Thursday, 31 December 2015

POPULAR SHRINES IN JAPAN.

KIYOMIZUDERA TEMPLE (清水寺)

Also known as the Pure Water Temple, Kiyomizudera is one of the country's most celebrated temples. It is best known for its wooden stage with a spectacular view of beautiful maple and cherry trees in the fall. The main hall is ringed by a large veranda that juts out onto the hillside and offers majestic views of the city. Kiyomizudera, Yasaka Shrine, and other temples in the area sponsor evening illuminations during the Hanatoro event in March.

A HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR.

From The Custodian of Yoruba Tradition and Culture, we wish you A Happy And Prosperous New Year filled with all your heart desires!!!

BYE 2015, WELCOME 2016

Custodian of Yoruba Culture and Tradition wishes our numerous fans all over the world A Happy New Year!!!

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

POPULAR SHRINES IN JAPAN.

TOSHOGU SHRINE (東照宮)

Nikko's main attraction, the Toshogu Shrine was built in honor of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the country's most powerful shogun. Faced in sheets of gold-leaf, this World Heritage Site is considered one of Japan's most opulent and elaborate shrines. Unlike other Shinto shrines of minimalist architectural style, Toshogu is an intricate mix of gold, color, and carvings, with dancing maidens, sages, birds, and flowers chasing one another along the building walls.

THE SAYINGS OF OUR ELDERS BY OLALEKAN ODUNTAN

*Good millet is known at the harvest.
*Life is a shadow and a mist; it passes quickly by and it is no more.
*The voyager's path is marked by the stars and not the sand dunes.
*The bee is the doctor of flowers.
*Because he lost his reputation, he lost a kingdom.
*If your only tool is a hammer, you will see every problem as a nail.
*Knowledge without wisdom is like water in the sand.
*An orphaned calf licks its own back.
*Remember, after the storm there will be rainbow.
*A king can not reign without the support of the elders.
*An elephant which kills a rat is not a hero.
*If you are a leader, be like the moon, not like the sun
*Great men have big hearts.
*Even in old age the lion lives with power and with strength.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

POPULAR SHRINES IN JAPAN.

HASE KANNON TEMPLE (海光山慈照院長谷寺)

Officially known as Kaikozan Jishoin Hase-dera, the Hase Kannon Temple is situated on a hill in Kamakura with a magnificent view of the sea. It is home to the giant statue of Kannon, the Japanese deity of mercy. The statue itself is considered one of the biggest wooden monuments in Japan, at 30 ft. tall. The statue's eleven heads symbolize the phases of the Buddhist enlightenment process. Jizodo Hall features small monuments to Jizo Bodhisattva, who is believed to help the souls of children reach paradise.

POPULAR SHRINES IN JAPAN.

KOTOKU-IN TEMPLE (高徳院)

The Kotoku-in houses the Great Buddha, an outdoor bronze monument of Amida Buddha that dates back to 1252. The temple buildings were destroyed several times by tidal waves and typhoons in the 14th and 15th centuries. The Great Buddha statue weighs around 93 tons and is 13.35 meters high.

POPULAR SHRINES IN JAPAN

SENSOJI TEMPLE (浅草寺)

Also known as Asakusa Temple, Sensoji is a popular Buddhist temple built in the early 7th century. Along the temple walkway, visitors pass by the famous Nakamise, a shopping boulevard of local snacks and souvenir items. After reaching the Hozomon Gate, guests are greeted with the sight of a five-story pagoda and the main hall. Various events are held in Sensoji all year round. People flock to the place during the Asakusa Shrine Festival and the Sanja Matsuri.

POPULAR SHRINES IN JAPAN.

SHRINES AND TEMPLES

Japan contains a plethora of religious architectural structures—Kyoto alone is believed to have more than 2,000 shrines and temples. But it is not only in the big cities where you can find majestic Buddhist temples and shrines; nearly every Japanese village has its own shrine or temple. Famous temples usually charge admission fees and close by 16:00. Most Japanese shrines and temples are set in beautiful gardens and are often connected to local festivals.

MEIJU JINGU SHRINE (明治神宮)

One of Tokyo's most famous shrines, the Meiju Shrine is a striking contrast to the hustle and bustle of the metropolis, with more than 120,000 evergreen trees blocking the city's noise. If you are in Tokyo, make sure to see this shrine. Not only is the Meiju Shrine readily accessible through Harajuku Station; it's also near the city's fashion capital. At the northern part of the shrine's grounds, you come across the Meiju Jingu Treasure House, a collection of some of the personal belongings of Emperor Meiju and Empress Shoken.

GOODS FOR SALE AT WEST AFRICA FETISH MARKET BY MARK STRATTON.

Later my hotel proprietor explained it to be Gounko, a Nigerian-Yoruba Voodoo figure that chased away evil spirits.
While we spoke, local television showed a wild-eyed man carrying a slaughtered goat's head in his mouth by its severed neck ligaments. As he paraded through a crowd, some people collapsed, shaking like fever-pitched evangelists on American TV. I sensed the Voodoo floodgates were opening. The next day I would witness something extraordinary.

DARK ARTS

In a local compound where ripening calabash fruits aped basketballs, Remi wangled me into a family ceremony of ancestor worship: Egungun.

This is one of Beninese Voodoo's most explosive events, where departed ancestral spirits take the form of humans in order to impart wisdom and justice to the living.

Frenzied drumming ushered the Egungun into the compound. Possessed by the dead, men wore flamboyant sequin-spangled capes adorned with animal and human motifs. Their faces were veiled by cowry shell screens. "If you see their eyes, you will die!" shouted Remi above the cacophony.

Some Egungun whirled like dervishes, green, silver and yellow capes creating spinning circles. Some simply scared the crowd. Two bulky 'monsters' galloped into the arena sending people scattering into a banana grove. Tempers rose. Stick-bearers tried to stop the Egunguns' robes inauspiciously touching the living. It was Chinese masquerade meets the 'running of the bulls' at Pamplona. Before long, Remi and I were pinned against a wall by a hulking Egungun. Averting my eyes, it brushed its horsehair flywhisk across my face. "White man,' growled a deep baritone voice, before moving on.

