As a theologian, I have always been fascinated by people who are twins and how they beautifully resemble each other. I recently came across a YouTube video about good and evil twins.
I immediately became interested in knowing more about what other people think of twin children, as I have never considered them evil.
I had just read Chinua Achebe’s ‘Things Fall Apart’ on how the Earth goddess decreed that twins were an offense on the land and should be killed.
I researched extensively by reading books such as “Twin Mythconceptions: False Beliefs, Fables, and Facts about Twins” by Nancy L. Segal and online articles to understand better.
Last week, during one of my theology classes, while teaching about cultural beliefs, a student shared that in their culture, if you gave birth to twins, it was considered a bad omen, and the twins had to be killed to avoid misfortunes.
Students had many questions regarding this belief. Since I had done extensive research, I answered their questions satisfactorily.
One of the questions that got my attention was, are twins evil?
According to Genesis 27:41, the Bible implies that Esau was evil. Esau was a deceiving murderer who tried to kill his twin brother Jacob, who had defrauded him of his birthright. However, this does not mean twins are evil since, later in the chapter, we learn that it was the plan of God for Jacob to take Esau’s position, and Christians believe that every child is a blessing from God.
Please continue reading this article and join me as we investigate this topic to discover if twins bring good or bad luck, why some societies believe twins are evil and more.
Do twins bring good or bad luck?
According to Christians, twins do not bring good or bad luck since every child is a blessing from God. However, in Malachi 1:1-4, the Bible implies that God hated Esau for being evil and he would not fulfill the plan of God.
That is why Rebecca favored Jacob and ensured he got the birthright of Esau. However, the story of Esau and Jacob is not interpreted to mean twins have any good or bad luck attached to them.
However, according to some African societies, it was believed that twins could bring good luck as they would bestow happiness, health, and prosperity upon their families.
However, some cultures, like the Igbo in Niger, thought twins could bring bad luck, such as disaster, disease, and death. The Yoruba community in Africa believed ‘Ibeji’ (twins) brought good luck.
Twins were thought to represent fertility, bring love, and bless the family. People believed many good things would come your way if you gave birth to twins.
Among the Yoruba community, twins were specially looked after and treated with honor. They even honored twins with a monthly feast because they believed twins had supernatural powers that could increase their parents’ wealth.
Among the Ugandans, twins were believed to bring good luck since they were perceived as a gift from God. In modern society, some families believe having twins is a blessing, and others see having twins as a burden.
During medieval and early modern Europe, twins and conjoined twins were believed to be monstrous children that were regarded as signs of God’s wrath or the work of Satan.
Why do some societies believe that twins are evil?
According to the Igbo society in southwest Nigeria, twins are viewed as evil since they are associated with a bad omen sent by the gods.
They believe that twins are supernatural beings that bring devastation to society. The Igbo killed their twins out of a greater fear.
In Chinua Achebe’s, ‘Things Fall Apart,’ the Earth goddess decreed that twins were an offense on the land and would be destroyed. If society went against this order, the whole community would face her wrath (Achebe, 1994, p. 125)
The elders of the Bahaya tribe in Tanzania spiritually associated twins with illnesses and other disasters, such as a skin condition known as Vitiligo.
They also believe that if the twins are angry, gods can cause natural calamities that will affect people and crops.
According to Western cultures, twins are perceived to be oddities. They are sometimes good or bad. They believe that Twinship is not only strange and interesting but also a little creepy and freaky.
Are twins evil in mythology?
In some cultures, twins are seen as ominous (a sign of evil and misfortunes); in others, they are seen as promising (happy outcome or success). Twins in mythology are seen as two halves that are rivals.
For instance, according to Egyptian mythology, the gods Osiris and Set were twins. Set was born first and tore his way out of his mother’s womb before he was fully formed.
It is believed he hated Osiris and killed him.
Twins in mythology are believed to represent good and evil twin identities. According to Zoroastrian mythology, twins Ahriman and Ahura represented evil and good spirits, respectively.
Another twin mythology is found among the Yoruba community, who refer to twins as Ibeji. They believed twins could bring fortune or misfortunes to their families and communities, so they were treated specially.
They believed twins shared one soul; if one died, their parents created a doll to portray the deceased child’s body so that the soul remained intact.
Superstitions and myths about twins
Some believe twins have the same physical symptoms, such as a heart attack. Some say they can finish the sentences of the other twin or sense that something is amiss when the other is in danger.
However, there is no scientific evidence that twin telepathy is real.
Some people around the world believe that identical twins have identical fingerprints. However, this is different. The tiny ridges in fingerprints are affected by how dense the amniotic fluid around the fingers of the twins is, the temperature in the womb, and the baby’s position.
The Yoruba still believe that eating Yams results in many twin births. Yams are believed to have fertility-inducing properties that release hormones that promote ovulation, resulting in twin birth.
It is also believed by some cultures that if anyone in the family has had twins, along the generational timeline, they will also have twins.
Does one of the twins have to be evil?
Christians do not believe one of the twins has to be evil because children are seen as a blessing from God. They believe evilness is a result of envy and jealousy.
According to Genesis 27:41, Esau was perceived as wicked and even nicknamed Edom (wicked) because he hated Jacob for taking his birthright.
It was a fulfillment of the plan of God.
However, cultures worldwide believe that one of the twins has to be evil. For instance, according to ancient Persian beliefs, Ahriman represented the spirit of evil.
He was an enemy to his twin brother Ahura Mazda, who represented the spirit of good.
Among the Egyptian beliefs, Set was considered an evil twin as he killed his brother and enemy Osiris.
Among the Northeastern cultures, Gluskap, the creator god, defeated his twin Malsum, considered evil, the source of all harmful things, and the ruler of demons.
On the other hand, both twins can be good. For instance, in Greek belief, twins Castor and Pollux shared a very deep bond, and when Castor died, Pollux gave up half of his immortality to be with his twin brother.
As a theologian, I have always been curious to learn more about the Christian Faith. That is why I pursued a Certificate in Christian Studies, Certificate in Christian Foundations and a Masters in Theology. I also have an immersive experience in editing for numerous websites. I have worked as an editor for over a decade and am currently the editor-in-chief at Christian Faith Guide. I enjoy working as an editor and feel privileged to share my expertise and help spread God’s word. You can read more about me on the about us page.