OUR FESTIVALS

Our State's vibrance and diversity expands into our various festivals depicting numerious ceremonies, tradition and a represenation of a strong and timeless heritage.

ARIGINYA FESTIVAL

The Dignity of Womanhood

Ariginya is one of foremost tradition of festivals ever celebrated in Ikare-Akoko. It comes up in May every year. It is a maiden celebration that depicts the customs of the people and dignity for womanhood.

The festival is of a great sociological importance to the people of Ikare as the cultural practice does not only encourage young ladies to preserve their purity and virginity, but equally serves as a moral tool against sexual abuse and the spread of sexual endemics.

The festival attracts people from all walks of life principally to witness a unique cultural practice in which a lady as old as eighteen years is dressed up in beads during celebration. It is a practice that survives all forms of criticism but modified to accommodate peoples’ criticism.

BOAT REGATTA

Rainbows in the Sea of the Waterside

Boat regatta is associated with the people of Ilaje, Ijaw Apoi and Ijaw Arogbo in Ilaje and Ese-Odo Local Government Areas of the State. The various forms of regatta include ritual, social war and boat racing. It could be held at any time of the year, but most appropriate when water volume reduces between November and December when most social occasions are held.

Boat Regatta involves a flamboyant decoration of boat or canoes in different traditional costumes with illuminating colours. It is a performance with beautiful colours, music and dance step. It is a beautiful thing to see how artistes display their mastery for water, circus and acrobatic display to add to the beauty of this celebration. It is usually a competitive event. It can be upgraded to an international standard.

EGUNGUN FESTIVAL

Yoruba Tradition of Time Immemorial

Masquerade (Egungun) is an important celebration involving varied masked dancers, musicians and its audience. The Yorubas believe that egungun typifies the spirits of dead individuals and ancestors that have the power to return at least once in a year to re-unite with the living. The motif for masquerades ranges from human heads to those of animals. In Ondo State, egungun festival is usually celebrated in virtually all the towns and villages such as Akure, Oke-Igbo, Ondo, Owo, Oka, Irele, Ikare-Akoko e.t.c.

Though there may be variations in its forms and intents, the aim of the celebration in all ramifications is almost the same. The colourful appearances with beautiful dance steps are warming. In this regard, masquerades do not only re-direct the social actions of the people, but ensure abundant harvest on the farm. Masquerade fiesta will pull a lot of crowd as an entertaining fiesta.

IGOGO FESTIVAL

The Iron Drums of Owo

This is an annual festival in Owo which lasts a total of 17 days featuring a number of ceremonies including the blessing and release of new yams. During the period of celebration, drumming is banned in Owo and instead, metal gongs (Agogo) are used. This was where the name 'IGOGO' was coined.

The Olowo, who during the festival usually dresses in Coral Beaded Crown, plaits his hair like a woman with Olowo's dressing. It could be seen here that Owo has some traditional linkage with Benin.

OBITUN FESTIVAL

The Dance of Fertility

Obitun is a bridal dance in Ondo Town. This dancing ceremony is supposed to be performed for every maiden in the town before she gets married.

The people believe that if the ceremony is not performed for any particular girl, she might end up being childless. However, these days, very few families do perform these ceremonies for their daughters.

MARE FESTIVAL

Touching the Heavens

Maindened in 2009, the Mare festival has grown in prominence to be one of the most sought after festivals in the state, attracting participants from all around the world.

Mare, which translates to "don't fall" is a mountain climbing fiesta in Idanre featuring cultural and traditional heritage. The festival also includes a 23 kilometer Marathon aspect kicking off from the Capital City of Akure to the City of Idanre.

OGUN FESTIVAL

The Iron god Returns from the Ground

Ogun the god of smithy and lord of Iron is celebrated annually in almost every town and village in the state. The celebration is an annual remembrance and worship of the god of Iron who was believed to be a hunter who migrated from Ile-lfe to Ire-Ekiti on game search, but he ended up living permanently at Ire-Ekiti and disappeared into the ground when some people of the town deceived him with an empty keg of palm wine. He beheaded all of them with his cutlass according to oral history and disappeared into the ground. In Ire-Ekiti, the main festival in remembrance of the deity comes biennially and usually during the month of August.

Ogun is believed to be the god of all those using Iron in their professional work therefore; the deity must be worshipped in order to receive his favour. Ondo Town equally worships Ogun deity. In fact Ekimogun festival is fast assuming the status of a key festival of national interest. And in many towns and villages in the State, ogun festival is usually accorded with masquerades of different designs. During the festival the people also worship their ancestors and with the believe that the ancestors are on earth again to greet, inspect and bless their siblings. These masquerades are regarded as imitations of the ancestors. Dogs, Palm oil, Roasted yam, Palm wine, Cold water and cola nuts are the materials used by Ogun devotees to worship the deity.

OLOKUN FESTIVAL

Homage to the Goddess of the Sea

Olokun Festival is celebrated annually by the Ilajes who inhabit the entire coastline of Ondo State. The Olokun deity is believed to be the goddess of the sea who has the power to give children to barren women. She is also believed to be in control of ocean waves and could capsize at will, sea vessels of evildoers. Olokun is also a goddess of riches and has the power to enrich her devotees. The worshippers of Olokun are generally dressed in immaculate white attires with their faces coasted with white chalk ‘efun’. As a festival of note among the Ilajes, Olokun Festival is held in high esteem, as the people believe it has a moderating influence on their lives.

OROSUN FESTIVAL

A Story of Two Lovers Seperated by a Mountain of Envy

According to oral tradition, Orosun was a woman and that she was one of the wives of Olofin Aremitan. When Olofin left Ife and got to Ipetu Ijesha where he stayed briefly, he met Orosun who was said to be very beautiful. Aremitan married her at Ipetu. After some years Aremitan left for Oke-Idanre which he founded.

Because of the strong tie between Olofin and Orosun she came to Idanre where she was welcomed to the palace. She stayed in the palace for many years but unfortunately, her marriage was not blessed with any issue. Her position in the palace was enviable. She was held in high esteem by the King to the annoyance of other wives. This developed into a domestic intrigue and Orosun fled the palace and entered into a cave near the present Orosun Hill.

The people of Idanre decided thereafter to appease her in exchange for fertility, peace, progress and health. She is worshipped every year. The festival is performed on 15th May of every year.