On a high, I headed north to Abomey the next day. After two days in a taxi with a driver called Filbert, the coastal plain subsided to a rippling landscape of green bush and ochre roads, studded by granite hills. Hornbills glided across the road with greater ease than the struggling taxis-brousse (bush taxis) bearing chassis-bending loads of people and cargo bound for Cotonou. We passed coachloads of white-robed Christians fresh from celebrating the apparition of the Virgin Mary at Dassa-Zoume. The syncretism of Beninese religious life ensured some would be worshipping animist deities later that day.

KING GHEZO

In halcyon times, Abomey was capital of the feared Dahomey Kingdom (Benin's former name). Generations of Dahomian Kings fought internecine wars, maintained female Amazon warriors with a penchant for decapitation, and sold slaves to the Europeans to equip themselves militarily. But a crushing defeat to the French in 1892 saw most Dahomian palaces razed and the empire destroyed. These days Abomey is a backwater with little pomp or grandeur.

I'd come to see two surviving Unesco-listed Dahomian palaces: the 19th-century mud-walled palaces of Kings Ghezo and Glele, both packed with wonderfully macabre artefacts.

King Ghezo's intricately carved throne rests upon four skulls of rival chiefs while beyond all taste (amid fine Portuguese silks and British cut-glass decanters) is a royal flywhisk assembled from a human cranium attached to a horsetail. Elsewhere, I learnt that Gele's harem once overflowed with 4,000 brides - remarkably his libido and heart held out for 31 years of rule. In the inner sanctum of the Djeho Temple, built by Gele for his father Ghezo, the mortar is forged from the blood of 41 slaves.

Nowadays it's possible to meet the king of Dahomey and keep your head. Meeting a Beninese king is a real highlight and not difficult to arrange: bring something to toast him and present a gratuity of about US$25-50.

*Culled from Wanderlust travel magazine.

Monday, 28 December 2015

VILLAGE WOMEN PAINT VOODOO SYMBOLS ON THE WALLS OF THEIR VILLAGE.

I'd thoroughly recommend the Route des Esclaves (The Slave Route). It traces the final 3.5km walk made by thousands of slaves from Ouidah to the Atlantic coast, many dispatched long after abolition by Dom Francisco de Souza.
Remi, a local guide, showed me the marketplace where slavers bartered 15 male Africans for one cannon. At The Tree of Forgetfulness, Remi explained how "slaves would circle nine times to magically forget everything, so they weren't sad in their new lives."

Approaching the coast, sea breezes rustled coconut groves while crabs gnashed their claws amid mangroves. Beneath an archway on the shoreline, designed to symbolise 'The Gates of No Return', I watched the pummelling Atlantic surf churn grey with sediment and contemplated the terrified thoughts of captured Africans being paddled out to waiting slave galleons bobbing on the horizon.

Many of them exported their Voodoo culture to colonies such as Brazil and Haiti, and the longer I spent in Ouidah, the more the still thriving undercurrent of spirit-worship began to reveal itself.

A TRIP TO THE MARKET

Ouidah's market sells grotesque ritualistic accoutrements used in ceremonies. A musty odour reeks from dehydrated bits of crocodile snouts, hippos' feet, pigs' penises, whole chameleons, pangolins, and (look away pet-lovers) cat and dog heads.

Lit by pretty candlelight, the market by night is usually more palatable. Until one evening, while enjoying a fried fish and tomato-infused maize meal, a huge commotion occurred. Chasing a screaming, scattering crowd was a creature maybe 7m high, a masqueraded figure, totally black and oddly tubular.

Amid pandemonium, the lady serving my meal screamed, ducked under my table and grabbed my legs. I raised my camera but several men with panic-stricken expressions warned me not to. The figure disappeared into the night.

VOODOO DANCERS AT AN EGUNGUN CEREMONY.

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS

While Voodoo certainly isn't fiction here, witnessing it in action seems unlikely at first. In Cotonou, Benin's largest city, the tourist office told me to return in January, because I'd only see Voodoo at an annual festival in Ouidah offering choreographed ceremonies for Benin's trickle of largely French tourists. This is far from the truth. Beninese worship a pantheon of Voodoo deities and with a good guide and a few financial inducements, authentic ceremonies can be witnessed all year round.

With this knowledge I headed to Porto Novo, a lagoon-facing former French colonial city of 350,000 people, 40-minutes drive from busy Cotonou, and on the flat coastal plain of south Benin's Voodoo heartland.

An attractive city of spirits worshipped by the animist Goun people, Porto Novo's most visible ghosts are world-weary French houses with honey-coloured facades and peeling shutters, and I spent my first morning exploring its fine museums.

Kings are ten-a-penny in Benin although, as museum guide Mireille explained, Benin's monarchy endured a hiatus during French colonisation in the 1890s and its 30-year flirtation with Communism.

Porto Novo's ceremonial king no longer resides inside Honme's maze of red-earthen compounds. Nor does he take advantage of the royal bathhouse where two new queens were once prepared for the reigning monarch every 21 days, or the mysterious chambre noire where successive rulers consulted the spirits about their destiny. Its door was firmly shut.

Nearby, the hefty wooden doors of a curious-looking building shaped like an enormous haystack – the lodge of the god Zangbeto – were closed too.

Members of this secretive cult patrol Beninese streets after dark like unofficial police, dressing in haystack costumes and sporting sticks to beat unruly citizens. I walked around late every evening hoping to witness them, but I never did.

And then fate eventually smiled upon me. I met an English-speaking teacher called Yvette who took me to see a local Fa reader.

SUPREME BEINGS

In a cupboard-sized room, crammed with potions, the medium Casmin Fabiyi fingered his Fa beads (threads of eight wooden disks) like a rosary.

"The power of Mawa-Lissa (Voodoo's Supreme Being) sent Fa to earth as a medium to answer questions about the future," Yvette told me, also describing how the medium casts his beads into one of 256 positions that he then interprets as the word of his god.

DARK SECRETS: VOODOO IN BENIN REPUBLIC BY MARK STRATTON.

In the tiny West African nation of Benin, Voodoo remains the state religion. Enter a world of python temples, haystack cults and oozing fetish shrines...
  
