Gelede Masks

Some say that the Gelede tradition stemmed from some decisions made by Yemoja – the Orisa (deity) who is considered to be the mother of all Orisas, and the goddess of the Ogun Rivers and all water. Yemoja is said to have made an appeal to the Ifa oracle to help her resolve the difficulties she was having with conception. Through Ifa consultation, Yemoja was advised to participate in a sacrificial ceremony in which she would place wooden artefacts on her head and dance. As a result of the ritual, Yemoja became pregnant and birthed a male child who came to be known as ‘Efe’. She later birthed a female child who came to be known as ‘Gelede’.