The 1950s saw the desecration of the Osun-Osogbo Grove: shrines were neglected; priests abandoned the grove as customary responsibilities and sanctions weakened. Prohibited actions like fishing, hunting and felling of trees in the grove took place until Austrian, Susanne Wenger, came and stopped the abuse going on in the grove.
With the encouragement of the ‘Ataoja’ and the support of the local people, Wenger formed the New Sacred Art movement to challenge land speculators, repel poachers, protect shrines and begin the long process of bringing the sacred place back to life by establishing it, again, at the sacred heart of Osogbo
Every year, the Osun-Osogbo festival is celebrated in the month of August at the grove. Yearly, the festival attracts thousands of Osun worshippers, spectators and tourists from all walks of life.
For the people of Osogbo, August is a month of celebration, traditional cleansing of the city and cultural reunion of the people with their ancestors and founders of the Osogbo Kingdom.
The Osun-Osogbo Festival is a two-week-long programme. It starts with the traditional cleansing of the town called 'Iwopopo', which is followed in three days by the lighting of the 500-year-old sixteen-point lamp called 'Ina Olojumerindinlogun'.
Ina Olojumerindinlogun, the sacred lamp lit at the beginning of the annual Osun-Osogbo festival.
Then comes the 'Ibroriade', an assemblage of the crowns of the past ruler, Ataojas of Osogbo, for blessings. This event is led by the sitting Ataoja of Osogbo and the Arugba, YeyeOsun and a committee of priestesses.
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Picture source: Wikimedia