By Akeem Abas
The Ataoja of Osogbo, Oba Jimoh Oyetunji, has announced Aug. 2 as the commencement date of the two-week 2021 edition of the Osun Osogbo Festival, and the other activities lined up to mark the event.
The traditional ruler, in a statement signed by Toye Arulogun, the Managing Consultant for the festival, said the festival would commence with Iwopopo, the traditional cleansing of the town.
He said that the cleansing would be followed in three days by the lighting of the 500-year-old sixteen-point lamp called Ina Olojumerindinlogun.
Oyetunji said that Aug. 9 would be for Iboriade, a unique assemblage and display of crowns of the past Ataojas of Osogbo, for blessings.
The Ataoja of Osogbo explained that he would lead the event as the sitting Ataoja, in conjunction with the Arugba, Yeye Osun and a committee of priestesses.
According to him, Aug. 13 will witness the grand finale, the sacrificial offering by Arugba at the Osun Osogbo Sacred Grove inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005.
“Other activities of the festival, which are adjudged as of immense benefit to the tourism sector in Nigeria, include Ifa Arugba, Orun Odo, Ajigun, Ifa Agbalu, and Ifa Dida.
“The Osun Osogbo Festival is the biggest annual religious festival among the Yoruba people and serves as a strong unifying factor for indigenes of Osogboland.”
He said that the annual festival brings everyone together, irrespective of their different social, economic, religious, and political convictions.
“During this year’s edition, local and international worshippers, devotees, spectators and tourists will observe all COVID-19 protocols as was done during the 2020 edition,” he added.
The festival is organised as the annual sacrifice to the Osun River Goddess, a 600 year old international heritage.