Barefoot, I stepped onto a putrefying mound of candle wax, palm oil and the feathers and blood of sacrificed goats and chickens. I was ready to converse with the spirit god Dankoli. In a shady woodland glade before the charred tree-stump fetish, adorned with jawbones, I hammered a wooden peg into the gooey shrine. After beseeching the god to grant my wish, I sealed our deal by anointing the shrine with blood-red palm oil and spitting out three mouthfuls of fiery homemade gin.

"If your wish comes true," reminded Pascal, the Voodoo attendant, "you must return to sacrifice two chickens to Dankoli."

I won't reveal what I wished for. Anyhow this was not my real inspiration for visiting Benin, a peaceful democratic West African minnow squeezed between Nigeria and Togo. My true motivation was The Viceroy of Ouidah, a lyrical novella by Bruce Chatwin. Written nearly 30 years ago, it tells of Dom Francisco de Silva, a 19th-century Brazilian migrant who became Benin's most notorious slave trader.

Chatwin's narrative of bloodthirsty African kings, slavery, and French and Portuguese ambitions, is enthralling. Yet what really captivated me were the tales of Voodoo, a practice that is still followed by over 60% of Beninese today and considered the state religion.

*Culled from Wanderlust travel magazine.

Sunday, 27 December 2015

THE SAYINGS OF OUR ELDERS BY OLALEKAN ODUNTAN.

*Happiness is like a field you can harvest every season.
*An elderly man who wears corns round his waist makes himself the mockery of fowls.
*Those who waste time only hurt themselves.
*A good deed deserves something good in return.
*The man may be the head of the home but the wife is the heart.
*There is no medicine against old age.
*When your neighbor's horse falls into a pit, you should not rejoice at it, for your own children may fall into it too.
*Children are the reward of life.
*A lie can destroy a thousand truths.
*What is inflated too much will break into fragments.
*You don't need painkillers for another man's headache.
*What you don't want to eat should not be held close to the nose.
*We will water the thorn for the sake of the rose.

THE ANIMAL CALLED CHEETAH.

The Cheetah averages 4 strides per second or 1 stride per .28 seconds as the horse averages 1 stride per .44 seconds and can reach top speeds of 43 mph. The Cheetah can out run the horse going from 0-45 mph in 2 seconds flat, though this will not very last very long. The horse would inevitably win in the long run.
Cheetahs are equipped with several special features that are crucial in successful and efficient hunting. Binocular vision is a very important asset since Cheetahs rely on sight to hunt as opposed to scent. The retinal fovea of the eye is of an elongated shape, giving a sharp wide-angle view. This aspect of the eye is also adapted for speed. The dark "tear marks" on the Cheetahs face reduce glare from the bright sun also and aid in excellent vision. The Cheetahs will perch upon a fallen tree or rocky ledge to scope out the surroundings and potential prey. The Cheetah is also a very vocal animal. With the ability to mimic the calls of some birds, by displaying a high pitched chirping sound. When a bird falls for this deceiving call it will also fall prey to the sly Cheetah.
The Cheetah is a carnivorous animal and a diurnal hunter, which means it hunts during the day usually early morning and late afternoon. Cheetahs are solitary hunters except when living in a coalition. When this is the case they will hunt in groups so that they can take down larger prey. Unlike the common misconception, the Cheetah will pick out animals that have strayed from the herd as a target, not necessarily the weak or old. After chasing down and catching the prey, the Cheetah suffocates larger animals with a bite to the jugular and holding for as long as 15-25 minutes. Smaller animals are killed with a quick bite to the head usually killing them instantly. By this time the Cheetah is so tired from the chase that it must wait for as long as a half hour before consuming its meal, and could not fend off other predators, who might want to steal the Cheetah's dinner. The Cheetah's resting heart rate is approximately 120-170 beats per minute, while it's heart rate after a chase is 200-250 beats per minute. The Cheetah's resting breaths vary from 20-30 per minute depending on whether the Cheetah is in direct sunlight or in the shade, after a chase the Cheetah's breaths per minute are 150-200! When done resting the Cheetah will quickly eat, as they can not defend their food from other predators for this reason they will not bury the food and come back for another meal. Half of the Cheetah's hunts are successful, the other half are hard life lessons.

DIET

The Cheetah's diet consists of a wide range of prey from steenbok, rabbits, wildebeest calves, duikers, kudu, and impala to springbok, hartebeest, oryx, roan, sable, birds and warthog. The most preferred and most hunted by the cheetah however is the Thompson's Gazelle. Something about these graceful animals just makes a Cheetah's tummy roar! Cheetahs consume an average of 6-8 lbs. of food each day, and in some cases may go as long as 4-10 days with out water.

EXTINCTION IS FOREVER

The Cheetah is considered Endangered in Appendix 1 to the Conservation Of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Humans have been proven to be the most feared predator by the Cheetah. Living space and adequate food supply is being robbed from these innocent creatures. Farmland is expanding into the Cheetah's natural environment leaving the Cheetah to move on or be killed by paranoid farmers. A law was passed authorizing ranchers to shoot on sight any Cheetahs due to an alleged imposing threat to livestock. In 1980 alone ranchers killed a reported 6,829 Cheetahs. Poachers also pose a threat to the Cheetah, whose pelt was coveted and was doomed to become a fad. In the 1960's 1,500 Cheetah pelts each year were imported into the United States due to an accessory fad. It was considered hip and a sign of wealth to wear a Cheetah fur. The number of Cheetahs has consistently dropped every year since 1900. In 1900 there were over 100,000 Cheetahs, in 1970 the numbers plummeted to 20,000-25,000 Cheetahs, and to this day there are only 10,000 Cheetahs. One tenth of which live in captivity. Due to the unavailability of land and food and the dangerous threat brought on by ranchers and poachers the Cheetah's lifespan in the wild is 4-6 years, where as in captivity the Cheetah will live to 10-15 years old.
The cheetah, which has suffered a dramatic 90 per cent decline over the past century, becoming extinct in 18 countries of its original range, with less than 10,000 adults surviving in Africa and a meagre 50 in Asia, mainly around Iran's Kavir desert, due to severe habitat loss, over-hunting and poor breeding in captivity. November 2008 –The critically endangered cheetah, the world's fastest land animal, is set to obtain added international protection next week at a United Nations-backed conference seeking to strengthen conservation of species that often cross national borders.

THE ANIMAL CALLED CHEETAH.

