By Biyi Akinnodi
It was celebration galore as Owo community in Ondo State celebrated the 2017 edition of the igogo festival, the annual festival held in commemoration of Queen Oronshen one of the then Olowo’s Queens.
The festival is regarded as the traditional valentine’s celebration and lasts for 17days featuring various activities.
According to Olamitan of Owo, Prince AdelekeOlateru-Olagbegi, ”Igogo festival has been in existence for over 700 years. It is the festival of love when people spread love.’
“The festival was held in remembrance of Queen Oronsen who was a goddetirned queen. The Olowo (king) fell in love with her because of her beauty.
”Modernity has been introduced to the festival as the use of human as sacrifice has been replaced with goats,” Prince Olateru-Olagbegi added.
Talking about the need for Africans to embrace the culture and not neglect it for religion, and the need to make Igogo festival global, a traditional ruler, High Chief Oludoro said, “Our culture should not suffer because of our religion.
“There is need for the festival to be given a global coverage as well as the impetus it deserves. We must not lose our culture and our dialect for western education,” he said.
Also speaking, OtunbaTajudeen Akinyemi described the festival as one he could not miss.
“I am cultural oriented and no matter where I am I must come home to witness the function every year, the festival is the gathering of good people for peace, love and tranquility.”
The festival which lasted for 17 days featured the release of the new yam and some other activities including dancing of bared-chested men (Ayoyos), dancing of the king with the chiefs in the palace courtyard, display of Ogun items, popularly called ipate Ogun, the dancing of the king at the market.
Marking the grand finale of the festival, the Olowo of Owo danced to the market (ojaoba) in his royal regalia (ewuokun) while coral beads were used as an ornament from his head to his feet.
One of the highlights of the event was the king dressing like a woman with the Akowa, the spiritual leader of the Iloro quarter dancing around the market with him seven times.