Thursday 28 April 2016

How Sango Festival is Celebrated in Oyo Town, Oyo State Nigeria.

It is a special day used to celebrate Sango, a popular Yoruba deity who was believed to possess magical powers. The festival was rebranded as World Sango Day by the Oyo State Government to signify its international wide spread. The festival plays host to visitors from all over the country and followers from foreign countries like Cuba, Brazil, Trinidad and Tobaggo and the Caribbean.

Who is Sango

Sango was the third Alaafin-king of old Oyo empire. He took over from his brother Ajaka who was regarded as weak. During his reign he was constantly fighting battles with other towns. He mistakenly destroyed his palace with lightning which brought about the end of his reign.
Sango is widely referred to as the God of thunder. He ruled Oyo kingdom for seven years and married three wives Oya Oba and Oshun. He is worshiped on the fifth day called ojo Jakuta. His followers like to wear a red attire which was his popular clothing.

Significance Of The Sango Festival To The Yoruba

Sango is a popular Orisa in Yoruba land, as such his festival plays a very important traditional and cultural role with the Yoruba people. Sango is regarded as one of the founding fathers of the present Oyo State. It is a day when Yoruba people used it to reconnect which each other, and to showcase the rich cultural heritage of the Yoruba such as drumming, dancing and singing.

Brief History of Sango Festival

The festival dates back over 1000 years ago when Sango mysteriously disappeared from the palace. He was believed to have committed suicide after he was challenged by one of his powerful chiefs who ordered him to leave the palace. Since then the festival has been celebrated by the people of Oyo.

International Recognition of Sango Festival

The Oyo State Government in 2013 decided to put Sango Festival on global stage when it changed the name to
world Sango Festival . It has since been recognized by UNESCO. It was a day used to serve as home coming of Yoruba people from all over the world notably Cuba, Brazil, Trinidad and Tobaggo and the Caribbean as well as to celebrate Sango.

How Sango Festival Is Celebrated

The Sango Festival is a 10 days event, which is marked with pomp and pageantry. Worshippers and visitors can be seen in a happy mood. The worshippers are usually adorned with white or red attire.

Day one

The first day of the festival is celebrated with games of different kinds. Some of the activities lined up for the day are
Ayo competition
Ogun Ajobo Day traditional night rites.

Ayo Competition

Ayo is a special game that is popular among the Yorubas. It is one of the oldest games in Yoruba land and it is usually played by aged men sitting face to face. It involves moving pebbles from one hole of the board to another.

Description of the Ayo Board Game

It is a carved wooden, fairly rectangular object with a total of twelve circular carved out pockets arranged in two rows, six pockets in each row. The wood used to make the Ayo is very light due to the continuous drying of the wood. It contains elaborate decorations on both side of the board.
The board is trapezoidal in nature and the appropriate size measured top – 20"x 12" / bottom – 22" x 12".
Ayo board can be made of wood or clay and it has a lot of carvings on it.
Ayo board game is not only a recreational game it is seen as a spiritual connection to the essence.

Ogun Ajobo Day

The Ogun Ajobo Day is celebrated on the second day of the festival. On this day, the traditional groups from the Oyo zone make great display to the cheers of people. Olode Cultural Display from Oyo, Ondo, Ekiti, Osun, Ogun and Kwara States would be paraded from Owode in Oyo town to the palace of Alaafin. A night party is usually held called the Aisun Koso featuring some popular Yoruba artist amidst drinking and eating.
Third Day of Sango Festival
On the third day; Friday other cultural groups such as the Igunu and Omolulu would display their performance. This day is called the Sango Obakoso day.

Fourth Day Sango Festival

On this day the shrine of Sango koso would be opened. This is usually marked by wide celebrations from performance from the members of the Association of Nigeria Theatre Arts Practitioners (ANTP) and followed by a night party for Oya Okenira.

Fifth To Ninth Day of Sango Festival

From Sunday down to Thursday and Friday, there would be celebrations of Oyo State, Oya Day, Aje Oloja Day, Sango Oyo Day, Osun State Day and Iyemonja Day, Esin Elejo Day as well as Kwara State Day. This period is usually filled with excitement and wide celebrations among the people.

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