Olojo Festival is an annual gathering of relative Yoruba cultures to showcase the stream of the blessed heritage of mankind by the gods of the land. Designed to propitiate, cleanse, and intercede for peace, growth, and development for all the progenitors of Oduduwa, Olojo Festival is globally revered as one of the sacred festivals in the world. This is evident as people across the globe usually throng the festival to be partakers of its abounding blessings.
Ile-Ife, Ife Oodaye, Ife Lagbo, is considered the cradle of the Yoruba race, hence the ancient city is the hub of this traditional festival.
2021 Olojo Festival is not without its glitz and glamour to the fascination of every individual that attended the festival. This year’s Olojo Festival started its grand celebration on Saturday, September 25, 2021, although it is a week-long festival.
Like with the tradition, this year’s Olojo festival commenced with the announcement of Gbajure by the Owa Eredumi of Ife.
The chief notified the people of Ile-Ife of the beginning of the festival, which also signified the entry of the Ooni into seclusion in Iledi House in Iremo Quarters to perform traditional rites, for seven days during which he communed with the ancestors and prayed for peace, unity, and development of the town.
In the Olojo mysticism, it is said that the night the king first appears to the people, whatever he says will come to pass as he will be highly spiritually possessed by the Irumole and the gods. Various groups from across the world waited with bated breath as they expected the exit of the king.
This is the ancient, sacred crown inherited by the king and it is the only physical symbol of authority the Ooni of Ife.
The crown is believed to be the original crown used by Oduduwa during his reign in the classical era of Yoruba history.
Myth has it that the holy Aare crown is made of over 149 undisclosed objects such as cutlasses and hoes and weighs, conservatively 100 kilograms.
This crown holds great significance in the Olojo celebration, as the Ooni of Ife is the only person spiritually enabled to wear it during the cultural feast.
Historically, it is believed there is a deep tie between the sacred crown and the Ogun deity (the god of iron) due to the crown’s components and it must be brought before the Ogun deity at -Mogun shrine in Ile-Ife on each Olojo Festival season.
Saturday, September 25, 2021 (Ojo Okemogun)
This day was the Ojo Aare featured with a thoroughly entertaining day with over fifty (50) families performing before the king, praying for the king who in turn gifted the families with cash.
Hundreds of visitors gathered to celebrate the significant celebration, with the Executive Governor of Osun State, Adegboyega Oyetola as the special guest of honor represented by his deputy, Benedict Alabi. The governor said he remained committed to anything that could expose the state internationally and he would not relent despite the paucity of funds.
“Our government promised that the Yoruba Museum and the World Heritage Centre, the first of its kind, would be located in Ile-Ife,” the governor stated.
Oba Ogunwusi was at the Emese Court where he was adorned with the Aare Crown and he was greeted with gunshots. He went to Ile-Nla (Big House) around 5:16 pm where they buried all the past Ooni of Ife to pray.
The special event was also well attended by Princess (Dr) Toyin Kolade ,Iyalaje Oodua, Queen, Olori Silekunola Ogunwusi, President Muhammadu Buhari, represented by Senator Jide Omoworare, Kogi State Deputy Governor Edward Onaoja, traditional rulers, and other personalities attended the festival. All the gods in Yoruba’s historical background were duly represented in performances that lasted for about 20 minutes.
According to the record, there is yearly a push of rain. A specific family that worships the sun will surface their idol and used the idol, which is branded on a vertical rod to direct and disperse the rain out of the palace. However, this year was also not exceptional.
At about 5:30 pm that day, the Lokoloko, who are the soldiers of the king was seen with canes on both hands paving and clearing the way for the king as he symbolically walked out of the palace to the Ogun shrine, popularly called the Oke-Mogun shrine, in all-white apparel. The mammoth crowd jubilated ecstatically as the Ooni, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi wore the sacred ‘Are Crown’ for the seventh time since his enthronement in 2015.
The head of the hunters, Mr. Olafioye, shared a twenty-one-gun salute, which will relieve the heaviness of the Aare crown.
Adjacent to the Oke-Mogun shrine is the Aje shrine which the Ooni also visited to pray for the wealth and prosperity of the land.
Having fulfilled these traditional rites as the grand emissary and custodian of Yoruba culture, the Ooni then walked back to the palace being guided and guarded by the Lokoloko.
The highlight of the evening didn’t douse without the entertainment of guests classed with style and beauty courtesy of Iyalaje Oodua, Princess (Dr.) Toyin Kolade, who in her gesticulated ambiance treated guests to an evening of razzmatazz with a serenading exuberance from the musical band.