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The Project File Details
This research explores critically the context of dramatic performance in Olojo Festival, a traditional celebration in favour of Ogun in File Ice. In the course of discussing the dramatic elements and performances embedded in it, the props and costume used also come to the fore. It further questions the role of Ogun as an hero before his deification as purported by the Euhemerist, with a view to accounting for his bravery, courage and greatness.
His role as the god of Iron and why adherents still celebrate him till today is also explained. The research finally seek to explore the significance of each costume as they underscore and portrays the immense role of Ogun, the God of Iron.
Background of the Study ………………………………………………….
Statement of the Problem …………………………………………………….
Scope of Study ……………………………….
Objectives of the Study
Definition of Key Terms
History of Olojo festival in Ile-Ife
Origin of the Ogun
Cultural Significance of Costumes used in Olojo Festival
Different Props used during Olojo Festival
The Ooni and the Osogun as the Protagonist and the Antagonist in Olojo Festival
Visible and Invisible Audience in Olojo Festival
Drums, Songs and Dances in Olojo Festival.
The context of spirituality in Aare crown and Osogun’s garment ………………………….
Dramatic Elements in Ooni and Osogun’s Clash
Ritual Ceremonies in Olojo Festival
The Yoruba are fond of worshipping the spirits of their ancestors. Like other cultural groups who are animistic, the Yoruba believe that their ancestors play a significant role in the lives of the living, hence their penchant for worshipping the spirits of their departed ancients. Oderinde (2002), for instance, affirms this important aspect of Yoruba belief system when he posits that “Ancestor worship is an essential aspect of Yoruba culture” (3). Since theatre evolved from ritual performances, especially in an animist society like that of the Yoruba; it can be said that ancestors worship among the Yoruba laid the foundation for theatre. Besides, the popularity of the art stems from its acceptance as a medium that enhances mimesis of the gods and other preternatural beings by humans. Among the Yoruba, like other African cultural groups, festivals feature prominently theatrical elements. As a matter of fact, festivals are conceived as part of theatre (Umukoro, 2007).
These festivals can be classified into three, namely: Festivals organised for the celebration of agricultural products, such as the new yam festival and egungun festival. dedicated to the memory of some powerful and historical figures in a particular community, such as Ogun festival, Oranmiyan festival, Sango festival, and many more. The third category falls under historical festivals which are organised in remembrance of a particular incident that happened in a community be it good or bad.
The second classification in which festivals are held in honour of the gods captures the thrust of this research work. These festivals, according to Umukoro (2007) are also known as festival theatre, because of the immanence of theatrical elements that shape the performance of the festivals. Songs, costumes, props and dances, for instance, are used to project communal spirit and unique identity of a given god being celebrated. For worshipers of deities, like Ogun, Sango, Obatala and other Yorùbá gods known collectively as òrìsà; festivals help to transpose them from material world to the unseen world. The Yoruba pantheon consists of hundreds of gods, worshiped for different purposes, each representing natural or spiritual elements or human emotions. Some of the gods existed before the creation of the earth and others are heroes or heroines that were deified after their death Other deities are natural forces such as mountains, hills and rivers..
In Ile-Ife, these gods are honoured, reverenced and worshipped particularly during festivals.. One of the festivals celebrated in Ile-Ife and devoted to the memory of a Yoruba god is Olojo. This Olojo is specifically about Ogun worship. The festival affords devotees of the god an opportunity to offer sacrifices to him and receive his blessings. Ogun worship facilitates relationships and intimacy between the Yoruba god of iron and his adherents.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Ogun is the Yoruba god of metallurgy. It is believed by his adherents that he once lived and became deified after his death, hence the euhemerist study of the god in the pantheon of Yoruba orisa. Considering the popularity of this god, many research works have been carried out on him, with specific mention of his lifestyle, power, struggles and death. Besides, his worship among the Yoruba has also received scholarly attention, though little work has been done on his euhemerism in Ile-Ife, especially the use of Olojo festival to enliven the memory of the god. This research, therefore, examines the image of Ogun in Olojo festival and the contexts of drama that characterise the festival. The research seeks to identify various theatrical elements that make Olojo a popular festival among the people of Ile-Ife and beyond. Akporobaro (2005), for instance, believes that festivals, masquerading and ritual
Comment [E1]: What is the source of this information? Cite the source.
