THE ORIGIN OF IYAWO IN YORUBA LANGUAGE
Did you know that the original word for wife in Yoruba language is AYA and not IYAWO? Thought the latter is quite commonly used nowadays than the former.
I will take you through the mythical narration of how the term Iyawo came about:
Wura who was at the phase of choosing a spouse was faced with the task of selecting the most suitable one for herself. She was the first child and daughter of the King of Iwo (A Yoruba town). Yoruba deities like Sango, Ogun, and other known male deities went to Iwo to seek her hand in marriage. Wura mistreated them all. She was very rude and uncouth. She meted the worst behaviour one can think of unto all her suitors. Everyone of them failed to accomplish the prospect of marrying her because they could not withstand her behaviour, so they abandoned their mission on their very first day. That was how repulsive Wura was to them, regardless of her remarkable ad unique beauty!
However, when it was Orunmila’s turn, he sought wisdom from Olodumare (Almighty God) through Ifa divination before he set out for Iwo. He was duly informed that no matter
the treatment that Wura might subject him to, he must not react accordingly, he should have patience, perseverance and lots of endurance. He was highly warned to expect humiliation from Wura but must not be provoked.
When Orunmila got to Iwo, Wura looked at him scornfully, she did not welcome him, but hissed at him, and called Orunmila all sorts of names. She did not even offer Orunmila any food or entertained him as was the customary ethics to a visitor, but Orunmila ignored her attitudes throughout the first day, the second day etc, until about the seventh day.
To worsen the indignation, Wura took Orunmila’s Opon-Ifa [divination board] and used it as firewood, she also took Orunmila’s Pouch [Apo Ominijekun] from him. This angered Orunmila greatly but he still succeeded to conduct himself aright. He refused to react to her humiliations haven been warned of the consequences of not heeding advice.
At last the King intervened, haven noticed that Orunmila was humble and thoroughly well behaved despite all the odds.
Orunmila’s behaviour gave him the assurance that he would take good care of his daughter Wura if she were to become his wife. Meanwhile unknowingly, Wura’s repugnant behaviour had been a test for all the prospective suitors.
The King summoned Orunmila and handed Wura over to him as his wife. He also divided his property into two and gave Orunmila one half. Orunmila thus became rich and had Wura for his wife.
Upon Orunmila’s arrival back home, his people welcomed him enthusiastically for his accomplished task, they asked for details of how his new wife was so beautiful, and yet perfectly behaved. His answer was direct: “Iya-ti-mo-je-ni-Iwo ni un” (she is the result of my indignation at Iwo town).
These words in syllables “Iya-ti-mo-je-ni Iwo” became known as Iya-Iwo, which is now corrupted to ‘Iyawo’.
It is narrated as a synergy of history and literature, forged to educate and inspire philosophically – It is simply an expression of ENDURANCE!
It also projects an inadvertent reward, from PATIENCE and HUMILITY!
Morals: In all situations, be at your best self! Do not be ruffled, but resist being made to act or respond out of character, no matter the odds. Just be yourself with coolness and calmness (easier said than done).
Do these, and you’re CLARIFIED, as a Spiritual being. ÀLÙYO NI ooo.
This article is credited to: Johnson O Ayeotan
Photo credit: Bunmi Adedipe Photography