8 things you must not do inside Oba of Benin’s palace

Oba of Benin

Although not all
visitors are granted audience with the Oba
of Benin
, quite a number of people are allowed to tour specific areas of
the palace.
However, if you are a
visitor to Benin City, and you are
lucky to tour the Oba’s Palace alone, these are the eight things you must not
do.


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  • Pointing – Pointing fingers at any of
    his Chiefs is not allowed at the Oba’s Palace. The Oba himself does not point
    fingers at anyone as well, except in a bid to bless or curse another
    individual.
  • Whistling!
    Whistling might seem like a simple and harmless act, but when in Benin City,
    especially at the palace, this is considered rude. Based on superstition, the
    people of Benin believe whistling to
    be medium through which mortals can call the spirits and the dead.TheOba palace
    houses over 3000 deities and mysticisms with spirits attached to them. It is
    believed that when a person whistles in the palace, there is no control over
    which spirit or group of spirits that could be invited into the ambience to
    start manifesting.
  • Opening
    Umbrella during Festivals
    —Umbrellas are festooned to offer
    protection from harsh weather conditions such as rain or sun, however if you are
    visiting Benin and you plan to attend a festival, be prepared to stand through
    any condition the weather throws at you without protection because during major
    festivals such as the Igwe festival, the Oba of Benin is the only one whose head
    can be covered with an umbrella. The palace Chiefs are expected to leave their
    umbrella at the palace gate during festivals.
  • Black
    Apparel
    —Black as a color typifies mourning in many cultures
    and in Benin culture, it is a taboo for the Oba to mourn, no matter the circumstances he is not allowed to set
    eyes on the color black. As a result anyone wearing black attire is not allowed
    entrance into the palace, especially if the person has the intention of gaining
    an audience with the Oba or there is
    a high chance of the person crossing paths with the Oba.
  • Dogs.
    In the pre-colonial times, after human sacrificed was abolished, dogs were used
    in many communities as substitutes to human offerings or just for special sacrifices.
    If you have visited the Oba’s palace,
    you will discover that dogs, on their own, as though they have a premonition do
    not venture into the palace or run around it while playing. And dog that stray
    within dies immediately.
  • Male
    visitors to the Royal Harem
    —No male visitors of any kind is
    allowed near the royal harem.The royal harem includes the Queen as well as other wives and concubines belonging to the Oba. This regulation is so severe that
    the members of the harem, especially the queen are not even allowed a hand
    touch from their father or brother.
  • Banga
    (Palm fruits) on the head—white Banga
    soup is notably consumed by the people in Benin City, carrying its source-the
    palm fruit on your head in or around the palace is strictly prohibited. Also any
    vehicle loaded with the palm fruit seed is also not allowed through the streets
    surrounding the Oba’s palace. The palm fruit is usually red in color, same color
    of blood, and it is believed that the palm fruit at the Oba’s palace or around
    it means that the land will take blood and someone around would have to die.
  • Women
    at the Alaka Area
    .
    The Alaka
    is a section of the palace known to harbor Oba Ehenguda Shrine. The
    shrine in Alaka is believed to
    contain his spirit and so, any female who enters the area immediately become
    infertile. To avoid barrenness among the Benin girls and women, a ban was
    placed around the shrine. Women till date are refused entrance into the area.

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