REPRODUCTION

The Cheetah above all else is the most reproductive cat. Why then is it so endangered? The answer is two-fold. Cheetah cubs often fall prey to Lions, Jackals, Birds of Prey, and Hyenas, as the mother must leave them behind while hunting for food. Even if the mother was near, she could not fend off an animal as large as a Lion or Hyena, the Cheetah was built for running not fighting. 90% of Cheetahs born die with in the first 3 months, 50% of which are destroyed by predators. The other 40% fall victim to lack of genetic diversity. This is the second reason for their inability to survive. This genetic peril is responsible for weak and underdeveloped immune systems. Disease and illness attack a weak immune system, which in turn causes death. Most cubs do not even make it past 1 month old when this is the case.
After a gestation period of 90-95 days a female Cheetah will give birth to a litter of 3-5 cubs. The largest litter recorded in captivity was 8. The male Cheetah does not participate in the rearing of the cubs. The mother may leave the cubs for as long as 48 hours in order to hunt for enough food to sustain her in a lactating state. If the food supply is too scarce the mother may abandon the cubs, so as to maintain her way of life. Also if the litter is lost with in the first few weeks the female will come into estrus in the next few days. If this is not the case the mother will return and move the cubs from one location to another to better hide the smell of her young from predators. Sometimes the mother will even wait until night falls to return to her cubs, so that she is not as easily followed.

CUBS

The cubs are usually weaned at 6-8 weeks and will then leave the den and follow the mother from then on. If a young cub loses its original family, due to some great misfortune, it will find another family and join them despite the ill will from the new mother and being out cast by the new brothers and sisters. At 5 months old, the cubs are playing with one another, sharpening their stalking, chasing, and wrestling skills in a playful manner. At 6 months the mother Cheetah will fetch live prey injuring it and then giving it to the cubs so they may practice the art of the kill. At 8 months the cubs are chasing inappropriately large prey such as Giraffes. A Cheetah will not be a very skilled and efficient hunter until about 3 years of age. Cheetah cubs kill less than 10% of the prey, which the family feeds on. At 15-24 months the cubs will leave the mother, but may stay together for several more months. Young females will leave her brothers when they reach sexual maturity. Young males will travel far from parents and will lay claim to a territory as large as 300-800 square miles. Young females will stay closer to home and may even overlap territory with the mother.

SOCIAL SYSTEM

Female Cheetahs are solitary animals except when rearing a litter. Mothers with cubs will usually stay with in close proximity of one another. Females only come in contact with other Cheetahs in order to mate.
Males on the other hand will sometimes form coalitions of 2-3 in order to defend more land. These coalitions are mostly formed between brothers, but sometimes include outsiders. 30 % of coalitions are unrelated. Males are not territorial towards each other, but are in fact towards other males or coalitions. Due to coalitions fighting against one another the ratio has dropped to one male for every two females.

COMMUNICATION

Cheetahs communicate in many different ways. Some of these are through vocalizations such as purrs, bleats, barks, growls, hisses, and a high pitched chirping sound. Another way to communicate is through marking. A Cheetah will mark their territory by urinating or by cheek and chin rubbing. Saliva that is secreted contains the same chemical information about the animals, as does the urine. Cheetahs will mark territory so that they can better avoid one another.

HUNTING

The Cheetah is the fastest land animal, reaching a top speed of 70 mph! The Cheetah however can only run for short sprints of up to 300 yards. These sprints will usually last for 20 seconds, but rarely ever reach a full minute. Non-retractable claws and tough pads on their feet closely resemble that of a dog. These features offer better traction to get to those high speeds. A long heavy tail acts as a rudder for making those sharp turns while in pursuit. The Cheetah's long fluid body is set over extremely light bones, this accompanied with large nasal passages, and oversized lungs, liver, heart and adrenals enable rapid physical response. This response is imperative to accommodate the Cheetah's way of hunting. A strong spring-like spine gives added reach to the Cheetah's long legs. A stride is the measured distance between successive imprints of the same paw. With the added reach given by the spine 1 stride can stretch as far as 7-8 meters.

THE ANIMAL CALLED CHEETAH.

The word "Cheetah" is derived from the Hindi word "Chita" meaning "spotted one". The Cheetah is the fastest land animal reaching speeds of 45 – 70 mph. Cheetahs have also been known to swim, although they do not like to. The Cheetah is not one of the Great Cats, because it does not have a floating Hyoid bone in its neck it can not roar, therefore it is a Lesser Cat. Cheetahs have been considered through out history to be a sleek and beautiful cat.
Cheetahs have been in captivity for over 5,000 years and were first tamed by the Sumarians. By far the Cheetah has been considered the easiest of the exotic cats to tame. The Cheetahs were used as hunting partners for sport in Asia prior to Assyrian Dynasty in Libia, during the reign of the Pharaohs. Their keen eyesight played a major role, which aided in the hunt.
Cheetahs have also been pets to many people dating back to such historical figures as Gengis Khan and Akbar the Great of India and Mogul Emperor. Akbar (1555-1600 AD) had a collection of an estimated 6,000 Cheetah, which only produced one litter each year. 25% of Cheetah in captivity will breed more than once. This along with several other studies has proven the Cheetah does not breed well in captivity.
SUB-SPECIES
The Asiatic Cheetah-Acinonyx venaticus, was hunted to near extinction by the European and Asian royalty. Their beautiful pelt was a symbol of wealth and was worn proudly. Although the pelt was not coveted as that of the Leopard, these cats were almost completely destroyed. Today only an estimated 50 of this sub-species exist in small isolated groups scattered throughout Eastern Iran.
The King Cheetah was once considered it own species, however now it has been proven to be nothing more than a genetic mutation. King Cheetah originated from Central Africa, where they were used for hunting. These Cheetah were part of a breeding program to acquire genetic mutations, such as fur patterns, size, and rare and unusual color forms, with no regard to the genetic integrity of the species. This African Cheetah can only be found naturally in Zimbabwe and South Africa Transvaal Province providing that both of the parents carry the recessive gene.
APPEARANCE
The Cheetah is a tall and elegant cat in appearance. Large chest, narrow waist, long thin legs, and a slim well muscled build this animal was definitely made for speed. The Cheetahs coat varies from a tawny to golden tone covered in a pattern of solid black spots averaging .75″-1.5″ in diameter. The Cheetahs beautiful pelt became more protected in 1970, when the fur trade regulations were strengthened. The fur is coarse to the touch not silky as it appears. The Cheetahs long thick tail has spots, which turn into rings and at the end is tipped with white. The throat and abdomen are a creamy white in color. The Cheetah has a small head with high set eyes and short rounded ears tipped with white on the back. The most well known characteristic is however the distinct black "tear mark", which runs from the inside corner of the eye down to the corner of the mouth.
Cubs are born with a mantle of fur running from the back of the neck down to the rump. This clever disguise aids in camouflaging the kittens in the high grass while they are following their mother. This mane like feature begins to disappear at the age of 3 months, but still remains visible at 2 years of age. The fur color of a newborn cub is medium gray, which gradually evolves into the adult colors by the age of 4 months.
The King Cheetah has a fur pattern mutation, which turned the small rounded spots into large connected black patches. This mutation is caused from a lack of genetic diversity.
SIZE
The Cheetah weighs an average of 83-145 lbs., making them about the same weight as that of a leopard. The length of a Cheetah is approximately 70″-86″ from the tip of the nose to the end of the tail. Being an extremely tall cat the Cheetah stands at an average of 32″ tall.
Newborn cubs weigh an average of 5.25-10.5 oz. The body length of a cub is approximately 11.8″, which may vary.
HABITAT
The Cheetah prefers to live in open grasslands, savannas, dense vegetation, and sometimes even mountainous terrain. The open land of grasslands and semi-desert better accommodates the Cheetahs way of hunting, which is running as opposed to the stalk and pounce method. Namibia is home to the largest population of Cheetah at about 2,500 cats. Due to the continuous growth of farmland and expanding development 95% of the Namibian Cheetah live on cultivated farmland.
DISTRIBUTION.
The Cheetah was once widely distributed throughout Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Asia Minor, and even East of India. Fossils were recorded to be found from China, Northern India, Southern Europe, and as far as the Western United States. Sadly now the species is burning out and can be found sparsely scattered amongst Namibia, Kenya, Asia, as well as a handful of other small countries.








