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10 Rules of Dress for an Iyawó

Rules of an Iyawo

The iyawó in the Yoruba religion is a newly initiated believer, it is considered that they have just been born into a new religious life. This birth brings with it that the Iyawó, just like a child when it is born, learns from scratch, educates itself and adapts to new teachings, but it must also follow certain rules.

Therefore, the Iyawó must accept with responsibility the rules, prohibitions and standards of conduct and ethics that are established, accepting them with love and joy in his new life.  

The Iyawó in religion

Among the practitioners of the Afro-Cuban or Santeria religion it is common to see people dressed entirely in white.

Both men and women wear a white turban or headscarf to protect themselves, some accessories such as necklaces or a white umbrella that also provides protection, white clothes and shoes that signify the purity of a new life.

Why does the Iyawó wear white?

The color white itself is a sacred color, and that is how it is considered within the Afro-Cuban religion. Therefore, white clothing indicates a spiritual availability to connect with the divine, it is a symbol of purity and it drives away negativity from the wearer.

Iyawo clothing

During the time that an Iyawó must follow these norms, white clothing will not function as an accessory, but is fundamental because it means protection for the initiate.

Its use is based on the fact that this stage begins life as a newborn, therefore, the Iyawó is more sensitive and vulnerable to picking up or attracting bad energies.

How long does the Iyaworaje last?

Regarding the rules of dress, conduct, morals and ethics established by the Afro-Cuban Osha Rule, the Iyawó must follow them, respect them and carry them out with humility, respect and love. for a year and 7 days.

Iyawó dress rules:

When it comes to the rules for the Iyawó, it applies to the dress of both women and men.

  1. He will not wear earrings, jewelry or other decorative accessories that are not religious, he will only wear his necklaces and handcuffs as accessories.
  1. At bedtime, both men and women should sleep dressed.
  • Men must wear white socks, underwear, T-shirt, hat and pajamas.
  • Women should wear short socks, panties, bodice, keel, and negligee.
  1. At the foot of his bed he will have a pair of white flip-flops (like all his wardrobe), the initiate cannot put his feet on the floor.
  1. With sleeping clothes you cannot stand at the door of the house, nor can you leave it. Clothes used to sleep are sacred and cannot be exposed to the outside.
  1. You will not wear shirts or blouses without sleeves, or clothes that keep you uncovered, you must protect yourself as much as possible.
  1. Women must wear stockings and petticoats all year round, including when sleeping. Garments cannot be transparent or have decorative stones. Clothing should be simple, comfortable and worn with humility.

During the first 3 months:

  1. It must be kept with a white cap or keel, inside it must always have cotton, cocoa butter, and cascarillaThis is how you protect yourself from bad energies.

The reason is that at birth the lerí (head) of the Iyawó remains open (spiritually) and therefore is more vulnerable.

  1. The man must go out into the street dressed entirely in white, with closed shoes, stockings, underpants, a T-shirt, pants, a handkerchief and a long-sleeved shirt, on his head he will wear the hat under the cap.

What changes after the first 3 months is that you can go out in short-sleeved shirts, but always in white.

  1. The woman must come out dressed in closed shoes, long stockings, panties, a skirt, a skirt, a bra and a blouse with sleeves. The keel and turban must be worn on the head.

After the first 3 months you will be able to go out without your headscarf (although it is recommended to continue using it as protection) and you will continue all dressed in white.

  1. In general, you should always wear white, except on occasions that warrant it and with the permission of the tutelary Orisha and her elders.

These permits may be for reasons of occupation or profession that you exercise and that force you to wear clothes other than those that should be worn in your Iyaworaje.

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