For the people of Osogbo Land, August is a month of celebration when traditional cleansing of the ancient city and cultural reunion of the people with their ancestors and founders of the Osogbo Kingdom happen. The Osun-Osogbo Festival is a two-week-long programme. It starts with the traditional cleansing of the town called ‘Iwopopo’, which is followed in three days by the lightening of the 500-year-old sixteen-point lamp called ‘Ina Olojumerindinlogun’. Yearly, the festival attracts thousands of Osun worshippers, spectators and tourists from all walks of life.
For over 600 years, the month of August has always been a unique month for the state of Osun and its citizens as thousands of tourists from within and outside Nigeria troop to the city to witness the festival, which for four years running has been sponsored by Goldberg Lager Beer, a brand from the stable of Nigerian Breweries Plc.
In this year’s edition, Goldberg lager beer illuminated the thrills and glamours of the festival and strengthened the city’s cultural and economic relations with the rest of the world who visited. It enabled citizens, visitors as well as tourists to know and understand the Nigerian culture better.
Mr. Bayo Ogundare, an indigene who is a member of the Festival Committee revealed that through the help of Goldberg, the festival attracted the influx of tourists into Osun in particular and Nigeria in general.“The Beer Village organised by the Lager Beer and its activities encouraged socio-cultural and economic relations in the state,” he said.
Some of the activities paraded during the festival include cleansing of the town called Iwopopo, and the lightening of the 642-year old 16-point lamp, called Atupa Olujumerindilogun on the third day. This was followed by iboriade on the fourth day, which is the assemblage of all the crowns of past rulers (Ataojas) for blessings.
The Osun Osogbo festival is now a UNESCO-rated festival in the world attracting foreigners from continents in the world and Goldberg is the official beer sponsor.
On the last day of the event, the roads were filled with multitude of people seen wearing the same colour of dress singing and dancing. The people from all nooks and crannies of the globe were expectant of escorting the Arugba (the virgin who bears the calabash of sacrifice to the Osun goddess) from the royal family. She is chosen divinely through the Osun goddess who makes her choice known through the Ifa oracle. The Arugba is not just an ordinary teenager; she is guarded by bodyguards and Iya Osun. Her face is covered with a cloak and she is under a strong spell, one which gives her the strength she needs throughout the day. She is in trance as she walks the distance from the Ataoja’s palace to the Osun sacred grove, as incantations are being chanted. The crowd does the same, for they pray and believe that all their problems would be solved.
Everyone that is around must repeat the prayer, which drives away curses and anyone who refuses to do so is in danger of attracting the rejected curses.
The cultural fiesta was organised by the state government, with the support of National Commission for Museum & Monument (NCMM) and Goldberg.