Olowu, Gbenga O.
Yoruba land is rich in culture and value; it is a land of peace and honour. As a matter of reality, among numerous cultures of the planet earth, Yoruba land has a coherent relationship with Biblical and Quranic order of living a peaceful and well cultured life.
One of the most valued norms in Yoruba culture is the presence of Alarina (An intermediary) between lovers. This is an individual any of the lovers is expected to approach before getting to the main person. As funny as it may sound, does it mean the man cannot approach the lady himself? Absolutely no, it was not seen that way. It’s rather seen from the perspective of consultation; you as a man will get yourself visiting a friend of yours or friend of your desired lady who will eventually be the Alarina not because you are shy or scared, but simply to know more about the lady (family) you want to make as your life time partner. The Alarina is therefore always someone that knows the lady and her family much more than you do. A lady’s family can also have an Alarina which will be between their family and the groom’s to be family for more details about them.
Major roles of Alarina in Yoruba culture
Alarina helps to know the family background: Yoruba culture believes in the fact that some families are embedded with some specific problems. Some families have a history of death at early age, some is madness, some is barrenness, and some is unfaithfulness and so on. These are major things expected of Alarina to help clarify before there can be anything called wedding. There are some families that have specific rituals either immediately after wedding or birth, and this ritual at the other hand may be an abomination. Alarina is expected to reveal these things to the person before taking a blinded journey to a ‘journey of no return’. The absence of Alarina in the contemporary relationships can be the basis of how and why many keep missing the road. Many relationships hardly have foreknowledge of the kind of person he or she is dealing with, likewise the family background which can in turn be a disaster.
At the other hand, Alarina helps to know the person in question. It is one thing to know the family background; it is another to understand the individual in question. Alarina can help to reveal the history of the desired individual; he or she can go as far as sharing relationship history as well as likes and dislikes. Alarina can equally share believes and ideology of the desired person. All these are expected to make the person assess himself if he is really fit for the lady or if the lady fits in for him beyond beauty. How much do you know about your present partner’s past? The possibility of most partners sharing their past is low in this generation and it in turn tears homes apart.
Alarina makes the ‘job’ easier: The Alarina helps in organizing meetings and in most cases if the Alarina sees that the lady is turning up, he/she can go further in giving tips to the man on how to finally win her heart.
Note: After the provision of these functions accordingly, the Alarina is expected to give total and absolute space between the new lovers. Having Alarina as the third party in your relationship can be most times destructive; they are best needed and valued before anything called affairs.