Ondo Kingdom started its week-long Odun Oba festival on Monday July 18, 2016. The traditional festival which is popularly called Odunbami is an annual festival designed to honour and celebrates the Osemawe and Paramount ruler of Ondo Kingdom, his immediate and extended families.
Traditionally, the festival lasts for seven days with each day designated for different activities.
Nine days before the festival, an official announcement which herald the beginning of the festival is made in the palace called “Idi jo”. The Idijo is a significant part of the festival (colorful and fun filled), It is held during the Ugha. The traditional chiefs filing in their ranks (Baale, Oloja, Ijama, Opoji, Elegbe, Ekule) and the high chiefs (Iwaramefa) will pay homage to the Osemawe with talking drums and mind blowing encomium.
The High chiefs (Iwaramefa) and Olojas lead by the Lisa and Jomu are all dressed in white attire dancing slowly to the Osemawe’s presence. The most interesting part is when the high chiefs pay special homage by throwing a fist towards the Osemawe, kneeling down three times and putting sand on their head each time.
This marks the beginning of the process of announcing the date (idijo). A traditional chief (Sagwe) will then recite the traditional pillars in Ondo Kingdom namely; Ekule, Elegbe, Ijama, Ipoji. Chief Sagwe will also recite the names of Kings that have ruled in Ondo Kingdom (starting with Pupupu to the present Osemawe, HRM, Oba Dr. Victor Ademefun Aderele Kiladejo, Jilo III). He will also recite the names of chiefs in their respective ranks without missing one for another.
The date will then be announced upon approval by the high chiefs.
This year’s Idijo Odun Oba was held on Wedneday 5th July, 2016.
On the first day of the festival, the Osemawe is seated at the Oreretu axis of Ondo city facing chief Logbosere at a fair distance while the Otu chiefs file out to pay homage. The Osemawe in company of the Otu chiefs dances to the ‘Ori Aye’ to perform some traditional rites.
On the second day of the festival, the Ekule chiefs dance with their gifts (goats and wines) to the Osemawe’s palace. The high chiefs also visit with rams later in the evening.
On the third day, the Osemawe in company of chiefs dances round the kingdom and residents come out to pay homage with various gifts.
After returning to the palace, the Opojis (female chiefs) present their gifts (Cocks and Kolanut) to the Osemawe.
The other days are filled with various activities as sons and daughters of Ondo visit the palace to pay homage and celebrate the king. The palace is always a good place to visit around this time as people come to feast and merry.
On the last day of the festival, the Osemawe in turn, celebrates and feasts with all his wives, princes and princesses.
The Oloris and their children will file out dancing towards the Osemawe to receive blessing.
The day is usually the most colorful day of the event as people come out in their most colorful and expensive attire to celebrate with princes and princesses.
Watch out for exclusive pictures of this year’s Odun Oba on www.ekimogunmirror.com