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Word Count: 434
The Yoruba are unusual in Africa in their tendency to form urban communities Today many of the large cities in Nigeria including Lagos Ibadan and Abeokuta are in Yorubaland The old Yoruba kingdom of Oyo was traditionally one of the largest states of West Africa It dominated both Benin and Dahomey but after 1700 its power slowly waned At the beginning of the 19th century Fulani invasions slave raids from Dahomey and the growing contact with Europeans divided the Yoruba into a number of small states In the second half of the 19th century The Yoruba gradually fell under British control and they were under direct British control from 1893 until 1960 Yoruba religion includes a variety of gods Vestiges of Yoruba culture are also found in Brazil and Cuba where Yoruba were imported as slaves Like many West African people the Yoruba practice several religions but none can be declared their universal belief Many of the Yoruba people in todays societies have converted to Islam or christianity The idea that is present here is called orisa Orisa is the traditional Yoruba religion that has been practiced for generations in Yoruba At its essence are the notions of play and journey First there is the concept of play The meaning of play has completely different meanings for the Yoruba than for the western cultures In fact the Yoruba notion of play is very serious indeed and is at the heart of their most sacred rituals and their everyday lives Play is both relaxing and hard work at the same time and should never be considered as a simple prank Along with mischeivousness or acting on impulse is a central characteristic of Yoruba play Although the notion of play combines the two ideas into one it is improvisation that clearly distinguishes the Yoruba rituals f rom any other West African practices The Yoruba egungun and many other festivals like it are performed in the exact same
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