he Oro Festival is a Yoruba celebration held in South-West Nigeria. It is an occasion commemorated by Yoruba towns and localities. It is a Patriarchal yearly traditional Festival, as it is exclusively celebrated by male descendants who are paternal natives to the exact regions where the event is taking place. Females and non-natives are not allowed to attend the celebration because oral history claims that Oro must not be seen by women or non-native.
Oro is a personification of administrative power, and his name denotes fierceness, tempest, or provocation. Oro is said to prowl the forest near towns, and as he approaches, he produces a peculiar, whirring, roaring noise. All female must lock themselves up in their homes and refrain from peeking out on pain of death as soon as they hear this.
Its ceremony, however, varies from town to town. The Oro can last anywhere from four days to three lunar months, depending on the community. The celebrations stretch a day in areas like Ikorodu, an outskirt in Lagos State.
Some people celebrate the holiday in July, while others wait until August or September to do so. In the case of Ikorodu, the event usually takes place in May.
The death of a king, on the other hand, is a perfect occasion. Southwest Nigerian towns and villages, like most traditional African communities, have kings known as Obas. Despite westernization, the Oba’s role in Nigeria is still valued, despite the fact that they have no constitutional powers.
When the Oba passes away, there is a particular atonement and mourning time. According to common belief, a portion of the latter entails human sacrifice. Oro devotees, on the other hand, frequently refute the claim of such a sacrifice.
Oro does not visit the town unless it is for a special occasion. Oro makes its presence known throughout the celebration by emitting a whirring, roaring sound that can be heard throughout the area. Majowu, his wife, creates the whirring sound.
Oro is reported to be dressed in a shell robe and wearing a white wooden mask with blood smeared on his lips. It moves in the same direction as its flock. Its adherents make their presence known by reciting incantations aloud.
Women who see Oro, according to legend, are doomed. This is due to the fact that they are frequently visited by death.
Oro’s voice is created by whirling a thin strip of wood, about 21/2 inches wide, 12 inches long, and tapering at both ends, around a stick with a long string. It is, in fact, the “bull-roarer,” an instrument that Mr. Andrew Lang (A Scottish poet/writer born in the UK, lived between 31 March 1844 -20 July 1912) has demonstrated was utilized in the mysteries of Ancient Greece, Australia, New Mexico, New Zealand, and South Africa. No woman may see the “bullroarer” and live, and all women are obligated to state that they believe Oro is a powerful Orisha (deity) and to act on that belief, under penalty of death. Oro Doko, a celebration dedicated to Oro, is held every year in Ondo. It lasts three lunar months, and every ninth day, women are obligated to stay inside their homes from dawn to noon, while the men parade through the streets, whirling the bull-roarer, dancing, singing, and beating drums, and slaughtering all stray dogs and fowls, on which thev feast afterwards. No one is allowed to climb Olumo, a big granite boulder on the top of a hill in Abeokuta that is sacred to Oro.
According to mythology, Oro’s raison d’être is to fend against evil in the neighborhood while also entertaining. When the followers are out performing, they act as if they are on guard. Stealing and robbery are thus prohibited, at least in the conventional setting. The Ifa oracle is also consulted, and the required sacrifices are made. People believe that this will aid in the maintenance of peace.
Ironically, Oro, the spouse, is the only one who is mentioned in most Yoruba cities. Majowu, Oro’s wife, remains completely unknown to them. Oro is said to be a god who lives on a very high realm that humans cannot approach. Oro is thought to be a masculine god, particularly in Anango and Egbado land. Majowu stands between him and mankind. Oro, her husband, has given her a message to deliver.
Majowu converses in both divine and human languages. Janus, the two-faced Roman fetish of beginnings and gateways, is most likely her Yoruba analogue. The only difference is that no photographs are seen in this case. The truth of Majowu, however, is that it is a man, a male human being, who travels with a traditional mouth organ consisting of a bamboo pipe with a cellophane membrane on both ends and a mouth opening in the middle. As the man speaks into the little organ, the wind from his mouth escapes through the closed lateral apertures, vibrating the cellophane membrane and producing strange noises similar to those of a mouth organ or harmonica. As a result, the use of the harmonica is frowned upon throughout Anago territory.
No man is considered such in traditional Yoruba societies unless he has been initiated into the cult. In many ways, the initiation symbolizes the transition from childhood to maturity. It occurs around adolescence, depending on his parents’ and other males’ assessments of his skills. Before initiation, one is commonly referred to as an Ogberi (or Egberi), or an uninitiated man with the status of a woman. The initiation reveals the world’s mysteries to the newcomer.
On the other hand, the festival’s celebration may have an impact on our economy since investors entering the nation during the festival may be denied entry into the community where it is held.
However, a traditional ruler defends the Oro cult by claiming that “investors will come to our village with passion if we are properly cleansed.”
The major goal of the Oro festival, however, is said to be to maintain peace and order as well as to cleanse the society.