Ogun festival is an annual festival / cultural carnival observed by the Yoruba people of Ondo town to commemorates the god (Ogun), a mythical warrior, and the birth of his son, Oranmiya who became King of Yoruba land later.
Ogu is the god of Iron and war as well as the patron of blacksmiths and hunter. He was believed to be the first god that decended to the earth while it was still a marshy waterland. He was said to be betrayed during his journey in Ire-Ekiti which led to his death. Oral literature and legend has it that Ogun rose from dead to behead all who betrayed him.
The festival which is traditionally celebrated in late August or early September with sacrifice of snails, tortoises and dogs is a time when music fill the air and marches all around and over the streets as people, families,kindreds, kingdom both the one at home and in the diaspora as well as the friends come from far and near with special and unique dresses to celebrate their ancestors ( Ogun and other heroes and heroines).
The 2019 edition held on 15th September is described by participants as the most peaceful and colorful in the past decade. It is a tripitite ceremony – featuring aisun ogun (night vigil), ogun ale (night ogun) and ogun owuo (morning ogun celebration).
The Ogun festival 2019 features procession involving all traditional and modern day professionals and guilds. Every possible professional group in Ondo – such as blacksmiths, medicine men and women, drivers, hunters, tailors, barbers etc who participated in the celebration with exceptions of probably, civil servants and white-collar workers.
Most of them are usually dressed in rags, palm- fronds with their faces and bodies smeared with blue dye, white powder and or charcoal while some however, use the celebration to show affluence and nobility by wearing unusually beautiful multicoloured outfits.
The Osemawe is not left out of this festivity. He leads the procession of other high chief to the epicenter of the festivity where all other groups in their procession pay homage to him (Osemawe). The Osemawe whose agbada and beaded crown describes the rich cultural heritage of the people of Ondo town and Yorubas.
Every professional demonstrates his trade. The most esteemed group is the traditional medicine men referred to as oloogun (medicine people). They are attired in medicine garments laced with all kinds of frightening herbal substances and signposts, which display the name of their pedigree and praise names, some with warnings written in proverbs and the metaphorical magico-medical expertise of the oloogun.
Hon. Adewale Adelakun ( Bujebudanu), Care Taker Chairman, Ondo West Local Govt. Council in an interaction with Panafricreporters crew at the arena of the 2019 Ogun festival celebration appreciates and commends Oba Dr. Victor Kiladejo CFR, (Jilo lll) the Oseawe and Paramount Ruler of Ondo Kingdom while reiterating his passion and commitment to promoting the cultural heritage of the people adding that his projection is to bring the rich cultural heritage into lime light thereby drawing the attention of UNESCO to the acceptance and acknowledgement of same as universal cultural heritage.
Besides the cultural value that the cultural heritage brings,the incorporation of these cultural heritage into culture and tourism will increase the revenue of government hence, the development of our society and Community, says the caretaker chaitman.
Tomide Leonard Akinribido, Hon. Member Representing Ondo West Constituency 1 who doubles as the Deputy Minority Leader and Chairman, House Committee on SDGs, Intergovernmental and multilateral relations describes the Ogun festival as the only festival that break the wall of religion, political affiliation, social class and professions but brings everyone under the unity of culture expressed in love, sharing, peace, harmony etc among sons and daughters of Ondo town Origin.
The Hon. Further expresses appreciation to the Oba Dr. Victor Kiladejo CFR, (Jilo lll) the Osemawe and Paramount Ruler of Ondo Kingdom for bringing peace and tranquility back to Ondo town adding that Ogun festival before now is symnomous with violence until he (Osemawe) changed the narrative.