Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964623 | Print ISBN: 9781412936361 | Online ISBN: 9781412964623| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The term orisha refers primarily to the indigenous deities of the Yoruba people of southwestern Nigeria, but also extends beyond this ethnic group. Some of the Yoruba orisha—such as Ifa, Ogun, Shango, Eshu, and Olokun—appear in the religion of the Bini of southeastern Nigeria (who also call them orisha), in the religion of the Ewe, and among the Fon of the Benin Republic, who call them voduns. Although there is much variation in the details of the rituals and mythology of these deities among these West African peoples, the underlying religious concept is essentially the same. During the 18th and 19th centuries, thousands of Yoruba, Bini, Ewe, and Fon people were enslaved, uprooted, and imported to the Americas. In some locations in the Caribbean Islands and South America, they were able to reestablish the worship of the orisha and maintain it during slavery and after its abolition. In these places, ...