Friday, 25 December 2015

THE SAYINGS OF OUR ELDERS BY OLALEKAN ODUNTAN.


  • One of the sayings of our elders....The person who has light knee can survive longer.
  • One of the sayings of our elders.....Smoke does not affect honeybees alone, Honey gatherers are also affected.
  • One of the sayings of our elders.....Young growing cuttings determine a good harvest of cassava.
  • One of the sayings of our elders.....Words are like bullets; if they escape, you can't catch them again.
  • One of the sayings of our elders.....No matter how full the river, it still wants to grow.
  • One of the sayings of our elders.....The person who forgives gains a victory in the dispute.
  • One of the sayings of our elders.....Confiding a secret to an unworthy person is like carrying a grain in a bag with a hole.
  • One of the sayings of our elders.....A fool is like a wanderer lost a path.
  • One of the sayings of our elders.....Rising early makes the road short.
  • One of the sayings of our elders.....Only a medicine man gets rich by sleeping.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

ADIEU CHARLES UP!!!

Charles Up was an entertainer, a musician, a dancer and a choreographer in the entertainment world in Nigeria before the death took away from us last week. Amiable and thorough professional to the core while doing what he knew how to do best. Charles was a DJ in those days whose dancing skill was comparable to none. He tried his talent in singing which made him to do an album which enjoyed a lot of airplay on television back then. Charles was the official choreographer for Silverbird Productions that produced the Miss Nigeria Pageant which Miss Agbani Darego won and which later that same year made the beautiful queen won the Miss World Pageant. A multi talented personality, Charles Up still had much more to give us in terms of entertainment before death took him away from us. He was working with DTD, an entertainment company in Lagos organizing live and stage shows for musicians before his tragic death. He is survived by his wife and children. Adieu Charles Up!!!

NAMING CEREMONY IN YORUBA LAND BY OLALEKAN ODUNTAN.

When a child is born in Yoruba land, the father of the child approaches an Ifa priest to know about the destiny of the child known as "Akosejaye" . Consultation will first of all be made with the Ifa priest to know what and what to bring to enhance their findings. On the day of the divination, the parents of the child must have provided all the necessary requirements for the divination of Ifa to be smooth. What is Akosejaye? It is finding out about the destiny with which the child has brought to the world. Akosejaye means the destiny of the child. The Ifa priest will not only find out about the destiny of the child, Ifa will also delve into the kinds of food that the child should or should not eat when he or she grows up. Findings will also be revealed from Ifa to the parents about the colours of cloths that the child should or should not wear when he or she grows up. Ifa will talk about the kind of works the child should or should not do when he or she grows up. Ifa talks about successes, failures, marriage, children and the places that the child will be during his or her lifetime. It may also be revealed that the parents of the child should keep Ifa for the child and that they should be using certain things to appease it on behalf the child until he or she grows up. So before the child is grown up, the parents will be responsible for taking care of the Ifa for their child from time to time. Mention must also be made about the negative things which the child will experience in the course of growing up in life as time goes on. After findings from the Ifa priest, the christening of the child will now properly take place. It is the Ifa that will bring out the name with which to christen the child. Salt, honey, kola nuts, bitter kola and wine will be used to pray for the child by the elders present at the ceremony. And showers of blessing in form of prayers will be rained on the child from the Ifa priest and the parents of the child. The Ifa Corpuses with which the child has been born will be revealed to the parents of the child and this is the path which the child will follow when he or she grows up till death.

Monday, 21 December 2015

THE SAYINGS OF OUR ELDERS BY OLALEKAN ODUNTAN


    One of the sayings of our elders....The person who has light knee can survive longer.
    One of the sayings of our elders.....Smoke does not affect honeybees alone, Honey gatherers are also affected.
    One of the sayings of our elders.....Young growing cuttings determine a good harvest of cassava.
    One of the sayings of our elders.....Words are like bullets; if they escape, you can't catch them again.
    One of the sayings of our elders.....No matter how full the river, it still wants to grow.
    One of the sayings of our elders.....The person who forgives gains a victory in the dispute.
    One of the sayings of our elders.....Confiding a secret to an unworthy person is like carrying a grain in a bag with a hole.
    One of the sayings of our elders.....A fool is like a wanderer lost a path.
    One of the sayings of our elders.....Rising early makes the road short.
    One of the sayings of our elders.....Only a medicine man gets rich by sleeping.

