Every year, in the month of August, the Osun-Osgogbo festival is celebrated at the sacred grove. While this yearly festival attracts thousands of Osun worshippers, spectators and tourists from all walks of life, for the people of Osogbo, August is not just a month of celebrating the Osun goddess but a month of traditional cleansing of the city and cultural reunion of the people with their ancestors and founders of the Osogbo Kingdom.
The Osun Osogbo Festival 2017 is ongoing, below are interesting facts about the two-week long festival;
1. The story behind the Osun Osogbofestival has it that the festival began over half a century ago when a group of settlers led by Olutimehin settled in the Osogbo area. A version of the story has it that the goddess revealed herself to them after their activities disturbed her and in other to appease her, they promised to offer an annual sacrifice to her and in return, she promised to make their women fruitful. Thus far, the Yoruba people of Igbo Ora have the highest twin birth rate in the world
2. The festival is held to celebrate Osun who is the Yoruba goddess of fertility.
3. The annual festival lasts for 2 weeks and it starts with the Iwopopo. The iwopopo refers to the traditional cleansing of the town from evil.
4. After the iwopopo comes the lighting of the 600 year old 16 point lamp (Inaolujumerindinlogun), three days after the iwopopo has been done.
5. Next is the Iboriade which is one special moment for the Ataoja of Osogbo. During the Iboriade, the crowns of the past Ataoja’s (Kings) of Osogbo are assembled and the sitting Ataoja in the company of Osun priestesses, the Arugba and the Yeye Osun.
6. The Arugba is an essential figure in the whole ceremony. The Arugba (calabash carrier) is a votary virgin who bears the calabash containing the sacrifice materials for the festival on her head as she leads the people to the Osun River. As she passes, people pray and cast their problems to her. She isn’t just regarded as a virgin, she’s the goddess they see. The current Arugba is the daughter of the sitting Ataoja. She took over the position from the previos Arugba who had done the work for 10 years.
7. The history and story of the Osun Osogbo Festival isn’t going to be complete without mentioning Susan Wenger, an Austrian who dedicated her life starting from the early 1950’s till today to ensure that the Osun Osogbo Festival became what it is today. It’s not surprising that her efforts paid off when UNESCO designated the Osun Osogbo Groove a world heritage site in 2005. As she continues to rest in peace, she would forever remain in the hearts of the people.
Culled from Couture Crib