The Yoruba tribal marks are scarifications which are specific identification and beautification marks designed on the face or body of the Yoruba people.
The tribal marks are part of the Yoruba culture and are usually inscribed on the body by burning or cutting of the skin during childhood.The primary function of the tribal marks is for identification of a person’s tribe, family or patrilineal heritage.
Other secondary functions of the marks are symbols of beauty, Yoruba creativity and keeping mischievous children alive (ila Abiku).
This practice was popular among Yoruba people of Nigeria, Benin, and Togo. During the trans-Atlantic slave trade, tribal identification and facial stripes became important.
Some repatriated slaves later reunited with their communities by looking at facial stripes.
But today, The use of tribal marks as a means of identification and beautification among the Yoruba tribe is no longer a norm and some Yoruba States have enacted certain laws that prohibit the use of the marks. Violators of the law are liable to fines or imprisonment (or both).
In Oyo State, for example, the prohibition of tribal marks is an integral part of the state Child Rights Law, a law that imposes a fine or one-month imprisonment or both for violation.
According to the law “No person shall tattoo or make a skin mark or cause any tattoo or skin mark to be made on a child”.
REASON FOR TRIBAL MARK IN YOURUBA LAND
Tribal marks in Nigeria have always been a significant part of our culture. Yoruba land is one of the cradles of this practice. the bearer of the mark as one of the family or clan members. People may have different types of marks according to their villages and families origin.
2. Religion and Spiritual Protection
Some facial marks can be identified as part of religious practices. In some parts of Yoruba land tribal marks on the face are believed to grant spiritual power to children, protect a child from evil spirits and stop death from taking the child at the very young age.
3. Healing Purposes
One of the most unusual meanings associated to tribal marks is connected to traditional healing practices. Healers in some tribes mark children faces and bodies to help them to recover. It was used to treat children with measles, pneumonia, and convulsion. The healing marks could be made on any part of the body. These marks are very small and often difficult to spot.
4. Beautification Purposes
Tribal marks in Nigeria were also used for beautification purposes. Traditional men and women believed that tribal marks made them look more attractive.
Can you inscribe TRIBAL MARK on your children face?
Source: Akinlabi Segun O
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