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Major Yoruba festivals in Nigeria

Nigeria is known to be the largest black nation on earth. It is rich in landmass and cultural heritage. There are about 250 ethnic groups in Nigeria with over 520 different languages. The major languages are hausa, Igbo and Yoruba. Each of these cultures or tribes have their Festival which Showcases the beauty of their culture as well as its history.

Yoruba land is known for its richness in cultural heritage. Beach festivals attract a number of Nigerians in diaspora, spectators and even tourists from different parts of the world. The government have taken it a step further to upgrade this festivals as a source of income from tourism. These festivals include traditional musicians with songs which are created with traditional instruments such as the drums and advanced precautions. Below are a number of the festivals that are celebrated annually in Yoruba land.

1. Olojo Festival

Olojo Festival is a festival that occurs every year in Ile-Ife town in osun state. It is a festival done in Honour of Ogun the god of iron. ‘Olojo’ literally means the owner of the day. This festival signifies the day of the year that the creator of the Universe also known as Olodumare in Yoruba especially blessed. On this day the Ooni of Ife appears to the public after being in seclusion for several days. He comes out wearing the Are crown which is the crown of the king. When he comes out, he visits several shrines to offer prayers for the Peace of Yoruba lands in Nigeria. The festival is held in high esteem as a form of Unity to the Yoruba people

2.  Sango Festival

This festival was rebranded and renamed as world Sango festival by the oyo state government in 2013. The Festival is held every year in honour of Sango, the god of thunder and fire. Sango is known to be at the third king of the ancient Oyo Kingdom and was a known Warlord of the land. It is believed to this day that the boundaries of the present day Oyo state were created by Sango.

3. Eyo Festival

Eyo festival is a well-known Yoruba festival celebrated in Lagos State. ‘Eyo’ Is the name of the costumed dancers who come out during this festival. They are also known as masquerades. Back in the days, it was a festival used to escort the Spirit of a dead Lagos king or a high chief and also, used to introduce the new king or new high chief. Although this practice has been lost due to the conversion of Yoruba people to Christianity or Islam, the Eyo festival is celebrated today as a form of tourist attraction. This festival now takes on the Lagos Island in Lagos State Nigeria. It is a means and a good way to generate new revenue for small businesses around Lagos Island and for the Lagos State government.

4. Oro Festival

The Oro festival is a festival usually celebrated in different yoruba settlements in Nigeria. This festival occurs annually and involves only the male descendants of the paternal natives of the town where the festival is taking place. During the Oro festival, visitors, non-natives of the town and all females stay indoors as it is an abomination for a woman or anyone who is not allowed to participate in the festival to come in contact with the Oro. The celebration of the Oro depends on town to town. This festival is also performed after the Demise of a Yoruba monarch.

5. Ojude Oba Festival

Ojude Oba Festival is a famous yoruba festival that occurs annually in ijebu-ode, Ogun state. It always holds on the third day after Eid al-Kabir. This festival showcases different forms of history, legends and tribal diversity in the event. People travel from Far and near to come and pay homage to their King via this event. Over 250 thousand people from different parts of Nigeria come to attend this festival every year.

6. Igogo Festival

Igogo Festival is a Yoruba festival which is celebrated in Owo, Ondo State annually. It is held in honour of Queen Orosen who is a goddess and wife of ancient Oluwo of Iwo-Olowo Rerengejen. This festival happens every year in the month of September and is celebrated for 17 days non-stop to celebrate the festival. During this festival, the king of Owo and all his high chiefs dress like women by wearing beaded gowns or coral beads and even tie head gears and caps or even plait their hair. It is also a period for the celebration of new yams in the land.

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Posted by Bols Jacobs

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