Did I mention, my sister gave birth to twins? It is a very exciting time the family. Exciting and busy. I have met my two new nephews and they are of course, gorgeous as newborns are but demanding as newborns are. This time I seemed to have been very hands on, in a way that I never was when my sister had her first child. On Saturday morning. I drove down to the coastal hospital where my sister was recovering from the birth and I stayed there until Sunday morning. I spent the time helping my sister feed and change the babies, sorting out equipment and providing some moral support and company. It was nice, although rather tiring and I was rather relieved when my mother, sister and brother-in-law, arrived to take over. It was just as well that I had baked before hand or maybe I was tired because I spent the Friday evening cooking and Saturday morning baking. I decided that the birth of these two boys should be celebrated with some small cakes for now. I baked the apple version of the chai cupcakes and iced their initials on the top.

My family are of Nigerian descent and twins are special in Nigerian, Yoruba culture. There are thought to have supernatural powers to increase their parents’ wealth. In Yoruba culture twins are under the protection of the Shango the God of Thunder and lightening. Twins in Yoruba culture are highly looked after and treated with honour (including a monthly feast!). Twins have special names too. The first twin is usually named Taiwo and is in fact considered to be the younger twin. The name Taiwo means = ‘having the first taste of the world”. The second twin is called Kehinde (meaning = ‘the one that comes after’) and is the senior baby and has sent the junior baby out of the womb to see what the word looks like. When Taiwo has given the signal, by crying, that things are OK, Kehinde will follow. It is all very interesting. My father was in fact a twin and he was the Kehinde. Tradition has it that Kehinde’s are meant to be the more careful, more intelligent and more reflective. Taiwo is believed to be curious, adventurous and more nonchalant.

In Yoruba culture, Orishas are the human form of the spirits sent by the Supreme God , Oludumare and Nigerian twins are called Ibejis after Ibeji, the orisha of twins. ‘Ibi’ = born and ‘eji’ = two. The Ibeji are the orishas of joy, mischievousness, abundance and childish glee. I could go on, there is so much to learn and understand about the past. In the meantime, I will carry on baking.




Yoruba Customs and Beliefs Pertaining to Twins

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