Osun festival started over 700 years ago when a group of settlers led by one great hunter, Olutimehin settled on the bank of the river to escape the famine in their former dwelling place. Osun, the water goddess was said to have appeared to Olutimehin and requested him and his group to move up some bit to higher ground – the present Osogbo town. Osun pledged to protect the group and make their women fruitful if they would offer an annual sacrifice to her in return. The group agreed, vowing to sacrifice annually to the goddess trusting that she would honour her promise. Today, the annual sacrifice has gone past just offering sacrifices to a river goddess, it has become an international celebration of cultural events attracting people from all over the world.
The Osun Osogbo festival is celebrated every year, for two weeks in the month of August. The festival begins with Iwopopo, the traditional cleansing of the town of evil. After three days, the Ina Olujumerindinlogun, a 600-year-old, 16-point lamp is lighted. Following this, is the Iboriade, where all the crowns of the past kings or Ataojas are assembled for blessing by the sitting Ataoja of Osogbo, the Arugba, the Yeye Osun, and a committee of priestesses.
The Osun festival started as an annual sacrifice to the river goddess. Presently, it is an international celebration of cultural events. The Osun Osogbo festival is no longer a cultural event of the Osogbo or Yoruba people, it has become a global event with people attending from Cuba, Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Spain, Canada, and the United States.
Adherents of Osun goddess travel from all over the world to attend the annual cultural event in Osogbo, Osun State. The traditional ruler of Osogbo Town, the Ataoja of Osogbo – HRM Oba Jimoh Olanpekun Larooye II, the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) representing the federal government, and the Osun State government all collaborate to make the annual event a great success.
international celebration of traditional and cultural events, begins with Iwopopo, the traditional cleansing of the town of evil on August 5 and after three days, the Ina Olujumerindinlogun, a 600-year-old, 16-point lamp is lighted on Thursday, August 8, 2019.
The Osun Festival custodian stated that the grand finale presentation of the celebration of the festival in 2019 will berth with Iboriade, Ataoja’s Crown Assemblage and FUMAN’s performance day on Monday August 2019, 2019, stressing that there will be a State tour of Historical and Cultural-Tourism sites the Arugba berth ceremony and dancing, singing as well as drumming event on Tuesday, August 13.
He noted that Ayo Olopon Contest (native Ayo Game), Football Competition Final, Arts & Crafts Fair and Children’s Fiesta at the Palace Pavilion hold on Wednesday, August 14, adding that there will be Ataoja’s Chieftaincy Coronation and FTAN’s Osun Festival Tourism Forum on Thursday, August 15.
Oba Oyetunji pointed out that the Osun Osogbo Festival Grand Procession-Osun Grove, Ataoja’s Royal Invitational Reception, an All White Party and Award Presentation will come up August 16, 2019, which will also be the date for the closing ceremony.
The Ataoja said that this year’s festival will be 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 deity and the Grove.