t is a commemoration of “Ogun,” the god of iron, who is said to be the first son of Oduduwa (the Supreme God), the Yoruba people’s ancestors. The Olojo Festival honours the Yoruba god – Ogun, who is also known as the god of Iron. The festival is an age-old event that is characterized by prayers, music, and fanfare for the people of Ile-Ife, Osun State in southern Nigeria. It takes place every year in October and lasts three days.
The appellation “Olojo,” which means “Owner of the Day,” is given to the deity Ogun. According to Yoruba legend, Ogun created the universe by his powers, resulting in the creation of the town of Ile-Ife, which is home to 401 deities.
Before the event, the town’s Monarch, known as the Ooni of Ife, retires into seclusion for seven days, only to be seen and heard from by the main priest. He occupies himself with prayers and sacrifices during those seven-day period without eating or drinking that is, he goes on an exclusive dry fasting denying himself of any comfort whatsoever.
After seven days of isolation, the Ooni of Ife emerges a new person, spiritually strengthened and endowed with supernatural abilities. This is the official start of the festival. The inhabitants of Ile-Ife march to the palace, where the Ooni of Ife bestows blessings upon them.
The Aare crown, which the Ooni of Ife wears, is a revered crown. The Aare crown, which symbolizes the Ooni of Ife’s authority and weighs well over fifty kilograms that is, the accessories attached to the crown decorated with exotic beads and rare ornaments. The Ooni of Ife’s primary outward emblem of authority is this old, sacred crown, which he inherited from his father. The crown is thought to be Oduduwa’s original crown from his reign in Yoruba history’s classical age.
According to legend, the sacred Aare crown is made up of around 149 unknown things like cutlasses and hoes and weighs around 100 kilograms. The Ooni of Ife is the only person spiritually permitted to wear this crown during the Olojo ceremony, hence it has immense significance.
Due to the sacred crown’s components, it is thought that the sacred crown and the Ogun deity (the god of iron) have a strong connection, and it must be presented to the Ogun deity at Oke-Mogun shrine in Ile-Ife during the Olojo Festival period.
The Ooni of Ife leads a parade of traditional leaders and citizens around town, stopping at sacred places and important shrines just to execute the necessary ceremonies.
Heavy gunshots are fired into the air as the Ooni of Ife comes through town wearing the Aare crown. The gunshots are thought to assist the Ooni endure the weight of the crown.
According to records, there is a yearly rain push, or a diversion of rain and storm away from the event grounds so that the celebration is not disrupted. A family who worships the sun will bring their idol to the surface and use it, which is branded on a vertical pole, to direct and distribute the rain away from the palace. This year will not be any different.
On the last day of the event, the Ooni of Ife pays honour to the clans of his ancestral lineage. Following that, there will be singing, drumming, dancing, and performance.
In the folklore of Ile-Ife in Osun State, Olojo Festival is an annual cultural festival held in Ile-Ife to commemorate the day the Almighty created the earth even though in literal terms Olojo means “the day of the first dawn”.
To the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, however, it has evolved into a Festival of the entire black race.
“Olojo is a festival honouring God Almighty. It is a part of our culture, tradition, and history. That is why it is a festival for all black people around the world, and it is the pride of all black people, not just those in Ife, Osun State.
“It is a celebration of all black people around the world, not only Nigerians. God literally put me on this throne and anointed me to do everything in my power to right a lot of wrongs, particularly in our culture and heritage”.
In a recent interview, he stated, “It is really the celebration of God at the first morning (Ojoti ojo di ojo).”
Beyond the normal excitement and razzmatazz, the monarch considers the Olojo Festival to be particularly significant and meaningful.
“We have landmarks to prove that there is no spot on the planet where a cock will not crow at dawn. A cock is indicative of what we are doing on this occasion. A cock is the timekeeper; a cock does not wear a timepiece, but God utilizes a cock to remind every human being when a new day begins,” the Ooni explained.