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Sopona Cover
Sopona (or Shapona) is the god of smallpox in the Yoruba religion. The Yoruba people of Nigeria believed that smallpox was a disease foisted upon humans due to Shapona's "divine displeasure", and formal worship of the God of Smallpox was highly controlled by specific priests in charge of shrines to the God. People believed that if the priests were angered they were capable of causing smallpox outbreaks through their intimate relationship with Shapona. Suspecting that the priests were deliberately spreading the disease, the British colonial rulers banned the worship of Shapona in 1907. Worship continued, however, with the faithful paying homage to the God even after such activities were prohibited. Shapona was exported to the New World in the slave trade, where he became known as Omolu or Babalu Aye in the Orisha religion. Shakpana is an equivalent in Dahomey mythology.

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This entry was posted on 9 June 2009 at Tuesday, June 09, 2009 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the .