      Sunday, 20 December 2015

      REVIEW OF PAIRING OGBE WITH OTHER IFA CORPUSES BY OLALEKAN ODUNTAN.

      Like i said in my last teachings when i talked about a line from Eji Ogbe Corpus pairing with other Corpuses of Ifa with the photographic demonstration of al the Corpuses of Ifa involved. The pairing and counting of the Corpuses are done from the left to the right. And the remaining five Corpuses are as follows: the tenth Corpus is called Ogbe Ika, the eleventh is called Ogbe Oturupon, the twelveth is called Ogbe Otura, the thirteenth is called Ogbe Irete, the fourteenth is called Ogbe Ose while the fifteenth paired Corpus is called Ogbe Ofun. We should be mindful that Ogbe is the dominant Corpus in this lesson pairing with all the other Ifa Corpuses to bring different messages to the fore from the divining chain of an Ifa priest. Next time, i will be pairing another Corpus with other Ifa Corpuses just as i have done in this concluded teaching.

      Saturday, 19 December 2015

      REVIEW OF PAIRING OGBE WITH OTHER IFA CORPUSES BY OLALEKAN ODUNTAN.

      In our previous lessons, these above Corpuses of Ifa were paired with Ogbe. And the paired Corpuses are numerically called the following names. The first is called Ogbe Oyeku, the second is called Ogbe Iwori, the third is called Ogbe Odi, the fourth is called Ogbe Irosun, the fifth is called Ogbe Osa, the sixth is called Ogbe Ogunda, the seventh is called Ogbe Owonrin, the eight is called Ogbe Obara while the nineth is called Ogbe Okanran. It should be noted that we count the paired Corpuses from the right. I will bring the remaining paired five Corpuses with Ogbe in my next teachings.

      Thursday, 17 December 2015

      THE SAYINGS OF OUR ELDERS BY OLALEKAN ODUNTAN



        One of the sayings of our elders.....The hyena with a cub does not consume all the available food.
        One of the sayings of our elders......A person who is not disciplined cannot be cautioned.
        One of the sayings of our elders......The brother or sister who does not respect the traditions of the elders will not be allowed to eat with the elders.
        One of the sayings of our elders.....God is a great eye. He sees everything in the world.
        One of the sayings of our elders......An okra tree does not grow taller than its master.
        One of the sayings of our elder......A cockroach wants to dance but the fear of the hen is the obstacle from performing its art.
        One of the sayings of our elders......No matter how long a log stays in the water, it doesn't become a crocodile.
        One of the sayings of our elders......A person who does not cultivate well his or her farm always says that it has been bewitched.
        One of the sayings of our elders......When two elephants fight, the grass gets hurt.
        One of the sayings of our elders......A child does not fear treading on dangerous ground until he or she gets hurt.
        One of the sayings of our elders......Slowly, slowly, porridge goes into the gourd.
        One of the sayings of our elders......The person who has a light knee can survive longer.









          Sunday, 13 December 2015

          THE SIGNIFICANCE OF CAPS AND HEADGEARS IN YORUBA LAND BY OLALEKAN ODUNTAN.

          The Yoruba culture and tradition are unique likewise our food and fashion despite the encroachment of modern civilization into them that has robbed us of most of our values and norms. In Yoruba land, a young person dares not greet an elderly person standing up because it is not only a taboo but an act of disrespect to such an elder. A male young person is expected to prostrate to an elderly person in greeting while a female young person also genuflects as a sign of greetings to such an elder. If you see an elderly person first thing, you as a young person will be the one to greet him or her. And anything short of that is unacceptable to the elders. And if any young person goes contrary to this norm, punitive measures await such an individual by the elders. The parents of such children face shame and disgrace because members of the society will label them as having not given their children good upbringing. Another important norm held in high esteem is seeing an elderly person carrying a load on his or her head and helping such an elderly person to carry the load to his or her destination which is something becoming a thing of the past in our society today. I will dedicate a whole write up on the Yoruba norms and values as a subject matter in my subsequent write up on this blog. Today, i want to talk about the significance of caps and headgears in Yoruba fashion. Caps and headgears make our native or traditional outfits very unique. And it unethical for a man to wear his Buba and Sokoto outfit without putting the cap known as Gobi on his head to match. Likewise a woman dressed in Buba and Iro outfit without tying the headgear known as Gele to match. There are so many different types of caps for men and headgears for women. This is a particular cap for men called Abetiaja sewn like a flapping dog's ears and this cap is worn to portray tradition and culture of the Yoruba people in any gathering. The Abetiaja cap is worn on the head when the man in question is dressed in a traditional or native outfit called Dansiki and Kembe. Caps for men also go with an outfit called Agbada style comprising of Sokoto, Buba and Agbada to have a complete outfit. A cap known as Gobi is always worn to match this gorgeous and flamboyant dressing. As for women or ladies, Gele or headgears can be tied on a woman head to form any shape or size depending on the name they want to call the style. There are so many styles that a woman's headgear can be used to shape such as Onilegoro, Butterfly, Overhead bridge and so many other names. There are specialized stylists whose jobs it is to tie these different types of headgears on the heads of the women and ladies. Testimony to this is when there is an event or a party that men and women have to attend together, they will all appear there in their different traditional attires with different caps and headgears to match on their heads. This is the best time and place to see the men in their colourful traditional outfits like Buba and Sokoto with a cap known as Gobi to match or Dansiki and Kembe with a cap sewn as a dog's flapping ears to match or Buba, Sokoto and Agbada with a cap also known as Gobi to match while their female counterpart will equally dress themselves in their Buba and Iro with a lot of display in different styles and shapes of colourful headgears on their heads. It is always a spectacle at times like this! The men and women always look like kings and queens when they wear caps and headgears respectively on their heads. In conclusion, men should embrace the habit of wearing caps on their heads whenever they dress in their traditional outfits while women on the other hand should also make it compulsory to tie their headgears whenever they also dress in their native attires because that is only time to market our culture and tradition. And there is nothing about it to be ashamed of. Like i said at the beginning of this write up, our culture and tradition are very unique, and it is up to us to promote them amongst ourselves by uplifting it to appreciable level universally because charity they say begins at home.

