Tourists and cultural enthusiasts from across the globe on Friday flooded the ancient city of Osogbo, Osun, to join the fiesta marking the grand finale of the annual Osun Osogbo festival
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the tourists and the enthusiasts include those from Africa, Europe, Latin America and other parts of the world for the celebration.
The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) correspondent covering the festival reports that the fiesta involves various socio- economic and traditional activities with several Osun devotees singing, dancing while others exhibit some cultural styles as early as 8:00 a.m around the Osun groove.
Many devotees were seen carrying plastic bottles and kegs, moving to the Osun River to fetch some water for spiritual purposes.
The event also witnessed traditional masquerades with their masquerades chanting and singing, brandishing locally made gun shots while firing gun shots sporadically into the air.
Security personnel were seen at strategic locations to include the FRSC personnel, the NSCDC, and also the Nigerian Police with large members of the Odua Peoples Congress (OPC).
The Osun FRSC Sector Commander, Mr Peter Oke, had earlier told NAN that special patrol for both the Osun Osogbo and Eid-el-Kabir festival would commence on Aug.17 to Aug .26 to avoid auto accidents and other route violations as such as speeding during and after the celebrations.
Oke said that 500 personnel from both the sector and unit commands would be on ground to checkmate the activities of drivers who might want to go against traffic rules and regulations.
NAN further reports that some residents in the area such as food vendors, souvenir sellers and other related business enterprises took advantage of the festival to market their goods and service.
The event, which started on Aug.10 is expected to end Aug.17 with a young maiden, Aruga, who will carry a calabash on her head as a symbolic sacrifice to the river goddess.
The Osun-Osogbo festival, whose history dates back to many centuries, is usually celebrated in a Grove outskirts of Osogbo, It is among the last of the sacred forests that adjoined the edges of most Yoruba cities before extensive urbanisation.
In recognition of its global significance and cultural value, the Sacred Grove was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005.
For the people of Osogbo land, the festival represents traditional cleansing of the town and cultural reunion of the people with their ancestors and founders of the Osogbo Kingdom. (NAN)