The grand finale of the 2019 edition of the Osun Oshogbo Festival took place on Friday with the Arugba leading a procession of devotees and tourists to the sacred groove to worship the Osun river goddess.
The goddess of the Osun river also referred to as the Osho-igbo is historically believed to be the founder of the ancient town of Oshogbo based on her relationship with the first king of Oshogbo Oba Gbadewolu Laroye.
The two weeks long cultural festival usually starts with “Iwopopo” the traditional cleansing of the town, followed three days later by the lighting of the about 500 years old “Olojomerindinlogun.” (sixteen points lamp). Next is the “Iboriade” (worship of the crowns of all past (Ataojas) led by a current Ataoja to foster blessings.
The”Arugba” (a virgin maiden) and Osun priestesses leads a procession to the sacred grove. The Arugba is the bearer of the people’s age-long prayers to the grove in a calabash of effigy.
The African traditional festival has over it’s six centuries of existence continued to grow in leaps and bounds with the people coming together yearly to celebrate their heritage and in the process attracting thousands of devotees and tourists both internationally and locally
The Osun grove was officially recognized by UNESCO in 2005 as a World Heritage site. The international recognition has made the festival to become a major tourist attraction and destination.
The people and devotees from across the globe converge expectantly in the ancient town for the procession, blessings, colourful carnivals and exhibition which have become the hallmark of the Osun Oshogbo cultural festival.
Osun Oshogbo festival with a projected 1 million attendees at the grand finale is now both a cultural and religious tourism festival with emerging economic significance to the people and contributor to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.