done justice on the topic: the effects and influence of colonial rule or colonization on Nigeria’s culture and traditions, we hope you enjoyed it

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Nigeria’s Traditional Rulers

procedure, way and custom of traditional marriage system and ceremony of yoruba land and people

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Traditional rulers in Nigeria have been in existence even before colonialisation. Even during the colonial rule, the traditional rulers were still on their thrones although with minimal operations. During this period, they were given the opportunity to rule through indirect rule. By this, the colonial masters will give orders directly to the traditional rulers while the rulers will pass the orders to their followers. After independence, the traditional rulers regained their freedom and their initial positions.

Every city, town, villages, hamlets have its head. What differs is the title attached to them and the presence of a crown. Not all traditional rulers wear the crown; some rulers have no crown while some do.  The traditional rulers of hamlets, villages and small towns do not wear a crown. While the rulers of bigger towns, cities and some big villages have their crowns. This does not mean that a crown-less ruler cannot give authority over his people. But, the presence of a crown signifies higher authority and a crowned ruler is higher in authority than a crown-less ruler.

The classification of the traditional rulers depend on the age of the town/cities, the level of the civilization of a place, the wealth and resources available and the presence of a crown.  A ruler with a crown is named the King or the “Oba” among the Yoruba ethnic group, “Obi” among the Igbos/Ibo and among the Hausa/Fulani people, they are referred to as the “Emir” while the rulers without a crown are given names like the Baale, Chiefs etc.

The position of a traditional ruler and the coronation of the ruler differ in culture. In Nigeria, kingship or chieftaincy title is inherited through the father’s lineage, that is, it is patrilineal in nature. in some culture, the father directly pass on the title to his son (the heir) while in some, the choice of a ruler is always rotational among the numerous royal families. Kings or chiefs are mostly men but there are few women known as the “Adele Oba” meaning “kings in absentia”. Women become traditional rulers when there is no male heir or when the oracle has not pronounced the next ruler after the demise of a ruler. They are prohibited to get married.

Regardless of the presence of a crown or the classification of a ruler in a place, such a ruler is given the highest respect. Members of the society respect and fear their traditional ruler. They see them as their small gods and also as an intermediary between them and their creator. Total allegiance, obedience and honour is given to the traditional rulers. Political aspirants and leaders also pay homage to the rulers. They believe that anyone a traditional ruler supports will have the hearts of the members of the society/town/city/state and come out victorious. The rulers have diverse roles and responsibilities. Most of the roles carried out by the traditional rulers are done with the assistance of their chiefs and subordinates.

They ensure that there is accurate growth and development in their societies. They do this in cooperation with their chiefs, political rulers, companies’ heads, project supervisors, governmental institutions, private institutions, investors and other people interested in developmental projects. Any projects cannot be done without the support of the traditional ruler of a place.

Any form of disputes that arise from the inhabitants of the society can either be settled by house-heads or members of the society. Those that failed to reach a consensus are brought before the chiefs or the traditional ruler of such society. The judgment given by the ruler is seen as final and his authority cannot be questioned. Traditional rulers maintain peace, order and unity among members of the society.

Taboos In Nigerian Culture

Definition of A Totem

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A taboo is an act, action, custom or behaviour that is highly forbidden, prohibited on the basis of sacred social or religious meaning attached to it. Taboo is a Polynesian term ‘tapu’ which means forbidden. It is a universal phenomenon present in all societies. Some are gender-based; some have religious affiliation while some are cultural.  In the society, taboos are usually dreaded by people. Some practices are set aside for spiritual or religious leaders and on the other hand, are highly forbidden by other members of the society. Many of these taboos have been eroded with the coming of Europeans and Christianity.

Taboos are constructed based on belief systems, values and historical events. They are rooted in the traditional culture and religious belief systems. Formulation Cultural taboos are formulated by those in the past generation and taught to the new generation while religious taboos are rooted in “gods”, “deity” or “God”. Breaking a taboo attracts punishments and sometimes death. Taboos have many functions in a society.

Definition of A Totem

This is a common taboo term. A totem could be a sacred being, object, animal, symbol used as an emblem for a particular individual, family or a society. In some parts of the country, certain animals are forbidden to be eaten by members of the society. An emblem of “cross”, holy books, white or red garments are seen as totem to some members of a religion.

