What Is Bawo In Yoruba

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What is Bawo in Yoruba?

Bawo is a popular and traditional Yoruba game that originated in Nigeria. It is a two-player board game that is similar to the popular game of chess, but with a few distinct differences. Bawo is played on a wooden board that has twelve cups, six on each side. The objective of the game is to capture all of your opponent's pieces.

The History of Bawo

The origins of Bawo can be traced back to the Yoruba people of Nigeria. The game has been played for centuries and is still popular among Yoruba communities today. Bawo is said to have been created by the Yoruba deity, Ifa, who is considered the god of divination and wisdom.

How to Play Bawo

To play Bawo, each player starts with twelve pieces, which are usually small stones or seeds. The game is played by moving the pieces around the board in a clockwise direction. Each player takes turns moving their pieces and trying to capture their opponent's pieces.

The game begins with four pieces in each cup. Players can capture their opponent's pieces by landing on a cup that has two or three pieces in it. When a cup is captured, the pieces in that cup are removed from the board.

The game ends when one player has captured all of their opponent's pieces, or when one player cannot make a move. The player with the most pieces at the end of the game is declared the winner.

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The Importance of Bawo in Yoruba Culture

Bawo is not just a game, it is an important part of Yoruba culture. The game is often played during traditional Yoruba festivals and ceremonies, and is also played in homes and amongst friends. It is a way for people to come together and connect over a shared interest.

Bawo is also an important part of Yoruba folklore. It is said that Ifa, the Yoruba deity who created the game, used it as a way to teach people about the importance of strategy and foresight.

Variations of Bawo

There are many different variations of Bawo, each with its own rules and gameplay. Some variations use larger boards with more cups, while others use different types of pieces. One popular variation is called "Ayo," which is played with a board that has two rows of six cups, and each cup is filled with four pieces.

The Benefits of Playing Bawo

Playing Bawo has a number of benefits. Like other board games, it can help to improve cognitive function and strategic thinking. It can also help to improve social skills and build bonds between players.

In addition, playing Bawo can be a fun and relaxing way to pass the time. It is a great way to unwind after a long day and can provide a much-needed break from the stresses of daily life.


Bawo is a traditional Yoruba game that has been played for centuries. It is a two-player board game that is similar to chess, but with its own unique set of rules and gameplay. Bawo is an important part of Yoruba culture and is often played during traditional festivals and ceremonies. It is also a fun and relaxing way to spend time with friends and family.

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  1. Is Bawo only played in Nigeria?

    • Bawo originated in Nigeria, but it is played in many other countries as well.
  2. How long does a game of Bawo usually last?

    • A game of Bawo can last anywhere from a few minutes to several hours, depending on the skill level of the players and the size of the board.
  3. Can children play Bawo?

    • Yes, Bawo is a game that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.
  4. Are there any health benefits to playing Bawo?

    • Yes, playing Bawo can help to improve cognitive function and strategic thinking, as well as social skills.
  5. Can I buy a Bawo board online?

    • Yes, Bawo boards can be purchased online from a variety of retailers.