          Saturday, 12 December 2015

          PAIRING CORPUSES OF IFA TOGETHER AND THEIR MEANINGS BY OLALEKAN ODUNTAN

          These are the three Corpuses of Ifa which are left to be treated and paired with one of the two lines of Eji Ogbe and they are namely Irete, Ose and Ofun. But the moment they are paired with Ogbe, they are being referred to as Ogbe Irete, Ogbe Ose and Ogbe Ofun. It should be noted at this juncture that Ogbe that is the dominant Corpus in this lesson is the one pairing with other Corpuses for now. Next time, the dominant Corpus can be from any of other remaining fifteen Corpuses that we have not touched pairing with each other and having different meanings and interpretations. The profound knowledge is what an Ifa priest must acquaint himself with and know by heart before he can be successful in divining for people about the past, the present and the future. Any Ifa priest that does not know the meanings, applications and interpretations of so many different Corpuses of Ifa is not yet ready for the business of divination because it is like a farmer going to work on his farm without his necessary tools.

          Thursday, 10 December 2015

          THE SAYINGS OF OUR ELDERS BY OLALEKAN ODUNTAN.


            One of the sayings of our elders......When an enemy digs a grave for you, God gives you an emergency exit.
            One of the sayings of our elders......Better a curtain hanging motionless than a flag blowing in the wing.
            One of the sayings of our elders.......When the bag tears the shoulders get a rest.
            One of the sayings of our elders........If you educate a man, you educate one individual but if you educate a woman, you educate a family.
            One of the sayings of our elders.....The bush in which you hide has eyes.
            One of the sayings of our elders.....One battles willingly with cold water doesn't feel the cold.
            One of the sayings of our elders......If you refuse the elder's advice, you will walk the whole day.
            One of the sayings of our elders......The groin pains in sympathy with the sore.
            One of the sayings of our elders......Do not insult the hunting guide before the sun has set.
            One of the sayings of our elders......If an arrow has not entered deeply, then its removal is not hard.







              Wednesday, 9 December 2015

              BEFORE YORUBA HISTORY IS DISTORTED- BY ADEJARE IBRAHIM.

              All human beings are equal before God; the Almighty. He is our Sustainer. The Creator of the worlds. However, God in His infinite wisdom has created man and placed some above others. It is a providential design to achieve universal order, harmony and peace. He has placed the kings over their subjects to ensure coordination. I love history, and I loathe history being distorted. I am neither an ethnic chauvinist nor jingoist. But I have special affinity for history. It is worrisome when people concoct genres of myth in the face of impeccable facts. I wish to delve a bit into in the history of Obaship in Yorubaland ,with a special focus on His Imperial Majesty, The Alaafin of Oyo and His Royal Highness, The Ooni of Ile-Ife.
              History has been so kind and friendly to the Alaafin that he does not need to get into any battle for supremacy with any Oba, either in Yorubaland or anywhere in the universe. No other Oba had combined humility with royalty to meet the demands of modernity like the incumbent Alaafin of Oyo, His Imperial Majesty, Kabiyesi Iku Baba Yeye,Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III .
              According to impregnable sources of Yoruba history, Oduduwa is the ancestor of the Yorubas. Oduduwa gave birth to a son, Okanbi. Okanbi gave birth to seven male children (Oranmiyan, Olowu, Alaketu, Onisabe, Orangun, Olupopo, Oba Benin). Nowhere in history is Ooni mentioned as one of the Yoruba Royal Families. The Ooni is no blood relation of the seven sons of Okanbi. Historically, Ooni has no traditional or political authority in the Yoruba hierarchy. Riches and political fame of the Ooni from 1954_when Ooni Adesoji Aderemi was made the Governor of Western Region by the Awolowo Administration cannot undo the pristine history or invalidate the truth about the Yoruba race.
              History has acquainted us with copious facts that Ooni is known to have been appointed by the Alaafin as the custodian and keeper of the rituals and oratory of the gods in Ile-Ife. The stool of Ooni was never known to be big on hereditary kingship. Oonis have been the descendants of Adimu the Olorisa, instead of being the direct descendants of Oduduwa. The Alaafins of Oyo have been the paramount kings and rulers of the Yorubas. Alaafin, in recognition of his leadership,had intervened in numerous boundary disputes involving the territories of the Ooni and Owa Obokun of Ijeshaland
              Some years back, when Oba of Benin visited Ile-Ife, the comments made by Ooni Sijuade (I am happy to welcome back my son and brother to the land of our ancestor, Oduduwa) was quickly refuted by the Oba , through his response:"who is the son of who?"
              Moreover, The British as it was in their tradition recognized lineage as meaning supremacy and legitimacy, preferring to sign the Treaty of Cessation with the Alaafin as the Head of the Yoruba Nation.
              Also, on August 8th,1960, when Sir Adesoji Aderemi held sway as the Ooni of Ife, Alaafin Bello Gbadegesin Ladigbolu II was appointed the Chairman of the Council of Obas for two years, Oba Adesoji never batted an eyelid. In 1962, when Ooni had ceased to be Governor, he reverted to his traditional stool and was attending the meetings of Obas which had The Alaafin as the Chairman. When the first term of Alaafin Gbadegesin expired, he was reappointed for another two-year term. The Alaafin was reappointed for the third time in 1965 until the military struck.
              In 1966, Lt Colonel Adeyinka Adebayo made the Ooni Chairman and the Alaafin his Deputy. Only the Alaafin,among other Obas, protested the awkward appointment and sought redress, as Alaafin does not play a second fiddle to any Oba in Yorubaland. In 1976, the military government had to reinstate the Alaafin as the Chairman of the Council.
              It is also a distortion to address the Ooni as "His Imperial Majesty". This is another gaffe! Only the Alaafin is addressed as His/Your Imperial Majesty. You cannot assume the title when you have no empire you rule over. Alaafin ruled over a vast empire (From Ilorin to Dahomey and to some parts of Ghana; Ashanti) while Ooni did not have that royal privilege.The Ooni is better addressed as His/Your Royal Highness. This is history,my people!
              The preeminence and supremacy of the Alaafin is obvious from the above assertions and as deeply espoused in many Yoruba books of history. We should not distort the history by pitching the Alaafin against the Ooni. Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi made an unequivocal statement on his coronation day that he was not into any supremacy contest with the Alaafin. Therefore, Alaafin remains the undisputed leader of all Yoruba monarchs.

