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This article is about the spirit. For other uses, see Shango (disambiguation).
Thunder, lightning, justice, dance, virility
Member of Orisha
Day fourth day of the week
Color red and white
Region Nigeria, Benin, Latin America
Ethnic group Yoruba people, Fon people

Shango (Yoruba language: Ṣàngó, also known as Changó or Xangô in Latin America; and also known as Jakuta)[1] (from '=shan, 'to strike') is an Orisha. He is syncretized with either Saint Barbara or Saint Jerome. Shango is historically a royal ancestor of the Yoruba as he was the third Alafin (king) of the Oyo Kingdom prior to his posthumous deification.

Historical Shango[edit]

Following Oranmiyan, and Ajaka, Jakuta was the third Alafin of Oyo.[1] Jakuta brought prosperity to the Oyo Empire during his reign.[2] In Professor Mason's mythological account of heroes and kings, contrary to his peaceful brother Ajaka, Jakuta (meaning: someone that fought with stones) was a powerful and even violent ruler. He reigned for seven years the whole of which period was marked by his continuous campaigns and his many battles. The end of his reign resulted from his own inadvertent destruction of his palace by lightning. During his lifetime, he was married to three wives namely Oshun, Oba, and Oya. The worshiping of the Sango deity in Yoruba land is actually the fifth day of the week in which is named Ojo Jakuta. The worshipers worship with varieties of edible foods such as: Guguru,Bitter cola, prepared Amala and Gbegiri soup and the likes. Also, it is worshiped with Bata drum. One significant thing about this Deity is that it is worshiped using red clothings, Just as he is said to have admired red attires during his lifetime. [3]

Veneration of Sango[edit]

In the Americas[edit]

Shango is venerated in Santería and Haitian Vodou as "Chango". In Haïti, he is from the "Nago" Nation, as Ogou. Palo recognizes him as "Siete Rayos", while in Candomblé this Orixa is referred to as "Xango".

In Nigeria[edit]

The Sango (god of Thunder ) worshippers in Yorubaland in Nigeria do not eat cowpea because they believe that the wrath of the god of iron would descend on them.[4]

The Sango god necklaces are composed in varying patterns of red and white beads; usually in groupings of four or six which are his "sacred numbers". Ceremonies for Sango devotees in the New World are focused on achieving power and control over their lives.

In Popular Culture[edit]

The song "Mama Loi, Papa Loi" by Bahamian musician Exuma includes the lines "Come on Shango, Satan come to me/Let me speak what I can't see". [5][6]


  1. ^ a b Bascom, William Russell (1980). Sixteen Cowries: Yoruba Divination from Africa to the New World. Indiana University Press. p. 44. ISBN 0-253-20847-5. 
  2. ^ Lum, Kenneth Anthony (2000). Praising His Name in the Dance. Routledge. p. 231. ISBN 90-5702-610-4. 
  3. ^ Johnson, History of the Yorubas, 149-152.
  4. ^ Onifade, Olasunkanmi Adeoye (2006). ". Perception of Health educator about the effects of food taboos and fallacies on the health of Nigerians." (PDF). Educational Research and Development (JOERD): 44–50. Retrieved 13 May 2016. 
  5. ^
  6. ^


  • Johnson, Samuel, History of the Yorubas, London 1921 (pp. 149–152).
  • Lange, Dierk: "Yoruba origins and the 'Lost Tribes of Israel'", Anthropos 106 (2011), 579-595.
  • Law, Robin: The Oyo Empire c. 1600 – c. 1836, Oxford 1977.
  • Seux, M.-J., Épithètes royales akkadiennes et sumériennes, Paris 1967.
  • Tishken,Joel E., Tóyìn Fálọlá, and Akíntúndéí Akínyẹmí (eds), Sàngó in Africa and the African Diaspora, Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2009.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]