Oba is one of the more mysterious and lesser-known Orixas in Candomble, Santeria or Vodou. Little is known about Oba except the small story snippets about her cutting off her ear in order to make her husband Xango more attracted to her.
According to the various retellings, Oba (also spelled “Obba”) is Xango’s first wife, Oya is his second, and Oshun is either his third wife or his concubine. At one point, Oba noticed that Xango would eat whatever Oshun put in front of him, but whenever Oba cooked him something, he would just pick at it and not eat much of it.
One day, Oba asked Oshun how she kept Xango so happy with her. Oshun got angry, and did something rather meanspirited. She told Oba that she cut a piece of her ear off and put it in Xango’s food. This way, he would stay by her side. Upon hearing this, Oba got excited and drew the conclusion that if Oshun only cut a small piece of her ear off to keep Xango so happy, then she would cut her entire ear off to make him madly in love with her and he would never be with Oshun again.
Sadly, her efforts were not rewarded as she’d hoped they’d be. Xango feared she’d poisoned him and sent her away. It is thought by some that Oshun was jealous of Oba’s would-be heirs, because Oba was Xango’s first wife, and Oba’s heirs stood to inherit.
Special Days, Foods and Symbolism
Because so little is known about Oba, learning about what she likes, offering-wise and her colours, etc is likely to be a challenge, but here is some information from an Oba devotee who took the time to create a blog in order to post her experiences with the Orixa.
Oba’s associated number is 8, and instead of just having one associated day, Sunday and/or Friday are her days. Because she is associated with faithful, devoted marital love, pink, red and white as well as blue are her colours. Symbols include interlocking wedding bands, headscarves worn over the ears and neck that are woven with her colours in mind, and red, white or pink roses, or any other flower in those particular colours.
Though some might view her as too much of a people-pleaser because she gets sent away before she can explain her rationale, Oba’s ultimate domain is fidelity in marriage, feminine honour with regards to being a wife and mother and marriage in general.