Home ARTS & CULTURE Osun-Osogbo Festival: Yoruba’s Largest Indigenous Religious Tradition

Osun-Osogbo Festival: Yoruba’s Largest Indigenous Religious Tradition

by InlandTown Editor
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Written by David Ugbabe

Osogbo has for over 600 years played host to millions of Nigerians and tourists across the world who come to witness the festival of Osogbo. This ceremony exposes the rich indigenous Yoruba religious tradition becoming one of the largest religions in the world, with over 100 million followers. Often held in honour of the goddess of fertility, the week-long


festival is an avenue to offer gifts and sacrifices to the goddess as well as performances that include playing the drums, singing, and dancing. The worshippers also use this as an avenue to show off their costumes.

The Oshogbo Grove

Located on the outskirts of Osogbo, the Osogbo Grove is the sacred place and is believed by its devotees to be one of the last remaining places that the spirits, or “Orishas” reveal themselves to bless them. The Osogbo Grove which consists of the last remaining 67 acres of virgin forest in the area was recognized in 2003 by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

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History of the Osun-Osogbo Festival

According to narrations on the origin of the festival, experts on traditional religion in Nigeria said it has been observed for over 600 years. The founding fathers of the Osogbo community in a bid to build their houses started felling all the trees by the river bank. However, it is said that the spirit of the river-god Osun called out to them, ordering them away. The place has


since turned into a sacred worship centre for devotees to the deity. It has become a yearly ritual to hold the festival which holds in Osogbo, the Osun State capital. It is said that the festival renews the contract between humans and the divine whereby the goddess releases grace to the community and honours its sacred place. The grove has been a sacred area of worship for the spirit’s devotees ever since.

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