are a subgroup of the Yorubas
People of this tribe are found predominantly in Lagos, Isheri,
. They are called ‘Oto Awori
’ or ‘Olofin Awori
Some facts about the Aworis you may not know
Origin The Aworis, like every other Yoruba tribe, are said to have left Ile-Ife with their leader, Olofin. Before leaving Ile-Ife, Oduduwa gave Olofin a mud plate to place on the river and follow its path. He instructed that they should settle wherever the mud plate sinks. The plate had stopped at various spots, sometimes for up to seventeen days, and sometimes more, before moving again. History records that the mud plate had stopped at Olokemeje, then Oke-Ata, and later at the southern outskirts of the present-day Abeokuta for seventeen days respectively. It moved again and made a longer stop at Isheri – two hundred and eighty-nine days before moving again. Eventually, the mud plate sank at Idumota in Lagos Island.
Meaning of the name
How the name ‘Awori’ was derived ‘Awori’ is a clause – ‘Awo ri’, which translates, ‘The plate sank’. The name was derived when the mud plate given to Olofin by Oduduwa sank at Idumota.
The Aworis are in three different locations because when the plate stopped moving at the southern outskirts of the present-day Abeokuta, Aro bi olongbo egan, one of Olofin’s followers, decided he had gotten to his final destination and so he stayed there alongside other people who chose to stay with him. The same thing happened when they got to Isheri and there was a much longer stop. Olofin himself gave instructions for the setting up of a settlement. This was ongoing before the plate started moving again. At this point, some chose to dwell at that location – Isheri – while Olofin and the rest continued their journey with the plate. After stopping briefly at Iddo, Lagos, the plate spun around in the water and sunk at Idumota. Each of these locations where the plate stopped, therefore, has a number of the Aworis among them.
Lifestyle and beliefs
The Aworis are generally known to be a peace-loving people. They practice traditional worship side-by-side with Christianity and Islam. They worship the Ifa Oracle and consult it to make important decisions concerning their life challenges, events, and choosing of a king. They celebrate Oro amd Egungun festivals. Whereas Oro is a cult for only men, Egungun is a festival that can be watched by both men and women. However, it is a taboo for a woman to see Oro. If she does, she will be offered as a sacrifice. This is expressed by the saying:
“Bi obintin ba f’oju kan Oro, Oro a gbe e”
(If a woman sets her eyes on Oro, Oro will carry her.)
Egungun is also considered a deity among the Aworis and so is worshiped. Although women are not allowed to put on the Egungun regalia, they contribute immensely in preparation for the celebration of the festivals.
The Aworis are mainly fishermen/women. Today, the Aworis are divided into two clans based on the language they speak: Yoruba Awori
and Ogu Awori
. The Yoruba Awori people are found at Badagry, Apa, Iworo and Igbogbele, while the Ogu Awori people are found at Benin Republic, Togo, coastal south western Nigeria, and Ghana.
Feature image photo credit: www.continenttours.com
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This article was first published on 20th March 2018