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Osun Festival Commences

By Akintunde Adegboye, Oshogbo Arts Academy, Post Express (Lagos), 2 August 2000

Lagos—August is here and the ancient city of Osogbo is agog for this year's annual Osun Festival.

Osun Festival which is as old as Osogbo itself started in the 18th Century to commemorate and renew the pact between Osun goddess and Oba Laroye, the founder of Osogbo, that Osogbo will always be protected and blessed if the people continue to worship her.

Osogbo became immortalised as a result of her magical powers and the love of children. For this reason, the goddess is referred to as 'Osun Osogbo Olomoyoyo which literally means, Osun Osogbo with very many children.

The Osun Festival is associated with offering of sacrifices at the Osun shrine, drumming, dancing, feasting and other merry-making as the main features.

Apart from serving as a birthday of Osogbo and the remembrance day of the Ataoja's ancestors, it is a time when sons and daughters of Osogbo, near and far, come home, where series of meetings are held about the development of Osogbo.

The festival which is the mother of the festivals in Osogboland succeeds other mini festivals like Egungun, Oro sango, Ifa Obatala, Ogun which have their significance like Osun.

Osun festival commences with 'Iwopopo' which is traditional clearing of the main road. Then, Ijuba fun awan Oba to ti waja - sacrifice to the past Ataojas will proceed Olojumberindinlogun' - lighting of the sixteen lamps believed to have been seized from the Osanyin by the co-founder of Osogbo. Ibori and Iboade and Ijo-ayaba Isale-sacrifice for the head and crown and sacrifice for the deceased wives of the past Obas would follow.

The worshipping of Osun goddess at the Osun Shrine will climax the end of the festival where the 'Arugba'- the virgin girl will carry the calabash to the shrine and Kabiyesi will host the visitors from near and far to a big feast.

This year Osun Festival will commenced from July 31, 2000 and it will witness its grand finale on 11th August 2000.