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What is Osun Osogbo festival history?

What is the origin of Osun Osogbo festival? Find out many interesting facts here!

Osun Osogbo festival

The goal of Osun Osogbo festival is to celebrate Osun, the river goodness. The festival takes place around the groove in Osogbo, Osun state. The place covers 75 hectares of ring- fence forest.

Osun is the spiritual mother of Osogbo Township and personification of the ‘water of life’. Osogbo Township is a scared forest, which is the residence of the fertility goddess. The forest is full of works of art, shrines, sculptures and sanctuaries. In the forest, there is a sacred groove, an area of immense spiritual importance.

Osun Osogbo festival history

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Osun Osogbo festival history

The founders of Osogbo were hunters who migrated because they were looking for water. Therefore they settled around the Osun groove. When they were cutting trees and weeds to get water, one of the trees fell on a pot belonging to the goddess. The Osun goodness was very angry, so the hunters appeased her. From that time they pledged annual sacrifice.

Since then, Osogbo has remained a progressive, peaceful, and benevolent city without pestilence or war.

Osun Osogbo festival traditions

How is it now?

The Osun Osogbo festival is held every year in August. The groove is seen as the reposition of kingship, as well as the spiritual heart of the community. The festival lasts for two weeks and starts with the traditional cleansing of the town called “Iwopopo.” This is followed by the lighting of 500-year-old sixteen point lamp three days later, called “Olojumerindinlogun.”

Osun Osogbo festival art

The finale of the festival is a processing of the whole city, led by the maid, Arugba, propelled by Yeye Osun, and the committee of priestesses headed by the Oba and priest, all of accompanied by the singing, drumming,  and dancing.

The Arugba takes the people age-long prayers to the groove in a calabash which can only be carried by a virgin. This is the sign of purity. The calabash is filled with dishes such as eko (baked millet), moin-moin (baked bean), and oil to the river. At the same time, the people of the town follow her. They pray for their wishes for the year. The volunteers or Arugba also carry the calabash. The river goddess, in turn, grants her wisdom and power.

Watch the video to see how the festival was held last year.

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