Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Ìkúnlẹ̀ Abiyamọ (kneeling posture of a woman in labour)

Ìkúnlẹ̀ Abiyamọ (kneeling posture of a woman in labour)…

Before the coming of the British, the main birthing position for a woman in Yorubaland was kneeling down. This posture is rarely used these days except among those who value its importance in our culture.

It is not only cultural but also very convenient. The very act of birthing a child whilst kneeling down shows both submission and gratitude to mother nature.

Motherhood is very important in Yoruba culture because mothers are the building blocks of the society.

The act of a woman kneeling down is sacred in Yoruba tradition. When a woman says 'Mo fi ìkúnlẹ̀ abiyamọ bẹ̀ yín o' (I beg you with the kneeling posture of a woman in labour), only the hard-hearted and a very wicked Yoruba person will fail to grant her request!

The Ìkúnlẹ̀ Abiyamọ motif features greatly in Yoruba visual art. Most irọkẹ Ifá (Ifá divination tapper) and agere Ifá (Ifá divination bowl) have it. It celebrates the important role women play in Yoruba society - that of a life giver.

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