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7 interesting things to know about the sacred Osun-Osogbo grove

The African continent is one rich in history as many people try to preserve the beauty of it by retelling the stories. Nigeria in particular is know for having several religions and traditional gods and these deities have interesting history.

In the Yoruba tradition, one of the deities that can
boast of having several worshippers all over the
world is the Osun goddess who is famed for being
the god of fertility.
Many people gather for the annual Osun festival
which is held at the sacred Osun-Osogbo grove.
The grove itself is a home of several shrines and
sculptures that it has become a beautiful edifice.
However, before the grove attained this level of
popularity it used to be a neglected forest as
priests abandoned it and shrines were neglected
until Austrian woman, Susanne Wenger,
transformed the grove.

1. In the 1950s the grove was an abandoned
forest and actions like hunting, felling of trees,
fishing and other things that disrupted the grove
were in practice at the time. However, Austrian
artist Susanne Wenger transformed the place and
prohibited these acts. Susanne eventually became
known as Adunni Olorisa and she learned the
Yoruba tradition and also made artworks to
beautify the grove.

Susan Wenger aka Adunni Olorisa

2. The Osun-Osogbo festival holds yearly during
the month of August at the grove and it entails
beautiful cultural displays. The festival is usually a
two-week-long programme.
3. According to reports, the festival starts with a
cleansing of the town known as ‘Iwopopo’ followed
by the customary lighting of a 500-year-old 16
point lamp called the ‘Ina Olojumerindinlogun’

4. Also, the festival entails the assembling of the
crowns of the past Ataojas or rulers of Osogbo
called the ‘Iboriade’. The event is reportedly led by
the sitting ruler of Osogbo as well as priestesses,
the Yeye Osun and the Arugba. The significance of
this action is reportedly for blessings.
5. The Arugba is a chaste lady who carries the
sacrificial calabash on her head during the festival.
Some ladies have been lucky enough to be the
calabash bearer for many years and even look
forward to doing it again.

The Arugba at an Osun-Osogbo festival Photo: Steve Carloste Blog

6. It is said that a spirit descends on the Arugba
as she dances and turns energetically with the
calabash on her head without it falling down. The
calabash is also said to contain food such as solid
pap (eko) and other gifts to present to the Osun
goddess in the river.

7. The Osun-Osogbo grove was inscribed as a
UNESCO World Heritage site in 2005.

By Victor Aluede G.y

Aluede G.y Victory is a history
enthusiast an a mediapreneur living in Aboru,
Lagos. He studied arts at skills click foundation, he is an alumni of Rehoboth college Aboru, Lagos.

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