Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure

One major festival that joins the people of Ikare-major festival that joins the people of Ikare-Akoko, a town in Akoko South West Local Government Area of Ondo State together, regardless of their religion and education background is the annual Aringiya traditional festival, which is celebrated once in a year. The festival is often celebrated by all indigenes of the town and their loved ones from different parts of the country.

During the celebration of the festival, indigenes of the town from both within and outside the country converge on the town to appease the gods and also use the occasion to pray for the progress and development of the town and its people. It is an avenue for the people of the town to pray together and seek for the intervention of the gods on issues affecting them as a town as a people.

The Chief Custodian of the festival who is also the Owa-Ale of Ikare Akoko land, Oba Samuel Kolapo Adegbite-Adedoyin also uses the opportunity offered by the festival to pray for all the indigenes of the town spread across all parts of the world even as he uses the opportunity to meet with all indigenes of the town as they all gather for the festival.

This year’s Aringiya festival was unique in all facets of it as more glamours were added to the festival dated back to over 100 years, even as new modalities were introduced to the festival as friends of the indigenes of the town from different parts of the world joined to celebrate the gods of the town through the traditional festival.

Young children were not left out of the celebration as they were the first to move out to receive blessings from the royal father. The children who were half dressed struggled to catch a glimpse of the monarch and received his royal blessings, while many ensured that they touched him to receive blessings from him. The adults also dressed in different traditional attire received blessings from the monarch after presenting various gifts for him.

Many non indigenes of the town, especially tourists who converged on Ikare-Akoko for the festival described the festival as a significant one in Yoruba land, just as they called on the people of the town to promote it like others that have gained international recognition.

As early as 8.00am, indigenes of the town, among others converged on the palace of the traditional ruler, where they paid homage to the monarch and also prayed for peace to reign supreme in the town.

The people of the town who moved in their large number to the Palace of the Owa-Ale showed their faith in the festival as they danced round the premises of the palace and later offered items as gifts to the monarch to show their appreciation to him and for preserving their rich heritage.

The rich culture of the Ikare-Akoko community was shown during the grand finale of the festival as children, youths and adults in their different styles staged different cultural and traditional shows to prove their belief in the town and the festival in particular.

The Owa-Ale who later moved out of his inner room inside the palace, where he had gone to consult with the gods of the town showered blessings on the people of the town and cursed their enemies.

He said the town is blessed with rich culture which many envy, adding that there was the need for all and sundry to promote the rich culture of the town in the interest of cultural development and overall development of the town.

Related News

Also, he called on the federal government to tap into the tourist attractions in Yoruba land to boost the economy of the country, saying that there are benefits embedded in culture and tourism if the Federal Government can develop the sector.

His words “we in Ikare-Akoko have not forgotten our heritage which our fore-bearers passed to us. we shall continue to cherish our culture and uphold our tradition.

The only thing that binds us and unites us together in Ikare-Akoko is this festival which we celebrate once in a year. Ou people believe so much in the gods of Aringiya and it has always been working for us according to our faith.

“Celebrating the festival has nothing to do with the religious belief of our people. There are Christians and Muslims among us, yet we gather together to celebrate the gods of the land.

“This is to ensure peace and unity in the land and to ensure the promotion of all my people both at home and in the diaspora in whatever they do.

“Our people come from far and near to celebrate this festival because of the testimonies of good things they have over the years. It is our own way of saying thank you to the founding fathers of this town and the gods of our land,” he added.

Some tourists who participated in the festival explained that they have been attending it for some years, pointing out that the festival was an awesome event to celebrate the rich culture of the Yoruba race.

A tourist who is also an indigene of the town, Mr Seun Ayobami said the people of the town have been the only one promoting the festival and therefore called on the state government to join hands with the community to promote the festival.

He also encouraged indigenes of the town within and outside the country to come together and ensure the development of the festival to meet up with other festivals in Yoruba land that have attained national and international recognition.

A prominent indigene of the town, Mr leke Adegbite who called for the promotion of the festival and sponsorship by multinational companies, said the festival has continued to be a rallying point for all indigenes of the town.

He said many indigenes of the town have contributed significantly to the promotion of the festival, stressing that “all we do during the festival is to dance round the town, pray for the peace and progress of all indigenes of the town and give.”

“The festival allows all indigenes of the town to eat together in the same place, dance together and pray together, though in a traditional way for the progress of the community and development of the entire people of the town,” he said