The annual festival this year marks the beginning of a new era for the age – long traditional festival, which is a celebration of the religious – cultural heritage of the people, with a new consultant contracted for the festival.
Activities leading to the grand finale, which is to hold at the Osun Grove will kick – off in the town, with the Iwopopo (traditional sweeping) ceremony billed for August 5 followed by the lightening of the traditional 600 – year old 16 points lamp, known as Olujumerindinlogun, on August 8; Iboriade Day, which is Ataoja’s crown assemblage and FUMAN’s performance day is fixed for August 12; while a tour of historical and cultural tourist sites in the town, the Arugba berth ceremony and dancing, singing as well as drumming is billed for August 13.
This will be followed by such activities as Ayo Olopon Contest (Native Ayo game), Football competition final, arts and crafts fair and children’s Fiesta at the palace pavilion on August 14, and Ataoja’s chieftaincy coronation and FTAN’s Osun Festival Tourism Forum holds on August 15.
Then on Friday August 16, the town will be agog with the grand finale of the cultural festival, which will feature as main attraction the procession from the Ataoja palace to the Osun Grove, with the Arugba Osun (votary maiden) leading all Osun devotees and worshippers as well as the people and visitors to the grove to consummate the religious aspect of the festival amidst cultural fun fair and all sorts of entertainment activities by the people from all sections of the town and across the South Western part of the country.
This will climax with social feasting by the people who see this festival as a communal occasion for them to play host to their kindred and visitors from all over the world, and of course, Ataoja’s royal invitational reception, which is an all – white party and award presentation.
According to the Ataoja, this year’s festival will offer another opportunity for the people to benefit from the healing power of Osun River goddess, assuring that he would continue to uphold the sanctity and sacredness of the Osun goddess and the grove. Equity Global, a culture and tourism consultancy firm, with Williams Derrick, as the principal consultant, is the new festival consultant, replacing Infogem Nigeria Limited, which for many years served as organiser and consultant of the festival. Infogem is headed by Otunba Ayo Olmoko.