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Yoruba sayings, ancestral teachings for today's Cuba

Yoruba sayings

There is a very strong link between proverbs and religion in Cuba, since many of these popular sayings refer to gods and deities, respect for the elderly, death and freedom.

Some of the most common proverbs were brought to the Island by the Spanish conquerors who imposed their language and the Catholic religion, while others arrived in another language, in the mouth of black slaves who, coming from different regions of Africa, brought associated customs and beliefs. to sayings.

As a result of this process of mixing, syncretism and transculturation, a Cuban identity was conditioned, full of teachings in the form of colloquialisms from different places and with different ways of seeing the world.

Sayings, respect, culture and colloquialism

Coming from the Bible and the result of the Spanish conquest and colonization, today proverbs as common as:

  • "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth"
  •  "Not only of bread the man lives"
  • "The habit do not do the monk"
  • "God gives a beard to those who do not have a quijá". 

Meanwhile, the african sayings of different cults and peoples such as Yoruba and Bantus, arrived in Cuba in the traditional language of those African territories, but over time they were translated into Spanish and today they are part of Cuban culture and colloquial speech.

For example, from the paleros many sayings are used such as:

  • "Everybody pairs up in the cemetery"
  • "Many are the paths that lead to heaven"
  • "Dog does not eat dog."

While from The Rule of Osha are born yoruba sayings on the table:

  • "Ear does not pass head"
  • "Look, hey and shut up"
  • "You have to do for those who do for you."

Yoruba sayings for divination

Let us also bear in mind that the Yoruba oracles are expressed through an Oddun or letter to whose combinations correspond several yoruba sayings or patakies (stories) that give the person advice on the path to follow.

For example, these signs say:

  • Otura Di "Whoever is standing around everyone surrounds him, whoever is down no one knows"
  • Ofun Melli "In front of a woman, never forget your mother" 

Yoruba sayings used in popular slang and that guide respect for the family, the elderly and show strong teachings that, if we follow them, will make our journey through life much more bearable.

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