Friday, May 18, 2012

The Feast of Twins

I have seriously neglected this blog, and I've pondered what I should do with it (I at least need to change some of the information up top, that is outdated), but... at least for now, I was actually inspired to write a post :-p 

Image by David Castillo Dominici at
 A friend passed along some info that, according to Pagan lore, today (May 18th) is know as the "Feast of Twins." And that, on this day, festivals honoring twins are held in the African republic of Nigeria, because the Yoruba people in particular, hold a wide belief that all twins are born with magical/supernatural powers.

I haven't been able to confirm this just yet... a quick online search didn't bring up anything, but I'm gonna keep digging :-D However, I'm definitely familiar with the Yoruba people, who have a big twin connection...

While the birth rate of monozygotic (identical) twins is relatively constant worldwide (approximately 4 per 1000 births), the rate for dizygotic (fraternal) twins varies widely. The incidence of dizygotic twin births in much of Africa is significantly greater than in the United States, with the highest incidence among the Yoruba peoples of Nigeria, with a frequency of 45 per 1000 births. In fact, the Yoruba town of Igboora boasts of a twin birth rate average of 150 per 1000 births, and is therefore considered the twin capital of the world.

Now, while there is no scientifically proven explanation of why the birthrate for twins is so high among the Yorubas, a possible cause is their large consumption of yams. Yams, especially those found in that region of the world, contain phytoestrogens, which is believed to be a possible cause of hyperovulation (the releasing of more than one egg in a menstrual cycle) in some women. 

Again, I haven't been able to find any info just yet on an actual Feast of Twins day, but the birth of a particular set of twins is celebrated in Yorubaland, with the whole town having a feast when they are born to prominent members of the tribe. And, the Yorubas do hold twins in high regard... they believe that twins have the power to bring health and happiness to a family... although, they also have the power to bring distress and destruction. (Sounds about right :-p)

So, whether or not today is an actual "Feast of Twins" day, I think it's as good a day as any to celebrate what I consider to be the most magical blessing in my life. Maybe with some sweet potato casserole?