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Shango, also called Chango, major deity of the religion of the Yoruba of southwestern Nigeria. He also figures in the religion of the Edo people of southeastern Nigeria, who refer to him as Esango, and in the religion of the Fon people of Benin, who call him Sogbo or Ebioso. Shango has numerous manifestations, including Airá, Agodo, Afonja, Lubé, and Obomin. He is known for his powerful double axe (Oṣè). He is considered to be one of the most powerful rulers that Yorubaland has ever produced. In the New World, he is syncretized with either Saint Barbara or Saint Jerome. Many years ago, there lived a great and powerful king called Sango. He was bestowed with power by his Mother's people in Nupe. His Grandfather gave him thunderbolt stones which he used to summon thunder from the sky. This power made him known as the god of fire and thunder.


  • Consecrated day: Friday

  • Colors: white and red

  • Elements: thunder, lightning, fire

  • Sacred food: amalá (a stew of okra with shrimp and palm oil)

  • Instruments: oxê, a double ax; bangles; brass crown; Thunder Stones, or objects struck by lightning

  • Garment: red cloth with printed white squares or cowrie shells

  • Necklace or Elekes: white and red beads

  • Archetype: power, dominance

  • Sacred dance: alujá, the roda de Xangô. It speaks of his achievements, deeds, consorts, power, and dominion

  • Sacrificial animals: fresh water turtle, male goat, duck, sheep

Folklores has it that in one of his angry moments he caused thunder to come down to burn some of his children and wives. In regret he left his kingdom to Koso were he later hanged himself. After his death his enemies decided to attack his subject but before they go to the palace a potent thunder struck them and killed them all, from that day he attained the honor of a god


It is believed that he can eat fire and has special dances that he performs, Shango comes down and strikes with his head and gives three rounds down to the drums. He flaunts his axe and touches his testicles and make threatening gestures. Like lover, he tries to demonstrate the size of his penis, bends and make winks to the women. The dancers imitate his movement. No other orisha will give higher jumps, dance more violently or make stranger gestures. The dances of Shango usually are erotic or warrior like. Commonly Shango is portrayed with an axe (the symbol of thunder), and his favorite colors are red and white, which are regarded as being holy.

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