The Osun-Osogbo festival yesterday kicked off amid pomp and pageantry with the traditional cleansing of Osogbo called ‘Iwopopo’ to mark the official commencement of the 2021 edition of the annual sacrifice to celebrate the Osun river goddess.
A statement issued by the media consultant to the festival, Mr. Toye Arulogun, and made available to journalists in Ibadan, said the Ataoja of Osogbo, Oba Jimoh Oyetunji, led the Osogbo Cultural Heritage Council, traditional chiefs, worshippers, devotees, government officials and residents of Osogbo in a symbolic cleansing of the city in a march through designated routes after which different age and social groups, communities and titled chiefs paid homage to the king seated in the centre of town.
He said the occasion, which witnessed drumming, singing and dancing, brought the city of Osogbo to a halt for hours as residents trooped out to celebrate the flag-off of the biggest annual religious festival in the Yoruba race.
According to him, other key activities to mark this year’s Osun-Osogbo festival include the lighting of the 500-year-old sixteen-point lamp called ‘Ina Olojumerindinlogun’ slated for August 5, a unique assemblage and display of the crowns of the past Ataojas of Osogbo, for blessings, which will take place on the August 9, 2021.
Arulogun added that the grand finale of the festival, which is being live streamed for a local and international audience of Osogbo indigenes, Osun devotees, worshippers and Yoruba culture enthusiasts in diaspora, will come up on August 13, and it is the sacrificial offering by ‘Arugba’ at the Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove celebrated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2005.