Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Odunde: Happy New Year - June 12th

ODUNDE, has gained a reputation as one of Philadelphia's brightest cultural jewel. The word ODUNDE originates with the Yoruba people of Nigeria, West Africa. It means "Happy New Year". 

The ODUNDE festival is an occasion marked by joy and hope, a joy which is highlighted by a colorful procession to the Schuylkill River (at noon) where offerings of fruits and flowers are made to Oshun, the Goddess of the River.

The religion, call IFA, embraced by the Yoruba people is very old. It involves the worship of one God and 401 orishas, similar to saints in the Catholic Church. Included in its three tiers of worship is “ancestor remembrance” in the offering of libations, divinations and other such acts. 
OSHUN is one of the orishas worshiped in the Ifa religion. She is one of the youngest orishas and is a female energy. As orisha of the river, she represents beauty, vanity, sensuality and attractiveness.
Everyone is invited to participate in the revered processional to the river. The offerings to OSHUN is one of the sacred aspects of ODUNDE, During the processional to the river praise is given to all orishas, in the Yoruba language, especially to OSHUN. 
Oriki, (songs) are sung in a particular order with the BATA, special two headed drums used only for special occasions. Once the processional reaches the bridge, incantations and prayers are offered in Yoruba. The Priest or Priestess ask OSHUN if our offerings are acceptable. Once a positive response is interpreted participants are given instructions to make their offerings. 
On the return from the river, we celebrate! ODUNDE! It is the African New Year!


1 comment:

Lena said...

Happy African New Year. Thanks for sharing. I learned something new today. Look forward to following your blog.