Africa, mother Africa… the pride of the black race; with enviable elegance she displays her ever impressive vibrant beauty in unhurried gait, as the world beholds, awed by the magic and splendor of her forever intriguing cultural heritage. .
Undoubtedly the African continent is one of the richest and most intriguing continents in the world, known for its diverse cultural heritage, which has in turn drawn curiosity and therefore publicity, projecting the African cultural wealth to the world.
Regardless of the perhaps constant negativism surrounding Africa, the core of her existence remains celebrating and forever preserving her culture, which is sometimes done through festivities. Amongst her numerous festivals receiving international recognition, the world class Sango festival stands out with its unbeatable historical origin.
The Sango festival is a pride of the Yorubas, who are amongst the three largest ethnic groups in Nigeria. Notably the Yoruba tribe is well known and highly researched owing to their rich heritage.
The Sango festival celebrated in Oyo town in Oyo State with about 700 million people in attendance is celebrated in the early November, towards the end of a rainy season. The renowned festival is held in honour of Sango, according to myth -“The god of Thunder” born Tella Oko, the second born of Oranyan.
Sango one of the strongest ancient heroic kings and warrior in Oyo State was identified with thunder and lightning and has now become a symbol of power and truth and therefore a deity over the years in the Yoruba kingdom.
Sango is believed to posses protective powers and is portrayed with a symbol of a double axe on his head, which signifies thunder with six eyes and other significant features. According to belief the ancestor is greatly feared because he possesses magical powers which he uses to hurl fire and stones to punish his offenders.
The Sango festival features various ceremonies involving rain magic, thunder and lightning, acrobatic dances, masquerades, music, traditional dancers and sacrifices to Sango. The joyful atmosphere is splashed with Sango devotees adorned in red with Ifa priests decked in white attire while a huge crowd of spectators from all walks of life gather to celebrate the deity as well.
The appearance of the king holds the greatest fascination in this festival, as he arrives in a trancelike state decked in a red skirt, plaited hair, cowry shells attached to his regalia, gourds tied on his head amidst all the showering of panegyrics.
The festival concludes on the seventh day with a procession of fire in which a worshipper carries a large pot containing a sacred flame that brings blessings to all parts of the village.
Till date Sango the legend is still celebrated even in the international world and not too long ago outlining its cultural importance, the festival was endorsed by the federal government through the Ministry of Culture and National Orientation.