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This year’s Osun-Osogbo Festival, which took place between 18th-23rd August, 2014 in the ancient town of Osogbo, south-west Nigeria, was concluded in an array of beautiful and fascinating cultural activities.
On the last day of the week-long festival, the virgin maiden, known as Arugbá, who serves as mediator between the people and the river goddess- the Osun deity, will dance around Osogbo town, visiting the houses of the spiritual god-fathers and priests of the town to pay homage to them and receive their prayers as well as the Palace of the King, the Ataoja of Osogbo land, Oba Jimoh Oyetunji Olanipekun. Afterwards, Arugba will then proceed down to the famous Osun grove to perform her final rights to the revered goddess of Osun River. To be qualified to be an Arugba in Osogbo, the maiden must be born into a royal family and a descendant of the first Ataoja of Osogbo land.
Arugba is normally dressed in striking traditional attire, carrying a massive calabash covered with red clothing that partially covered her face on her head. Arugba’s entourage is led by the Osun Priestesses which are the Iya Osun and the Olosun women. The Iya Osun are clad in white traditional attires while the Olosun women are dressed in blue/purple Aso-Oke traditional attires and carry big sticks in their hands as they dance along. Arugba is guarded on every side by the Esogba men. They are dressed in blue traditional shirts and red scarves worn on their heads, waist and necks, and they ensure that she is not shoved or pushed down by the surging crowd around her.
See photos of the procession below:
– Arugba (somewhere within the crowd) and her entourage dancing around Osogbo town. The entourage is led by the Osun Priestesses (Iya Osun- dressed in white and the Olosun women- dressed in blue/purple Aso-oke and carry big sticks in their hands).
Arugba is guarded on every side by the Esogba men, dressed in blue traditional shirts and red or white scarves worn on their heads, waist and necks, and they ensure that she is not shoved or pushed down by the surging crowd around her.
– Arugba arrives at the Palace of the Ataoja of Osogbo.
– The king making prayers for Arugba.
– The Iya Osun priestesses leads Arugba away to the Osun grove.
– Arriving at the Osun grove to perform the final rights at the foot of the river.
– The Iya Osun priestesses making prayers for people at the foot of Osun River, at Osun grove.
This article was written by Folarin Kolawole
Founder of Naijatreks, Nigerian-born Folarin Kolawole is a geologist, travel writer and researcher. When not at work, he travels the length and breadth of Nigeria, exploring, taking photos and writing about her numerous hidden tourist potentials. 'Naijatreks' is a product name registered under the Ntreks brand, which is also duly registered by Nigeria's Federal Corporate Affairs Commission. The contents on this blog are re-usable. However, it must be ensured that it is linked back to this blog, and correctly attributed to Naijatreks or the author. Please do not edit, rewrite or commercialize the original works on this blog without direct and written permission from the Founder (Folarin Kolawole). For inquiries and advert placement on the blog, kindly contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.