By Akeem Abas
Osogbo’s Ataoja, Oba Jimoh Oyetunji, announced August 2 as the start date of the 2021 two-week edition of the Osun Osogbo Festival, and other activities planned to mark the event.
The traditional leader, in a statement signed by Toye Arulogun, the festival management consultant, said the festival would start with Iwopopo, the traditional cleansing of the city.
He said the clean-up would be followed in three days by lighting the 500-year-old sixteen-point lamp called Ina Olojumerindinlogun.
Oyetunji said August 9 will be for Iboriad, a unique assemblage and display of wreaths from Osogbo’s past Ataojas, for blessings.
Osogbo’s Ataoja explained that he would lead the event as a seated Ataoja, working with the Arugba, Yeye Osun and a committee of priestesses.
According to him, August 13 will witness the grand finale, the sacrificial offering of Arugba to the Sacred Grove of Osun Osogbo inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005.
“Other festival activities, which are deemed extremely beneficial for the tourism sector in Nigeria, include Ifa Arugba, Orun Odo, Ajigun, Ifa Agbalu and Ifa Dida.
“The Osun Osogbo Festival is the largest annual religious festival among the Yoruba people and is a powerful unifying factor for the natives of Osogboland.”
He said the annual festival brings together everyone, regardless of their different social, economic, religious and political beliefs.
“During this year’s edition, local and international devotees, devotees, spectators and tourists will observe all COVID-19 protocols as was done during the 2020 edition,” he said. added.
The festival is held as the annual sacrifice to the river goddess Osun, a 600-year-old international heritage.