Comment [E3]: One of the festivals celebrated in Ile-Ife and devoted to the memory of a Yoruba god is Olojo.
performances can be described as the dramatic genre of African oral literature. Though the foregoing oral elements are not drama per se, they possess dramatic elements. This explains why this research picks up Olojo festival as a focus of study with a view to identifying those elements of drama in it. The study carries out an extensive research on the place of Ogun worship in Olojo festival. Since costumes are significant part of festivals as they reflect and portray the characters, this research also explores the significance of each costume and the prop used in the festival as it helps to reflect the hero (Ogun) that is being celebrated.
1.3 Research Questions
The research questions seek to explore the context of dramatic performance in Olojo festival.
This project is informed by five central questions:
1. What is the concept of dramatic performance in oral literature?
2. How is Ogun worshiped in Ile-Ife?
3. What is the cultural significance of Olojo festival in Ile-Ife?
4. What are the theatrical elements in Olojo festival?
5. What is the cultural significance of the theatrical elements?
1.4 Objectives of the Study
The aim of this research is to explore the contexts of dramatic performance in Olojo festival in relation to Ogun worship by the people of Ile-Ife during the festival. The study also seeks to explore the kind of relationship the descendants of Ile-Ife keep with their ancestors. Consequently, the main objectives of this study are to:
i. Examine the historical origin of olojo festival in Yoruba land
ii. Discuss the nature of olojo festival through the dramatic performance.
iii. To state the context of spirituality in Aare crown and Osogun’s red regalia
iv. To explore the significance of each costumes and their relationship in Ogun worship
1.5 Significance of the Study.
While there are various controversial questions on whether the dramatic performance, costumes, characters the props portrayed in festivals in Nigeria are in anyway significant. This works therefore aims to investigate the significance of this African dramatic performance. This will entail the dramatic performance carried out in the celebration of Olojo festival and the mythology of Ogun. In effect, the research seeks to explore and establish Yoruba Indigenous identities through cultural festivals and decolonize the minds of many Yoruba about the traditional practice of Ogun worship. This work will also validate how the Ogun worshipers relate with their god, Ogun (the god of iron), in order to prove that their god still live in them.
Finally, While colonialism and the advent of the European in Africa has turned the Africans away from there indigenous way of life, this work aims to show the supremacy of the African gods as part of the uniqueness of the African culture.
1.6 Research methodology The study employed a survey research, which according to Nwabueze (2013) “is very valuable in obtaining data on a non-observable phenomenon in order to learn the status of something” (7). This involves field work for collection of data. Interviews were conducted for the custodians of the festival, including the Osogun and local chiefs, as well as many individuals in Ile-Ife, so as to obtain first-hand information from them. The data for this work was basically gathered from both primary and secondary sources. The primary sources are mainly oral interviews, observations and participation in the festival. The secondary sources are: textbooks, magazines, bulletins, newspapers articles, seminar papers and journals in the area of traditional performance and traditional African art. Some of these were sourced through library research while some others were downloaded from the Internet. In places where there is conflict of information between the primary and secondary sources, the primary source supersedes because they were obtained directly.
1.7 SCOPE OF STUDY
This study only explores the contexts of dramatic performance in Olojo festival and Ogun worship in the festival.
1.8 DEFINITION OF KEY TERMS
Cambridge English dictionary defines festival as a special day or period usually in memory of a religious event with its own social activities, food or ceremonies. Janiskee (1980) explained that festivals and events can be understood as “formal periods or programs of pleasurable
Comment [E4]: Year of publication?
activities, entertainment, or events having a festive character and publicly celebrating some concept, happening or fact” (97). The festive and public celebratory characteristics noted in this definition are important because festivals and events have long existed as significant cultural practices devised as forms of public display, collective celebration and civic ritual, Bernadette (2009). Noel (1992) defines festival as an event, ordinarily celebrated by a community, which centers on some characteristic aspect of that community and its traditions. It is often marked as a local or national holiday.
Cambridge English dictionary (2008 ed).
Janiskee, R. (1980) ‘South Carolina’s harvest festivals: rural delights for day tripping urbanites,’ Journal of Cultural Geography , 1(Fall/Winter): 96-104.
O.A Oderinde “The Lore of Religious Festivals among the Yoruba and its Social Relevance”. In LUMINA Journal, Vol. 22, No.2, p.3.
Quinn, Bernadette (2013). Festivals, events and tourism., in Jamal, T. and Robinson, M. (eds) The SAGE. Handbook of Tourism Studies, London, Sage, pp.483-503.
Robertson noel (1992). Festivals and legends: the formation of Greek cities in the light of public ritual (Repr.ed.).
Umukoro, M. Mathew. (2017). Introduction: drama theatre and social praxis. Ibadan journal of theatre arts, 1(1) 5-17.
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