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storms, cemeteries, marketplace
Member of Orisha
Iansã Sculpture at the Catacumba Park, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Other names Oyá or Oiá; Yansá or Yansã; and Iansá or Iansã
Venerated in Yoruba religion, Umbanda, Candomble, Santeria, Haitian Vodou, Folk Catholicism
Symbol lightning, the sword or machete, the flywhisk, water buffalo
Color purple or burgundy, the rainbow
Region Nigeria, Benin, Latin America
Ethnic group Yoruba

Oya (Yoruba: Ọya, also known as Oyá or Oiá; Yansá or Yansã; and Iansá or Iansã in Latin America) is an Orisha of winds, lightning, and violent storms, death and rebirth.[1] She is similar to the Haitian god Maman Brigitte, who is syncretised with the Catholic Saint Brigit.

In Yoruba, the name Oya literally means "She Tore".[2] She is known as Ọya-Iyansan – the "mother of nine." This is due to the Niger River (known to the Yoruba as the Odo-Ọya) traditionally being known for having nine tributaries.[3]


In Candomblé, Oya is known as Oiá, lyá Mésàn, or most commonly, Iansã, from the Yoruba Yánsán. Iansã, as in Yoruba religion, commands winds, storms, and lightning. She is the queen of the River Niger, and the mother of nine. She is a warrior and unbeatable. Attributes of Iansã including great intensity of feeling, sensations, and charm. Another ability attributed to Iansã is control over the mysteries that surround the dead.[4] Iansã is syncretized with Saint Barbara.[5] In the Candomblé nação (association) of Angola Congo, Iansã is associated with the color red.[6]


  • Salutation: "Eeparrei!", or "Epahhey, Oia!"
  • Consecrated day: Wednesday
  • Colors: Brown, red, pink, and white
  • Symbols: eruquerê, a ritual object; or a copper sword
  • Prohibitions: pumpkin, stingray, and mutton
  • Food: acarajé[7]

Ritual foods[edit]

Acarajé, a ball formed from crushed or peeled beans and fried in dendê (palm oil) is a traditional offering to Iansã in the Candomblé tradition of Brazil. A simple, unseasoned form of acarajé is used in rituals, and a version served with various condiments is sold as a common street food in Bahia in the northeast of Brazil. Ipeté and bobo de inhame are also associated with Iansã.[6]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Adeoye, C. L. (1989). Ìgbàgbọ́ àti ẹ̀sìn Yorùba (in Yoruba). Ibadan: Evans Bros. Nigeria Publishers. p. 303. ISBN 9781675098. 
  2. ^ David W. Machacek and Melissa M. Wilcox, eds. (2003). Sexuality and the World's Religions. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9781576073599. Retrieved 2012-09-24. 
  3. ^ A Bahia de Santa Bárbara Archived 2005-11-22 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Obaràyí : babalorixá Balbino Daniel de Paula. Salvador, Bahia, Brasil: Barabô Design Gráfico e Editora. 2009. p. 568. ISBN 9788562542008. 
  5. ^ Henry, Clarence Bernard (2008). Let's Make Some Noise: Axé and the African Roots of Brazilian Popular Music. Jackson, Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi. ISBN 9781604730821. 
  6. ^ a b Barbosa, Ademir (2015). Dicionário de Umbanda. São Paulo: Anubis. pp. 108–109, 240. ISBN 9788567855264. 
  7. ^ Araujo, Carlos de (1993). ABC dos orixás (in Portuguese). Rio de Janeiro, RJ: Nordica. pp. 72–74. ISBN 9788570072252.