Sanponna / OBALUAYE (small intro and myth)

Sanpona, referred to as the divinity of Small pox was divined aspect of communal diseases- Epidemics.


 In other to prevent epidemics like small pox, chicken pox, measles and other deadly diseases, this divinity is worshiped among the Yoruba. 


The concept Sanpoona was developed among the Yoruba when they began to live in close communities within large cities. 


That period is identified as the Oduduwa Age and cities affected were initially, probably, in the northern areas of the Oyo kingdom.



The name Sanpoona itself indicates a Nupe Origin and means, at least in Yoruba, Smallpox. 


The Yoruba considered any feverish attack manifesting alongside with rashes as smallpox.



 Since chicken pox and rubella have similar presentation the name Sanpoona is not specific for small pox.


 Epidemics of fever and skin rashes were dreaded in traditional Yoruba society as a divine visitation. 


Consequently the terms like Ile Gbigbona (Hot Earth), Olode ( the scourge in town) were substituted for the word Sanponna.



The tutelary deity of the Sanponna cult was called Obaluaye (Universal king) no doubt because rapid dissemination of contagion and the resultant mortality and morbidity.



 In other words, the epidemic was regarded as an evidence of displeasure. 


This is reminiscent of the ancient Israelite attitude to Leprosy.

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