The Yoruba mythology is a rich and complex religious tradition that originated in the cultures of West Africa, specifically among the Yoruba people, who inhabit regions of Nigeria, Benin, and Togo. Over the centuries, this mythology has influenced daily life, religion, and art of the Yoruba and has been carried to other parts of the world due to the African diaspora. In Yoruba mythology, the gods and spirits are known as «orishas» or «orichas.» The orishas are numerous and represent a variety of aspects of life and nature. Some of the most well-known orishas include:

  • Olodumare: He is the supreme god and creator of the universe. Olodumare is considered the principle of everything and stands above the other orishas. He is depicted as an unchanging and distant divine force.
  • Obatalá: The orisha of the sky, peace, and purity. He is considered as the creator of humanity and is associated with creation and wisdom.
  • Yemayá: The orisha of the sea and motherhood. Yemayá is seen as a loving and protective mother and is considered the mother of all orishas.
  • Ogún: The orisha of iron, war, and technology. Ogún is the patron of blacksmiths, soldiers, and all those who work with metals.

Yoruba mythology has a strong connection with nature and community. Rituals and celebrations are an integral part of Yoruba life and serve to honor the orishas and maintain balance in the world. Some of the most important rituals include:

  • Ancestor worship: The Yoruba believe that ancestors play a significant role in the lives of their descendants. Rituals are performed to honor and seek protection from the ancestors.
  • Orisha worship: Specific offerings and rituals are performed for each orisha, aiming to seek their favor and guidance in different aspects of life, such as health, love, and prosperity.

The African diaspora brought Yoruba mythology to America and the Caribbean, where it merged with other religious traditions to give rise to religions such as Candomblé in Brazil, Santería in Cuba, and Voodoo in Haiti. These syncretic religions retain key elements of Yoruba mythology and continue to be practiced worldwide.