Oyo: The in­spir­ing Sangó fes­ti­val

Sunday Trust - - SUN­DAY MAG­A­ZINE -

From Jeremiah Oke, Ibadan

Au­gust is syn­ony­mous with the àngó Fes­ti­val which high­lights the wealth and di­ver­sity of Yoruba cul­ture. The cel­e­bra­tion of the 1,000 year old àngó fes­ti­val seems to be get­ting bet­ter with each pass­ing year, as it is be­com­ing one of the most cel­e­brated tra­di­tional fes­ti­vals in Yoruba land. It brings to­gether all the àngó wor­shipers across the world to the Oyo Alafin in Oyo State. This year’s cel­e­bra­tion was cel­e­brated with pomp and pageantry writes our cor­re­spon­dent.

Af­ter Ile-Ife, Oyo is the sec­ond home of all Yorubas. It has many tourism cen­ters, start­ing from the palace of the Alafin, .

As early as 9am on the 27th of Au­gust, the day of the grand fi­nale of the 10-day àngó fes­ti­val cel­e­bra­tion, the palace of the Alafin was full to the brim when our cor­re­spon­dent ar­rived to cover the cel­e­bra­tion of this years àngó fes­ti­val.

Tourists from ev­ery part of the world who dressed in red and white at­tires were al­ready seated, wait­ing for ar­rival of the para­mount ruler of Oyo em­pire, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi and other dig­ni­taries. Mem­bers of the Oo­dua Peo­ple’s Congress were wait­ing to re­ceive their na­tional co­or­di­na­tor, Otunba Gani Adams. There were ju­bi­la­tions and live per­for­mances by the Yoruba singers in one part of the palace, while for­eign tourists were sit­ting in other parts to ob­serve as the event un­folded.

It is a spe­cial day used to cel­e­brate àngó, a pop­u­lar Yoruba de­ity who was be­lieved to pos­sess mag­i­cal pow­ers. The fes­ti­val was re­branded as World àngó Day by the Oyo State Gov­ern­ment to sig­nify its in­ter­na­tional spread. The fes­ti­val plays host to vis­i­tors from all over the coun­try ,and fol­low­ers from for­eign coun­tries like Cuba, Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean.

Ac­cord­ing to the Yoruba his­tory, àngó was the third Alaafin-(king) of old Oyo em­pire. He took over from his brother Ajaka who was re­garded as weak. Dur­ing his reign he was con­stantly fight­ing bat­tles with other towns. He mis­tak­enly de­stroyed his palace with light­ning which brought about the end of his reign.The crown­ing of the Alaafin is usu­ally done at the shrine of àngó in Koso. How­ever, as part of tra­di­tion, the Alaafin must not sight àngó Koso while on the throne. The only time they have ac­cess to each other is dur­ing the Alaafin’s corona­tion.

It is a sig­nif­i­cant event for the Alaafin, be­cause with­out wear­ing the crown of àngó, he is not yet re­garded as an Alaafin. The crown gives him the right to rule from the old Oyo Em­pire to the present Oyo.

àngó is widely re­ferred to as the god of thun­der. He ruled Oyo king­dom for seven years and mar­ried three wives Oya, Oba and Oshun, ac­cord­ing to his­tory. He is wor­shiped on the fifth day called Ojo Jakuta in Yoruba lan­guage.

àngó is a pop­u­lar Orisa in Yoruba­land, as such his fes­ti­val plays a very im­por­tant tra­di­tional and cul­tural role among the Yoruba .It is re­garded as one of the found­ing fa­thers of the present Oyo State. It makes Yoruba peo­ple re­con­nect with each other and show­case the rich cul­tural her­itage of the Yorubas such as drum­ming, danc­ing and singing.

The fes­ti­val dates back over 1000 years when àngó mys­te­ri­ously dis­ap­peared from the palace. He was be­lieved to have com­mit­ted sui­cide af­ter he was chal­lenged by one of his pow­er­ful chiefs, who or­dered him to leave the palace. Since then the fes­ti­val has been cel­e­brated by the peo­ple of Oyo. It is a sig­nif­i­cant event for the Alaafin, be­cause with­out wear­ing the crown of àngó, he is not yet re­garded as an Alaafin. The crown gives him the right to rule from the old Oyo Em­pire to the present Oyo

Alafin gives a cash do­na­tion to Egun­gun Sango

Sango fires an ar­row

Alafin re­ceives gift of a T-shirt

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