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The Twin Taboo in Igbo Culture
Transcript of The Twin Taboo in Igbo Culture
Having twins in Igbo culture was highly taboo at and before the time the first part of
Things Fall Apart
Women of West African decent are actually the most likely to naturally have twins.
The Yoruba, neighbors of the Igbo, believed twins were to be treated with high respect for the same reason the Igbo feared them.
This project illustrates the reasons for the Igbo twin taboo while comparing it to other cultures at that time that eventually caused the Igbo people to reject past practices
Why Were Twins Feared?
Twins were considered demonic abominations. It was believed that twins upset the Earth diety and would bring bad luck to the clan. They supposedly had supernatural powers that could destroy the society.
What Did Christian Missionaries Do About It?
Christian missionaries were in Africa as early as the year 197. Mary Slessor (1848-1915) was a very prominent name in the fight against "twin-killings" and worked very hard to stop them.
If twins were born in Umuofia or any other Igbo clan before the rise of Christian missionaries, one or both twins would be cast away.
Today, artificial fertilization used for couples who can not naturally have children greatly increases the likelihood for twins.
The Igbo people valued themselves as being above animals. One of the main distinguishing characteristics for animals to the Igbo people was the way most animals birthed litters. To have
was in a sense lowering people to the standards of animals.
Christian missionaries believed the practice of twin killing went against the Christian god.
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