A HISTORY OF ORANMIYAN FESTIVAL IN OYO TOWN

This  study examines the history of Oranmiyan festival in Oyo examines since 2012. Ancestor worship is an essential aspect of Yorùbá culture. For worshippers of deities like Oranmiyan and other Yorùbá pantheon gods known collectively as the òrìsà, festivals serve as a connector of the social world of  the Yorùbá to the unseen world.[1] The Yoruba pantheon consists of hundreds of gods, worshipped for an immense variety of purposes, each representative of some natural or spiritual element or human emotion. Some gods existed before the creation of the earth and others are heroes or heroines from the past that became gods after their deaths. Other gods are even natural objects in their environment such as mountains, hills and rivers that have influenced people’s lives and history. Important to  the Yoruba religion are storytelling and the journey of life, and these are connected to many sacred rituals.[2] In Oyo, these gods are honored, reverenced and worshipped particularly during festivals which often begin with the retelling of a Yorùbá myth. This is evident during Oranmiyan festival which explores Oyo history in order to explain the foundation of Oyo and the ultimate destiny of Oyo Empire.[3]  Oranmiyan worship establishes a body of relationships and transformations with the adherents. This includes, maintaining a relationship between an individual and the past history of his or her lineage. Learning and teaching of incantations, traditional dances, songs, and ontology, thus establishing continuity in the cultural tradition of Oyo town. Many traditional African festivals are celebrated in Oyo town, and are as old as the people, they are being celebrated in different ways and specified period of the year. A quick classification of these festivals into three categories further establishes the nature of traditional worship and festivals in Oyo town. First are festivals used  to celebrate agricultural products such as the  new  yam  festival. Another  festival  is  celebrated  in  memory  of  some powerful and historical figures in a particular community, who  had  achieved  and  fought  for  that  community  and made history. Festivals are thereby organized annually to celebrate  them.  Examples  of  such  festivals  in  Oyo include Ogun festival, Shango festival, Oranmiyan festival, etc. The third category falls under  historical  festivals are organized  in  remembrance  of  a  particular  incident  that happened in a community be it good or bad.[4] Thus, rituals are carried out to honor those who have passed on to the world of the ancestors and provide

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