By Sodiq Lawal
Ile Ife was agog on Tuesday as Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan, Osun worshippers, Residents, tourists stormed the ancient city for the annual Osun festival.
Ife City News tour round the ancient city on Tuesday and Wednesday indicated that various socio- economic and traditional activities are at their peak to usher in a hitch free festival recognised by UNESCO.
Decorations adorn the length and breadth of the Osun Shrine in Ile- Ife with traditional worshipers offering prayers for a successful and hitch-free festival.
Several tourists thronged the ancient town to witness the annual festival, as they were seen taking pictures at Ooni’s palace and beside the statues and structures, symbolic of the Osun goddess.
Security personnel, comprising of officers and men of the Police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, the Federal Road Safety Commission were also present to ensure security at the event.
Armored Carriers (APCs) were also stationed at the entrance and inside the Osun shrine in Ile Ife to provide additional and back up security to security officers on ground.
Traders and residents of Ile Ife took advantage of the festival to display their wares while food vendors, souvenir sellers, photographers among others, made brisk business.
According to history, the Osun festival, started over 700 years ago when a group of settlers, led by Olutimehin, a renowned hunter, settled at the bank of the river to escape famine in his former dwelling place.
Osun, the water goddess, was said to have appeared to Olutimehin and requested him and his group to move up to higher ground to the present location of Osogbo.
Osun revealed herself as the goddess of the grove and of the river and pledged to protect the group as well as make women fruitful on the ground that they would offer her annual sacrifice to her in return.
The group agreed and vowed to sacrifice annually to the goddess if she would honour her vows.
Historians believe that the annual sacrifice had gone beyond offering sacrifices to a river goddess; it has become an international celebration of cultural events attracting thousands of people from all over the world.