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Thursday 24 April  
Nigerians dance at the yearly Osun festival in Osogbo (August 2001)
Osogbo, Nigeria
Osogbo, Nigeria

Nigeria's Yoruba celebrate the Osun-Osogbo Festival

Published on : 5 November 2013 - 7:04am | By RNW Africa Desk (Photo: AFP)
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The Yoruba in Osun State, Nigeria still adhere to their indigenous religion. Their Osun-Osogbo Festival at a sacred grove just outside the city of Osogbo, has become a major tourist attraction with hundreds of thousands of visitors coming from across the globe every year. The grove was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005.

Besides attracting visitors, the festival rekindles an ongoing debate between residents of Osogbo. Some locals – particularly the youth – regard both the festival and the Yoruba religion as a hindrance to achieving success in the modern world. Religious devotees respond to this view by arguing that Nigeria will never move ahead without actively including indigenous culture and religion – which they see as two inseparable entities – into the developmental process.

  • A son of one of the devotees poses with a man with an ape mask<br>&copy; Photo: Immanuel Afolabi  -
  • Children with traditional instruments<br>&copy; Photo: Immanuel Afolabi  -
  • Devotees dance around traditional lamp which must be kept burning until daybreak<br>&copy; Photo: Immanuel Afolabi  -
  • Devotees along with the daughter of one of them<br>&copy; Photo: Immanuel Afolabi  -
  • Devotees passing by a mosque. Islam is the predominant religion in the area<br>&copy; Photo: Immanuel Afolabi  -
  • Teenagers engaging in the festivities<br>&copy; Photo: Immanuel Afolabi  -
  • The Aworo Osun or chief female worshipper<br>&copy; Photo: Immanuel Afolabi  -
  • Young man participating in a ritual<br>&copy; Photo: Immanuel Afolabi  -
  • 11-year-old Osuntimi Oyetunji is this year’s Arugba Osun or votary maid<br>&copy; Photo: Immanuel Afolabi  -


Asabi 14 November 2013 - 9:52am

Heartening to see

Prince Ademola Oyedokun 14 November 2013 - 6:46am / Nigeria

If you are on ground in Yorubaland generally- South-West states in Nigeria, you will observe without hesitation that those who argue against indeginous religion are those of Islamic and christian faiths who are any. Foreign. Support for tradition overwhelms opposition. With traditional political institutions of Oba rulership in Yoruba communities preserved by written laws, and Obas perform traditional duties which includes traditional festivals, our culture and history cannot be erased by stooges of colonialism- Prince Ademola is a Prince of Ifon in Oroluland, the home of Obatala the King of all Orisas.

Baba Olosun 13 November 2013 - 8:21pm / Nigeria

You really did a good job and well balanced reports. Thanks for promoting out tradition in a right way without prejudice and bias which are known with western media.
- Baba Olosun, the head of all Olosuns in Osogboland.

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