Nigerian Twins Legend (Which twin is really the oldest?)

Joe Rawlinson by Joe Rawlinson - March 9, 2018

Technically, culture aside, the time of birth indicates which twin is older. The first born is the oldest.

However, according to a Nigerian legend shared with me by a Nigerian co-worker, the birth order of twins isn’t what you’d think it would be.

The Nigerian tradition holds that the oldest twin pushes the youngest out of the womb first. Thus the first born twin isn’t the oldest after all, but the youngest. The oldest twin then arrives second.

So the next time someone asks you which of your twins is the oldest, you can really play with their minds by answering, “This one is the oldest; she was born last.”

Do you know of other twin-related legends or traditions from around the world? Please share them in the comments.

Original photo by Katina Lynn

According to a Nigerian legend, the birth order of twins isn't what you'd think it would be. Read here which twin might really be the oldest.

Further Reading

Dad's Guide to Raising Twins book
Don't forget to pick up a copy of the definitive guide to raising twins. "Dad's Guide to Raising Twins" was written for fathers of twins to help guide you through the first several years with twins. Click here to learn more about the book and get your copy.

9 thoughts on “Nigerian Twins Legend (Which twin is really the oldest?)”

  1. Hi Joe

    It seems this legend is not necessarily limited to Nigeria. I live in South Africa on the other end of the continent and the same belief that the last born twin is actually the “oldest” is very commonly held in the local culture here as well. So it would seem that it is not so much a Nigerian legend as an African one!



  2. My baby girl was born first via c-section and will probably grow up knowing she is the oldest, but I believe my baby boy is a few days older than she is. An early ultrasound, the “ring test”, and their personality differences all give me reason to think so 🙂

    • @Cara – we found that birth order hasn’t really been an issue with our girls. It will be interesting to see how it plays out in your home.

  3. That’s funny and interesting – whenever I tell people the personalities of my twins they always assume my younger is the first-born. Maybe this answers it?

  4. According to Japanese legend, the twin born last is the oldest. (S)he was more polite and let the other twin be born first.
    I’m an identical twin, second born by 9 minutes, so I’m both older AND more polite! Which, by the way, I am- more polite, that is!!


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