  1. Regulation of Behaviour

Taboos regulate behaviour of members of a society. A good example is the incest taboo which restricts sexual behaviour among relatives and prevent rancor among family members. On a general note, taboos help people to know the improper behaviour in a society and then guide them against these behaviours. People will desist from such behaviours because of the sanctions and punishments attached to them.

  1. Set Moral Boundaries

Taboos serve as a means to differentiate the acceptable behaviour from the unacceptable ones. It makes people have a form of decency and determines the characters of people in a society. Taboos are synonymous to the police and law-regulator system that helps to maintain peace, order and moral principles.

  1. Ensures Safety and Security

Most taboos are tailored towards the maintenance of general well-being of people. Total restriction from some forbidden behaviours or acts help in promotion of hygiene and makes an individual to be safe and secured from danger, illness and disease. Taboos, such as restriction of people from sitting on mortals help to guide against uncleanness. The prohibition of children from putting hands in the rain or bathing in the rain is to prevent them from cold. Peace will reign in a community where taboos are obeyed.

  1. Respect for Elders and Spiritual Leaders

Religious and social taboos serve as a means to sanctify shrines and to give respect to the elders, religion and spiritual leaders. Taboos that encourage respect for people include; shaking hands when greeting elders, looking into the eyes of deity or gods, killing of snakes in some community, dropping of the Bible on the ground, among others. Religious taboos make the members of the society have a personal relationship with the spiritual leaders, thereby, moving them closer to their creator.

In conclusion, some people are not familiar with the taboos because they are no more in their fatherlands. Thus, the need to pass it on to them. A stranger must be told of the taboos associated to a society because ignorance is not an excuse for violation of taboos. The grievous punishments attached to violating some forms of taboos should be less-grievous. Taboos are important foundation of a culture.

The Myth of ThunderBolt (Magun) in Nigerian Culture

There are different kinds of thunderbolt

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Thunder bolt means “magun” or “edun ara” in the Yoruba culture of Western region of Nigeria. It means “do not climb” in English Language or “iwo ko gbodo gun” in Yoruba Language. Thunderbolt can be traced to the god of Sango- the god of thunder and lightning. Despite the fact that it has its origin in the Yoruba culture, it is also used by people all over the country to curb promiscuity. Literally, it refers to the restriction of sexual intercourse. Thunder bolt is a love and a killer charm that is placed on a woman by her lover, husband, family members or in-laws. Some parents put this charm on their female children in order to prevent them from sexual acts or to punish anyone that rapes them. This is done on the unfaithful women or on those that their spouse find it difficult to trust or those that are obsessed with their partner. The aim of this charm is to prevent sexual promiscuity.

This deadly-love charm is always laid on a woman without her knowledge. There are ways a woman can be cast this love spell. In some cases, a broom stick can be laid at the entrance and the woman is allowed to walk over it. Some people cast the charm on a long thread that will be put on the floor, usually on the doorstep or passage and the woman is allowed to cross over it. This act is done in a tricky way by the perpetrators.

There are different kinds of thunderbolt. Some results to death while some do not. Some have effects on one of the partner while some affect both partners. In many cases, “magun” affect the male partner so as to serve as punishment to the victim and deterrent for other men that commit adultery. If a woman with this spell sleeps with another man order than her husband or lover, she will be inflicted with strange diseases, illnesses and later die. Some might be inflicted with boils on the thigh which may later spread to other parts of the body, chicken pox, increase in sweating, increase in drinking water among others.

Men that have sexual intercourse with a woman with this charm also experience some of the symptoms peculiar to the woman. But, other strange behavioural symptoms for men include crowing like a rooster, headache, convulsion, somersaulting, and enlargement of the male private part. Both sexual partners glue with each other and the withdrawal of the male organ will be impossible.

This charm can have adverse effect on a woman if she turns out to be faithful. She could die if she does not have sexual intercourse with any man, which could be her husband or any other man, for a stipulated period or days, as prescribed by the “magun” maker. This scenario depends on the kind of the charm used.

If the effects of this charm are detectable early, there is a possibility of remedies. People that fall victims of this charm or those glue together during sexual intercourse are taken to the traditional practitioners or rulers to destroy the enchantment or for separation. Shame, disgrace and divorce are the end result of the guilty people.

There are some people in this country that do not believe in the existence of this myth. They attribute the symptoms associated with “magun” with the health consequences of sexual activities. On the same note, it is good to know that this deadly charm is still in practice. Some people lay claim that there are other safe measures, apart from thunderbolt, to prevent sexual promiscuity without shame, disgrace and death.