Obba Nani: Orisha of Fidelity and Devotion in Santeria


Obba is an Orisha belonging to the Yoruba pantheon (Santeria). It has usually been interpreted as the representation of excessive love, as well as, sacrifice and conjugal self-denial. She is popular for the sacrifice she dared to make for her husband Shango, for whom she even cut off her ear as a sign of her veneration.

Who is Obba?

This Orisha belongs to the feminine river spiritualities, she is known as the owner of the river that bears her name in Nigeria. It is related to the most intense feelings of love. Suffering, marital fidelity, sacrifice and marriage in all its expression. It is also known as a deity with power over lakes and lagoons.

She is the daughter of Obbatala and Yembó. Sister of Oyá, Yewá and Oshun. In addition, it belongs to the trilogy of the Orishas that guard the cemetery, since, in the company of Oyá and Yewá, it protects the resting place of the deceased. In the case of Obá in particular, it has the power to guard the tombs.

Its name in the Yorùbá language is: «Òbbá» translated as: Òbè: soup or Obá: king, which is interpreted as: that of the king's soup. It is also called Obba nani. Among metals, it owns copper and tin.


Among its characteristics, it is considered the owner of the lagoons, the lakes, the cemetery tombs, the churning rivers, the ear, the wheel, the shield, the spear, and the books.

Orisha Obba Nani Day

His day is Wednesday, although by tradition associated with his syncretism his festivities are celebrated on May 22. Oba's number it is 9 and 8 and their multiples.

Obba tools

His tools include: a wooden anvil, a dagger, a sword, a shield, a cuirass, a mask, a rudder or gear wheel, two keys (one in his tureen and one in Oshun's), a book, two crooked handles, a hand of snails and an ear, all the tools of the Orisha obba They are made of copper material.


Those who claim to have seen Obba dance state that he dances with one hand concealing his mutilated ear, making gestures with the other hand that are interpreted as if he were stirring his tureen. However, there are those who affirm that this Orisha cannot come down, that the dances attributed to her are rather dances performed in her honor.

Obba colors

His clothing is red and white, the old pink color is also attributed to him. Her necklace has pink, black, lilac, and yellow beads.

What is Obba like?

oba nani

Beyond the sentimental part that we all know about Obba, it is necessary to highlight her characteristics as a vigorous woman, with great strength and courage, full of great intelligence despite her strength, it is said that she did not fear anyone in the world and that among his favorite pleasures was fighting. In fact, his fondness for war was such that he chose fighting as a profession. She excelled in all contests, even becoming the winner before renowned deities, it is said that the only one who managed to defeat her was Oggun.

Despite being recognized as the real wife of Shango, it turns out the third wife actually. Chango's first wife was Oya, and the second was Oshun.

If we analyze a little the personality of the Orisha Obba, we will understand that she represents that type of feminine nature in which bravery stands out but also misunderstanding abounds. Some consider that its strength, a bit given to masculine attitudes, can make it representative of actions a little feminist even. Finally, her warlike and aggressive attitudes are the product of the unhappy or bitter experiences to which she was subjected. On the other hand, her untimely, indomitable and fearless nature also became her own enemy, driving her uncontrollable jealousy and leading her to make mistakes through actions that did not turn out as she expected, as happened at the time of cutting. her ear, whose action was not to the liking of her husband Shango.

Obba Pataki

Orisha obba

In this avatar Obba was the queen of Takua, Shango's wife and favorite woman. She blindly trusted Oya's advice, and following his recommendation she cut off her right ear to give it to her husband as a gift and sacrifice of love. After this, Shango, realizing the deformation that Oba had, repudiated it immediately. She, sad and disappointed in humanity, grabbed her weapons of war and went into the mountains taking with her all the descendants of the earth who also detested contact with humans.

Being in that immense forest, Oba, annoyed and resentful, swore to take revenge on all her fellow men who she considered were not worthy of living on the land she walked on. It was then, that his tears grew and grew creating an immense lagoon that kept his great secrets, these were represented by his 9 powers symbolized in his 9 rings of 9 colors that represented the flag of his kingdom.

Obba Nani detest humanity and went into the bush

From that moment on, she began to feed on white sleeves that were the fruits that were produced in that mountain. In the same way, the warriors who accompanied him ate those fruits and obtained vigor and strength. Oba, when he wished, would leave the mountain to his ancient land and kill everyone in his path by cutting their leri with his ade while singing this suyere: "oba ada lawa kiniwe ile ere ele iku ere."

At that time an immense terror reigned in Takua, no one dared to go outside the city limits. It was then that her sister Oshun decided to intervene in that situation and went to see Orunmila to help her. Orula through divination looked at her with the Oddun Ogbe She, indicating that it was necessary to do a ceremony so that her sister Oba could be considered as ayaba (queen) since, she was the owner of the secrets of sorcery in the Takua land.

Oshun and orunmila They went with the waxes in front of the mountain and called Obba, who when hearing that song went out in the company of his warriors, but when he saw his sister he hugged her and said: "Only you are capable of making Oba again known for la leri eni Takua ile ”. He ate his food and with the ear of eure they made him an ornament that allowed him to disguise his mutilation. In this way she was once again recognized among the inhabitants of the Takua land and her children were not in danger of death thanks to the intervention of Orunmila and Oshun.

What are the children of oba like?

sons of obba

It is said that the Obbá does not choose men for children, although in Batuke land (Nigeria) there have been cases. It is said their children are usually brave and misunderstood, strong and tolerant. Their love life is often difficult, usually fraught with bitter experiences. When they are badly aspected they can become very jealous. At their best they are very loyal, good partners, and good friends. They tend to be prosperous, struggling, and have material possessions.

