The annual Osun Osogbo Festival of 2023 kicked off on Monday, starting with the traditional ritual of Iwopopo, or pathway cleansing, in the city of Osogbo.
The ceremonial event took place at the bustling Gbaemu Junction. Devotees of Osun and local chiefs paid their respects to the Ataoja of Osogbo, Oba Jimoh Oyetunji Olanipekun, to the rhythm of drums and traditional dances.
The festival has increasingly become a magnet for tourists and cultural enthusiasts from within and outside Nigeria, who flock to Osogbo to witness the vibrant festivities. Local entertainers put on cultural performances, captivating the gathered residents with their artistic presentations.
Subsequently, Oba Olanipekun, accompanied by his queens, led a procession of the Osogbo Cultural Heritage Council, traditional chiefs, worshippers, government officials, and locals in a symbolic cleansing of the city. The ceremonial parade took a designated route, after which various age groups, communities, and titled chiefs paid their respects to the monarch.
Further highlights of this year’s festival include the lighting of the centuries-old 16-point lamp known as Ina Olojumerindinlogun, and Iboriade, an exclusive assembly and display of the crowns of past Ataojas of Osogbo, sought for blessings.
According to the festival organisers, the grand finale will be broadcasted live to cater to the local and international audience comprising Osogbo locals, Osun worshippers, and enthusiasts of Yoruba culture scattered across the globe.
Security measures were taken in the Oja-Oba area near the palace, with roads being barricaded and vehicles being redirected to alternative routes.
IMAGE: People’s Gazette