The 2016 Osun-Osogbo Festival 2016 will start tomorrow Monday, Aug. 8!
The Permanent Secretary of Tourism and Culture in Osun State Mrs Olajumoke Bello confirmed this in Osogbo on Saturday in a statement celebrating with the townspeople “Gov. Rauf Aregbesola felicitates with Ataoja of Osogbo, Oba Jimoh Olanipekun Larooye ll , the chiefs, the Osun worshippers and the sons and daughters of Osogbo on the occasion of 2016 Osun-Osogbo festival”
The annual festival is a tourism event, recognised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
It is held in the sacred forests of Osogbo in celebration of the Yoruba river goddess Osun, and features a procession to the Osun-Osogbo sacred grove from the Ataoja Palace in Osogbo led by the Arugba.
The virgin maiden Arugba (Calabash carrier) bears the Osun calabash containing sacrifice materials to appease and worship the Osun goddess or river, on her head. Upon reaching the river, the Ataoja the ruler of the town who also serves as high priest of the festival, performs the sacrifice of an animal. Osun enthusiasts also offer their sacrifices – vows, food, money, goods, kola nuts and birds etc to Osun at the river bank.
Last year, the two week festival started with the traditional cleansing of the town called ‘Iwopopo’ and included many interesting spiritual and festive events including the ceremonial lighting of the historic 642-year-old lamp ‘Oloju Merindinlogun ‘ with 16 lighting points.
Photos from 2015 Osun Osogbo Festival. © IfeMartins.com