CELEBRATING OLOJO DAY
The whole town is agog with celebrations that morning, many merchants were on the streets announcing their presence in the town in support of the Olojo festival. Getting closer to the palace, roads are condone off with police cars and different security outfits controlling the traffic. Erected in the square opposite the palace where the statue of Oduduwa is stands a large stage with music equipment and the live streaming gadgets are been set up. The stage is the entertainment arena for the festival.
Another stage with steps is set up with stairs and chairs not too far off from the main gate of the palace. This is where the Ooni will seat with his guests while the different displays and parades of the different deities pay obeisance and display their performance to him.
Going into the palace ground, there is a tent for medical checkup for the elderly by the left hand side and different groups are streaming into the palace to greet the Ooni before he steps out with dance and drums.
At about 12noon, the Ooni step out of his residence followed by his Emese's, the palace aides and other dignitaries. He goes into a small building not too far off from his residence for about 10 minutes and from there onto the stage that is set up not too far from the palace gate. After settling down, the main parade starts with the recitation of adulation to the Ooni and explanation of the heritage and why Olojo day is celebrated by the compere.
This is followed by the parade of people representing the main group of the 401 deities found in Ile Ife. Some represented deities are Obatala, Moremi, Esu, Obaluaye, Orunmila, etc. There was fire display by Sango worshippers while two sects chants 'rain, rain' and the other group chanting 'sun, sun', suddenly the cloud changed like it wanted to rain, there was a little shower but it was predominantly sunny throughout the day.
This went on for about two and a half hour before the Ooni went back to his residence before going into Ileegbo where the last rites of passage is perfomrd before he wears the Aare crown. He is expected to exit the palace towards sunset.
Before he does the Emese's, palace aides, comes out bodily coated in half camwood and half white chalk with a bowl of sacrifice in their left hand and a cane in their right hand. They go back and forth seven times from the palace to Oke-Mogun paving the way for the Ooni's apperance with the Aare crown.
It is said that the heavily beaded rainbown crown, Ade-Aare, worn by Oduduwa and all the 50 subsequent Ooni's, weighs a minimum of 50kg and thus the reason the king do not wear it for long and it is only worn once a year for about three hours maximum. This is equivalent to carrying a bag of rice on one's head.
Throngs of people followed the Ooni when he appeared around 5pm, the people started praying for what they want immediately they sighted the Aare crown. The prayers was lead by the Compere till the OOni returned from Oke-Mogun. He was held on both sides by two Emese's for balance. Leading a procession of traditional chiefs and the people through a specific route, the Ooni heads for Oke-Mogun directly, where he performs a ritual dance for the Osogun. He concludes the final rites by performing a sword-crossing ritual which represents an oath of comradery with the Osogun.
Afterwards the Osogun performed a ritual with chalk and camwood marking all the traditional chiefs that were present. This is the renewal of allegiance to the constituted authority represented by the Ooni.
The Ooni then walked back towards the palace via a different route to an elevating stage which elevates him above the crowd where he prays for everybody while touching the Aare crown. Most of the people around said Amen. People were climbing different spots to get elevated and get a sight of the Ade Aare. Seas of head mostly clad in white mixed with other colours were all lined up. It was a sight to behold.
After saying his prayers, the Ooni and Osogun visit the Ogun Ereja shrine for further traditional rites, then on to the Oja-Ife and Aje Shrines where prayer for the economic and prosperity of the people are offered before the Ooni returned back to the palace where he retired for the day. Fan fare, music and merriment went on throughout the night.The following which is a Sunday is for various entertainments in the minor courtyard, while on the third day which is a Monday, the Ooni will visit Oke-Itase to pay homage to Orunmila, signifying the end of the festival.
EXPLAINING THE AARE CROWN
The Aare is an ornamentally embellished sacred and symbolic crown which the Ooni wears once in a year during the Olojo Festival's cultural procession.
The sacredness and authority of this crown is traced to the first king that ruled the World, called NIMROD by the Hebrews but known as LAMURUDU by the Yorubas and ARAMPHAEL (Ora Ife Onile Ina) by the Arabs.
He is said to have ruled the whole world ruthlessly with the exhibition of the power of the Sun and FIre and without recourse and respect for OLODUMARE, the Almighty God.
Due to Nimrod's confrontational attitude to the Almighty, God raised Oduduwa, the Deity of prayers (ti oba ina ja, o da ina, o ba oorun ja, o da orun), meaning he fought fire and conquered fire, fought sun and conquered sun.
Oduduwa is called Dua by the Arabs, Adura by the Yorubas and Adua by most ancient tribes of the world. He went on to fight, conquered, subdue and totally eliminated Aramphael who never wore the sacred Aare crown.
Oduduwa was the first to wear the crown that descended to the earth from Oke Ora hills in Ife. You can see this from his statue opposite the palace gate where he wore the crown and a crockrel in one of his hands.
Oduduwa's mandate is to establish structures and make the world a better place for mankind.
Oodua was the first beaded crown wearing king in the world, thus he established the royal ruling system of governance in the world whilst the beaded crown became an inheritance of Ooni in Ile to n fe, that is Ile-Ife.
a. Profile - Shape of a full rainbor - Osumare (Osu to mo Aare)
b. Colour - Full colour spectrum of the rainbow
c. Front Piece - 4 Cardinal points - N,S,E,W
d. Front Surround - Symbolises day
e. Black support - Symbolises night
f. Three sections: Trinitarian trials of mankind - morning, afternoon, & night (Every human being undergoes 3 seasons of existence. Igba Aaro, Osan ati Aale)
g. Three Feathers : Made of African Grey Parrot tail feathers - symbolizing clatity of vision - spiritually
h. Brass : Symbolises Longevity
I. Two long Feathers -Symbolizes the creation of the first Man & Woman
J. Colour Beading - Depict the mystery of God
K. Bunched Glass - Creation of the rainbow aesthetic passed on by God - (Yoruba people invented glass beading)
- Osumare (Osu to mo Aare)
L. Inside the Aare - It is forbidden to look inside the Aare Crown as it contains mysterious and undisclosed materials
M. Full Length beads - Symbolizing the veiled mystery of God and Creation