According to Wikipedia, different oral traditions refer to different numbers of orishas:

Yoruba tradition often says that there are 401 orishas, which is associated with a sacred number. Other sources suggest that the number is "as many as you can think of, plus one more - an innumerable number". Different oral traditions refer to 400, 700, or 1,440 orisha.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Orisha&oldid=737260447#Number

Why is 401 sacred to the Yoruba? What is the significance of the other numbers?

  • 2
    I wish I knew more about this fascinating tradition. As a referent, I can tell you that 108 is a significant number in Chinese folklore, although it's unclear to what extent the number predates the Water Margin. In Chinese tradition, the number 8 is lucky because the word sounds like the word for prosperity. – DukeZhou Sep 8 '16 at 17:58
  • 1
    @cybermike Fascinating indeed. You may be interested in taking a look at the Yoruba texts on Sacred Texts: sacred-texts.com/afr/index.htm#wc_africa – yannis Sep 10 '16 at 14:01
  • 1
    The Hebraic religions also have an un-numerable numbers for the names of God. I think the numbers are just there to represent "a lot" or "infinity" like here for the (N+1) formula. – Reed -SE is a Fish on Dry Land Sep 11 '16 at 21:34

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.