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Oladunwo: ‘The human spirit’ uniting sons and daughters of Okemesi

The celebration of Oladunwo cultural festival once every two years in the rustic and serene town of Okemesi is a uniting force for the people.…

The celebration of Oladunwo cultural festival once every two years in the rustic and serene town of Okemesi is a uniting force for the people.

The festival transcends religion as indigenes come together to partake in the unveiling and departure of Oladunwo, ‘the human spirit’.

Oladunwo is the name of the most revered masquerade in Okemesi, an ancient town in the heart of Ekiti.

History has it that the Oladunwo festival saved the people of Okemesi during the Ekiti parapo war (1877-1893), which liberated the Ekitis from Ibadan hegemony.

According to oral literature, when Ibadan soldiers were about to attack Okemesi, the people ran to a place called Oke Agbonna for safety. Coincidentally, this was on the eve of Oladunwo festival.

Drumming, chanting and other rites in preparation of the festival scared Ibadan soldiers away as they thought that the people of Okemesi were ready for war.

The 2021 festival was celebrated with pomp and pageantry at the weekend.  It was a unique gathering of sons and daughters of Okemesi to celebrate with their king and pray for the good of the people and the town.

Oladunwo, other masquerades were joined by the natives armed with sticks in their hands as they danced and rejoiced among other cultural displays.  The appearance of Oladunwo in immaculate white is seen as a symbol of his spirituality and purity among other masquerades.

Oba Michael Gbadebo Adedeji, Ariyowonye II, who spoke on the significance of the festival, prayed for the good of the land while blessing the people.

A community leader, Raphael Adeyanju, said “Oladunwo” festival is significant for both spiritual and social functions.

 

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