Adimu or Offerings to Obba, how to attend to this Orisha?

addimu obba

This Orisha is offered all kinds of fruits and typical preparations of the Afro-Cuban culture, but her favorite food is yam, which can be presented to her in its natural state, cooked or stewed. They also offer honey, corojo oil, brandy, and coconuts.

Main herbs of this Orisha

Plum, Coast Hazel, Mahogany, Mahogany, Caleta Grape, Chestnut, Caponero Ebony.

Obba in the Catholic religion (syncretism)

Obba in the Catholic religion is syncretized with Saint Rita of Casia, with whom we can relate her due to her tortuous marriage relationship, with her fondness for roses and their characteristic color and with the celebration of her anniversary that corresponds to May 22. This Orisha is also usually syncretized with Saint Catherine of Siena and Saint Catherine of Alexandria.

Obba in the Catholic religion

In the case of Santa Catalina de Siena, the similarity between both spiritualities is identified with the ease that both have of getting away from everything and everyone, at the same time, who can join any type of struggles always motivated by faith.

Finally, their syncretism with Saint Catherine of Alexandria is due to the parity they enjoy with respect to the issue of marriage. It is said that Catherine is a worthy representative of the mystical marriage between a devotee and God, and that she never broke her vow of absolute fidelity; like Obba his loyalty and respect for marriage is evident in both.

The artistic representation of Catalina identifies her with characteristics in which her tricolor aura stands out: (white, due to her virginity; green motivated by her wisdom; and red as a result of her martyrdom). What is striking is the use of the wooden wheel, which refers to his martyrdom, but which in turn is also an attribute conferred on Obba Nani.

It should be noted that some research still casts doubt on the historical existence of Catherine of Alexandria, but her veneration is very popular in Europe and some countries in America. In addition, she is considered the patron of schoolchildren and students, philosophers, marriageable young women, and of all those whose trades are related to wheels: carters, millers, among others. As well as, she is the patron of artisans, archivists, lawyers, jurists, librarians and educators. Characteristics at the end with the Orisha Obba who is also considered a deity with influence on knowledge, the arts, education and therefore, the patron of all professions and activities at the end. 

Song to Obba (Suyere)

Akuon: Achaba Iya Obba Lomoba Obini Iya Obba Lomoba

Chorus: Aya Osi Eleko Iya Obba Lomoba

Akuon: Achaba Iya Obba Lomoba Obini Iya Obba Lomoba

Chorus: Aya Osi Eleko Iya Obba Lomoba

Akuon: Ewue Iyao Ewueewuesi, Ewue Iyao Ewueewuesi

Achabo Ewueewuesi La Osi Fikuo Oderima Awuo

Chorus: Ewue Iyao Ewueewuesi Ewue Iyao Ewueewuesi

Achabo Ewueewuesi La Osi Fikuo Oderima Awuo

Akuon: Tobi Sikuo, Tobi Akara, Tobi Sikuo, Tobi Akara,

Acaba Tobi Akara La Osi Fikuo Oderima Awuo

Chorus: Tobi Sikuo, Tobi Akara, Tobi Sikuo, Tobi Akara,

Achabo Tobi Akara La Osi Fikuo Oderima Awuo

Akuon: erele kunfere

Chorus: Erola Finda Farawua

Akuon: erele kunfere

Chorus: Erola Finda Farawua

Akuon: Oyuowuoo

Chorus: oyuowuo

Akuon: Oyuowuoo

Chorus: oyuowuo

Akuon: Oyuowuolo Muñana

Chorus: Oyuowuolo Muñana

Akuon: Oyuowuolo The Finda

Chorus: Oyuowuolo The Finda

Akuon: Oyuowuolo Chere Chere

Chorus: Oyuowuolo Chere Chere

Akuon: Oyuowuom Berawuo

Chorus: Oyuowuom Berawuo

Akuon: Erelekun Fere

Chorus: Erola Finda Farawua

Akuon: Erelekun Fere

Chorus: Erola Finda Farawua

Akuon: Gold Ele Eleko Gold Ekileyo

Chorus: Gold Ele Eleko

Akuon: Ekileyo Gold

Chorus: Gold Ele Eleko

Akuon: obba kamawuo

Chorus: Gold Ele Eleko

Akuon: obba kamawuo

Chorus: Gold Ele Eleko

Obba's prayer for love

I salute the warrior and queen mother. Obba Nani powerful and imposing goddess.

It is you who take baths in gin and honey like foreign men.

It is you who executes revenge when the evildoer has forgotten.

You are the one who can never be guilty when you go into action.

It is you who makes the promise of love come true.

You are the one who brings order, love and passion into the home.

Always protect me with your powerful medicine, you reign are my guardian spirit.

Spirit of war and lagoons bring to my life a true and permanent love,

Bring happiness and peace into my life. Asé.

Works with oba

Work to tie with obba

You grab flowers of enchantment, eye of a pestle (snake), a stick for me, everything is chalked with the name and traces of the person you want to tie with 9-color thread. The Orisha is told what is being requested with two pink candles and is placed inside her tureen with lots of honey.

Phrases of the Orisha Obba

Obba says: "What you despise today for vanity, tomorrow will make you cry for your pride."

Obba says: "Never betray the love of my children, because you will never find such a sincere love again"

More about Obba

Learn more about the Orishas:

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