TRADITIONAL CULTURAL FESTIVALS IN ÈGBÒRÒLAND

Preamble:

We shall briefly give a short summary of the various important traditional festivals, drums and dances of Egboroland to enable young generations to have a feel for these traditional items and practices.  Mention has been made of some of these in the body of the book. The available pictures of each of the drums decribed here are presented with full description.

1. Traditional Festivals

Every community has their different forms of festivals.  The ones that are important to Egboroland include the following:

1.2 Ẹrẹ́jà (of Láarọ́gàn) Festival:

This is the most important festival that is connected with the eating of new yam. It is the festival for the whole of Ìjẹ̀bú-Jẹ̀ṣà. Okansoro is the Orisa (deity) brought from Ile-Ife, it is known as Orisa-Oja.Laarogan is the name of the Orisa (deity) that is worshipped by the Obalorisa family. The Chief Priest is Obalorisa. Ẹrẹ́jà is right inside the market square. There are traditional rites that Obalorisa has to perform annually with the Àgàdá as part of the eating of new yam. Three days after Obalorisa’s new yam festival, the Oniroko would prform his own rituals for the New Yam. Remember that yam is the national food item of the Ijesa people. It has a spiritual importance even to other cultures in Nigeria. For example, there are new yam festivals which are common in Igboland.

1.3. Ọdún Àgàdá

Tradition has it that gada was what the founders of Egboroland came with from Ife. The festival is also concerned with the eating of new yam. Àgàdá belongs to all Loguns in Ìjẹ̀bú-Jẹ̀ṣà.At the start of the festival, Àgàdáwould come out in the mid-night from Òkènísàto Obalorisa compound to deliberate on the festival Àgàdáwhich only comes out during this festival.OdunÀgàdá is a royal festival. When the festival is about to end, all the Looguns would be led by the Lomodejebu with the Àgàdá to the Kabiyesi’s palace and the Oba would dance with them and other chiefs and his subjects to Ẹrẹ́jà Square to the hose of the Obalorisa. At the end of the day when prayers are offered, the Àgàdá festival would be concluded.

Though the festival would end, Àgàdá would also come out shortly to celebrate with the Odogo people during the Orin festival as the odogo people also do when they would come to Atiba Square during Àgàdá festivals. It is only after this that Àgàdá would rest until the following year.

1.4. Ògún Festival (Àbọlégùń).

Ogun is the national religion of the Ijesas as will be exhaustively discussed in Chapter twelve. The festival is symbolized by the beheading of a male dog and the Chief Priest id Oba Osogunwhose ancestors were from Ire.  Abolegun is the festival that is celebrated after the return of Oba ijebu and his entourage from Ilesa after celebrating the Ogun festival with them. As already stated in this book, whenever Ilesa was ready to celebrate the gun festival, Oba Ijebu would be consulted to give them a date. Oba Ijebu would the request Oba Osogun to prepare and between them a date would be set to perform the ceremony both in ijebu and at Ilesa.

Since it is imperative for the Osogun to first perform the ceremony at Ijebu before that of Ilesai.s“Ògúnilé la ń kókóbé, kátóbẹ́ t’òde’, as already explained. The tradition had it that the people of Ilesa would have to await the arrival of ỌbaÌjẹ̀bú before the commencement of the festival at Iléèsà. To drive home this bond of historical connection, the arrival of ỌbaÌjẹ̀bú and his entourage would sometimes be delayed deliberately in order to keep people waiting as nothing can be done until the ỌbaOsògún and ỌbaÌjẹ̀bú arrived.

ỌbaÌjẹ̀bú would remain at Ilesa for about a month before returning home where a grand reception would be awaiting him for another celebration. This is referred to as “Àbọ̀-Ilé-Ògún” shortened to Àbọléègún.

Oba Osogun: It is important for us to say a little more about the powerful Oba Osogun. He was OmoOgun’nire who is in his own class and cannot . He is the Chief Priest who play vital spiritual role in the community. He is the traditional leader of Odo-Ese community as a ritual person, which is political. He was then requested to be meeting with the other Chiefs in the palace.

Tradition had it that he would not just sit on any seat in the palace. He often came to the meeting with his seat or would not sit at all. It was said that that he could decide to just lean or sit on a ladder instead of a chair. If peradventure he sat on any chair in the palace, he would go home with such chair because no other person would sit on the chair that Oba Osogun has sat on before as he is highly spiritual with the spiritual, rather than political power.

“Ijesaniogunwa, iginiaraokobo”.

Showing that the real Ogun is celebrated in Ijebu as others only celebrate ‘wood’. The spiritual head of all Ogun worshipping in Ijesaland is Osogun.

1.5: Ọdún Ọbalógun

Ọbalógunfestival is celebrated annually on December 26 (that is not a market day) by the hunters in Ijẹbu-Ègbòrò. Throughout the celebration, they would only use meat specially hunted for the festival. They would then go to the market at Ẹrẹ́jàto inform them of the festival in which all the ingridients for use would be given to them for free without paying anything.  The base of the hunters is the ‘palace’ of Nímọ̀Ogunat Odò-Ẹsẹ̀. The hunters in Ìjẹ̀bú-Jẹ̀ṣà meet every 9 days. Since the immediate past Nímọ̀Ogun named Chief Dada passed on the regent had remain in-charge.