              Monday, 7 December 2015

              PAIRING CORPUSES OF IFA TOGETHER AND THEIR MEANINGS BY OLALEKAN ODUNTAN.

              The lesson today is still on pairing Eji Ogbe with other Corpuses of Ifa just as i have shown to us in the previous lessons. But today, i am pairing Eji Ogbe with some other four Corpuses and they are namely OSA, IKA, OTURUPON AND OTURA. If one Corpus of Eji Ogbe is paired with One Corpus of Osa, the fact that Ogbe is dominant, the two paired Corpuses will be referred to as Ogbe Osa. Likewise if Ogbe is paired with Ika, the two Corpuses will be referred to as Ogbe Ika. When Ogbe is paired with OTURUPON, the two be referred to as Ogbe Oturupon. When Ogbe is paired with Otura, the two shall be referred to as Ogbe Otura. All these four Corpuses of Ifa have meanings, historical background and praises attached to them. And they also have sacrifices that an Ifa priest will request an individual to do in case any of the Corpuses comes out during consultation and divination with the Oracle. The Corpuses and their meanings are known only to the Ifa priest and he is an authority to interpret the messages from them to the people. Any Ifa priest must be very knowledgeable enough to interpret the Corpuses very well because mistakes through wrong interpretation can affect the life and progress of an individual, a village, a town or a nation. Just like i said in the past, the Ifa Oracle talks about the happenings of the past, the present and the future. And the accuracy and exactness with which messages are delivered is wonderful. Next time, i shall bring the remaining four Corpuses that i am pairing together with Ogbe and their meanings. Thank you!

              Saturday, 5 December 2015

              PAIRING OF CORPUSES OF IFA TOGETHER AND THEIR MEANINGS BY OLALEKAN ODUNTAN.

              The four Corpuses that i will be pairing together with Eji Ogbe today are Irosun, Obara, Okanran and Ogunda. These Corpuses are usually in two but while pairing any one of them with another Corpus, its name and meanings change completely. It should be noted that only one of two Corpuses of Ifa is taken and joined with another dominant one to form the pair. And another important thing is that the dominant Corpus is much more powerful and stronger in meanings than the joined one. The Ifa priest must consult with his divining chain to know what the Oracle says before the chanting and explanation of the Corpuses can take place. The four Corpuses that i am showing people today are Ogbe Irosun, Ogbe Obara, Ogbe Okanran and Ogbe Ogunda. I have paired one line of Eji Ogbe with one line of each of Corpuses like Irosun meji, Obara meji, Okanran meji and Ogunda meji together to form different meanings. Like i said in my previous teachings, we are treating sixteen Corpuses of Ifa on this particular subject matter, and we have only treated eight of them. So, there are eight more Corpuses to go. Next time, i shall be looking at the remaining Corpuses regading pairing with Eji Ogbe. Once again, the Corpuses of Ifa we looked at today are Ogbe Irosun, Ogbe Obara, Ogbe Okanran and Ogbe Ogunda.

              Friday, 4 December 2015

              PAIRING CORPUSES OF IFA TOGETHER AND THEIR MEANINGS BY OLALEKAN ODUNTAN.

              IFA ORACLE has two hundred and fifty six corpuses and each of them has different messages and historical meanings attached to it. When any indication or corpus of Ifa appears on the wooden tray of an Ifa priest, he chats its praise and goes to the historical background and meaning of the appeared Corpuses. Any Corpus of Ifa can be paired with another Copus to form a joint meaning with a different message entirely. In today's teaching, i am pairing the Corpus of Ifa called Eji Ogbe with other Corpuses to form dual messages and interpretations. In Ifa Oracle, pairing one Corpus with another is a norm but it is not the Ifa priest that will pair them together. The pairing appears when he is divining with his divining chain or Opele. The first Corpus on the picture is called Ogbe Oyeku while the second one is called Ogbe Iwori. The third Corpus is called Ogbe Odi while the fourth is called Ogbe Irosun. These four Corpuses have different interpretations and deep meanings attached to them. The unique and interesting thing about Ifa Oracle is that it talks about the past, the present and the future with delving into the historical occurrences related to the appeared Corpus. In the next lesson, i will talk about more Corpuses of Ifa pairing with Eji Ogbe and their interpretational meanings. Actually there are twelve Corpuses more to go on this particular subject matter. Thank you all.

              Wednesday, 2 December 2015

              ELUBO OR YAM POWDER BY OLALEKAN ODUNTAN.

              Elubo or Yam powder is a food substance that is used in preparing Amala and it is a kind of food from Oyo state, south west of Nigeria. Amala is eaten with so many different types of soup but the favourite soup with which it.is eaten a lot is called Gbegiri and Ewedu soup. Gbegiri is a soup made from the red beans while Ewedu is a draw soup made from Ooyo leaves. These two soups are combined together to eat Amala which is a popular food in Yoruba land. Yam powder substance is made from the peels of yam which are dry in the sun very well before grinding it at the miller to achieve the eventual powdery substance. Amala is made by putting water on the fire to get well boiled. After, the yam powder is added and stirred till thickened and blend together very well to have well blended Amala without lumps. Amala is not only eaten by the Yoruba people alone today, it has become a cuisine accepted both locally and internationally. Although, Amala is seen as a solid food, but it is a kind of food which can be eaten at any time of the day because it digests very easily in the body. Amala is a delicacy if it is eaten with bean and draw soup together combined with a lot of bush meat to go with it! As a matter of fact, it is always a wonderful eating experience. There are two types of Yam powder used in making Amala. The first one is called Elubo Lafun and it is whitish in colour. It is from Abeokuta while the second one is called Elubo Isu from Oyo state which is brownish in colour. The two are very good, it just a matter of choice and preference. A visit to so many Yoruba local food canteens around will show that Amala is a food sought after as we see people patronizing to eat either the white Amala or the brown one. As a full fledged Yoruba man myself, i love eating Amala too any day or any time because it is a delicacy.
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