top 8 biggest festivals in yoruba land

biggest festival in yoruba land

The Yorubas have quite a number of cultural festivals, we have made a list of the seven biggest festival in Yoruba land.

Festivals are almost universally observed as tourist attractions which generate a lot of revenue for government and the town involved.

Eyo Festival

The Eyo Festival is one of the biggest festivals in Yoruba land. It is celebrated by indigenes of Lagos state also known as “Isale Eko”. It is traditionally performed on Lagos Island.

The ‘Eyo’ is a cultural and traditional masquerade display, which emerges from the Iga (palace) of the Oba or any of his cabinet members.

The white-clad Eyo masquerades represent the spirits of the dead, and are referred to in Yoruba as “agogoro Eyo”

biggest festival in yoruba land

Back in the days, the Eyo festival was held to escort the soul of a departed Lagos King or Chief and to usher in a new king.

It is usually held as part of the final burial rites of a highly regarded chief in the king’s court. But in modern times, It now also serves as a tourist attraction for people all over the world.

Ojude Oba Festival

The Ojude Oba Festival is also one of the biggest festivals in Yoruba land. Ojude Oba means “the King’s fore-court or frontage”, could also be translated as “Majestic outing”.

It was formerly a small gathering of the people of the Islamic religion which started over 100 years ago, when the earliest Muslim converts in Ijebu-Ode paid homage to the Awujale of Ijebuland, showing their appreciation for granting them the liberty to practice and observe their religion.

During the reign of Awujale Ademiyewo Afidipotemole in 1878, a slave identified as Alli who later became Alli-Tubogun began open practice of Islam. He received his master’s blessing to practice his religion without any barrier, obstruction and fear of any persecution.

Due to this one-man effort coupled with the endorsement of his master, Islam began to grow, attracting so many converts and by 1880, local mosques were built at many wards in Ijebu-Ode.

Ojude Oba festival is a successor of the Odeda festival, which was also an annual event in which the worshippers of several traditional religions such as Sango, Egungu, Osun, Ogun, Yemule and so on come together to showcase their identities by dancing in turns to drums and songs in front of the Awujale, Olisa, various other important chiefs and the people of the town.

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ojude4 top 8 biggest festivals in yoruba land

Olojo festival

The Olojo Festival is an ancient festival celebrated annually in Ife, Osun State, Nigeria.
This festival is one of the biggest festival in Yoruba land, it was once described by Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi as a festival that celebrate the Black race all over the world.

The Yoruba word ‘Olojo’ means ‘The Day Of The First Dawn’ that describes the grateful heart of man towards God’s creation and the existence of Human. The Olojo Festival is a culture festival in the calendar of the Ile-Ife, Osun State which is located in the Southwestern part of Nigeria.

It is the celebration of the remembrance of “Ogun”, god of Iron, who is believed to be the first son of Oduduwa, progenitor of the Yoruba people.

The festival is held annually in October. On this day, the Ooni (king of Ife) appears after seven days of seclusion and denial, communing with the ancestors and praying for his people.
This is to make him pure and ensure the efficacy of his prayers.

The Ooni later appears in public with the Are crown (King’s Crown), which is believed to be the original crown used by Oduduwa to lead a procession of traditional Chiefs and Priests to perform at the Shrine of Ogun.

The next stage of the ceremony is to lead the crowd to Okemogun’s shrine. Here he performs duties including the renewal of oath, divination for the Ooni at the foot of Oketage hill by Araba (Chief Priest) as well as visiting places of historical importance.

Olojo has remained one of the biggest festival in Yoruba land and in Ile-Ife because of its myth and history. Prayers are offered for peace and tranquility in Yoruba and Nigeria. Unlike some other festivals,all age groups participate. Its significance is the unification of the Yorubas.

biggest festival in yoruba land

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Igogo Festival

The Igogo festival began over 600 years ago during the reign of Olowo Rerengejen. The monarch married Oronsen, a beautiful and affluent queen who was, unknown to the king, an  orisa(deity).She enriched the monarch and she was loved by him as a result.

However, Queen Oronsen had several taboos. It was forbidden for her to see women pounding spices, draw water, or throw a bundle of wood to the ground.The King promised her that his other wives,would obey these restrictions.

After several years, the King’s wives became jealous and revolted.They did everything they were not supposed to do in front of the goddess, who then cast a spell upon the entire kingdom.

The goddess promised that people of Owo, would die of famine or sickness if the King and his chiefs did not celebrate every year a ceremony in her honor.

The Igogo festival also one of the biggest festivals in Yoruba land. It is observed yearly in Owo, Ondo state. During the festival the Olowo is supposed to plait his hair like a woman.

biggest festival in yoruba land

Lagos Black Heritage Festival

Lagos Black Heritage Festival (LBHF) is an annual event in Lagos that also includes the Lagos Carnival.

It has also become one of the biggest festival in yoruba land. It was established in 2009 by Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola led government administration, in remembrance of the African slave trade story.

The festival is a three week-long festival that features lots of indigenous traditional and modern events

Lagos Black Heritage Festival (LBHF) is a feast of culture and history aimed to showcase the richness and diversity of the African heritage, celebrate African creativity with diverse performances such as traditional and contemporary dance, drama, music, expositions among others.

The tradition and modern styles of performance are meant to provide visitors with a unique cultural experience in Lagos.

Badagry Festival top 8 biggest festivals in yoruba land

Osun-Osogbo Festival

The Osun Osogbo festival is also one of the biggest festival in yoruba land. It is an annual traditional religious event of the Yoruba people, attracting thousands of worshippers and spectators from all walks of life.

The event attracts spectators and worshippers from all over the world in the month of August every year. Osun is a goddess of all things feminine; fertility, spirituality, emotions,nurture and love.

osun osogbo festival top 8 biggest festivals in yoruba land

Oro Festival

The Oro festival is a traditional annual Yoruba event that is normally observed in July.The festival lasts several days and for its duration women, and others who are not participating, are expected to stay indoors.

The Yorubas have been celebrating the Oro festival for more than 56 years. It is also one of the biggest festival in Yoruba land. Oro is not a religion but a system for ensuring peace and harmony in the land.

When oro is out, there is curfew over the land. That is what tradition demands. Only grown up males can come out; children and women must not. In fact, one of the main features of the cult is the exclusion of women from any knowledge of the oro.

The Oro festival is also observed after the death of a monarch. Whatever the purpose, one thing constant with Oro is curfew.

Oro festivals top 8 biggest festivals in yoruba land

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Sango Festival

The Sango Festival celebrations can be traced back to 1,000 years ago following the departure of Sango, a popular Yoruba òrìṣà(deity) who is widely regarded as the founding father of the Oyo people.

Sango, a thunder and fire deity who was a warrior and the third king of the Oyo Empire after succeeding Ajaka his elder brother.

The Sango festival was renamed in 2013 to World Sango Festival by the government of Oyo State, the festival is usually held in August at the palace of the Alaafin of Oyo and also observed in over forty countries around the world.

The Sango Festival is also one of the biggest festivals in Yoruba land which is recognized by UNESCO( United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).

It is organized to facilitate the home-coming of the Yorubas in the diaspora and also celebrate Sango who is regarded as the greatest hero in the history of the Yoruba race.

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