Spirituality, Aesthetics and Cultural Feminism of Obitun Festival amongst the Ondo People of South-Western Nigeria

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Department of History, Kaduna State University


Culture and tradition in any human group are intertwined issues than separated and both determine not only the positive growth but identities of people, societies and even civilizations. In most of African societies, the influence of Western culture has made most of traditions, cultures and festivals to become jettisoned irrespective of their immeasurable values. This paper discusses Obitun traditional festival in Ondo, South-western to bringing to limelight, the historical, spiritual and aesthetic importance of its usage for mass initiation of maidens into womanhood. The spiritual efficacy of the annual festival to ward off infertility, miscarriages and youth mortality after appeasing the Obitun goddess at Augo and the aesthetic use of costume and make-up are all enunciated in the paper. An analysis of the importance of the items of costume and make-up used by the Obitun, her Apeto during the twelve-day festival is also analysed. The theatrical constituents of special drumming, singing and rhythmic dance steps and the peculiar decorations are also listed. The paper, which is both a cultural and theatrical study of an important ceremony to showcasing the virtues in Yoruba traditions, observes and concludes that Obitun festival has more to its celebration than mere cultural dances and posits that the practice, which is now moribund, be rejuvenated, protected and preserved.



Obitun, Apeto, Augo, Ceremony