*** To Begin with “Opa” Ceremony
The Isinkan Community, an autonomous town beside Akure in Akure south local government area of Ondo State will begin the 2023 Obarisa Festival on the 28th of April 2023.
A statement from the media team of the Iralepo of Isinkan, Oba Oluwagbemiga Ajimokunola Olofin-Adimula (Arulewolasi III) said the Obarisa festival will be kick-started with the annual ‘Opa’ ceremony on the 28th and 29th April, 2023.
It noted that the ‘Opa’ ceremony would be performed in all the quarters and villages within Isinkan kingdom.
The Olorogbe of Isinkan, Chief Awelewa Obadunjoye who is the Chief Priest of the ‘Opa’ ceremony said meetings that would herald the festival are being concluded.
The Odun Opa, usually heralded by active use of cains by able-bodied male volunteers to test their endurance, is a yearly event in Isinkan land and a component of the larger Obarisa Festival aimed at promoting peace and progress in the town.
The Obarisa festival, which is dedicated to the appreciation of the Supreme Being usually attracts a large crowd of people from within and outside the town during its celebration.
The event, celebrated by the natives of the ancient town is heralded first by the Ela Usi worship and Ifa Isikan rendition, followed by the ‘Opa’ or flogging contest.
“It’s a festival that you don’t want to miss”, Chief Obadunjoye said.
Giving a historical context to the 2023 Obarisa Festival, Oba Arulewolasi in the statement explained that “the Obarisa Festival is a thanksgiving fete that is designed to commemorate the successful splashdown of Obara and his female companion, Oshorun, at the founding of Isikan land.”
“According to our oral history, our progenitor, Obara, is the first man to set feet on land in the entire world and he and his companion, Yeye Oshorun, in ancient times set up the first Usi or altar and had it dedicated to Obarisa, the Supreme Being whilst also consecrating this entire land of Isinkan as a holy or sacred land for humans.
“The Obarisa Festival would afford the people of Isinkan the opportunity of a communal re-enactment of that blissful experience with a joint celebration of the Supreme Being and unequaled King of all Gods in the Isinkan spiritual cosmos.”
The Oba added that “the objectives of the Festival include the promotion of the sanctity of a day that is sacred, the entrenchment of spiritual discipline, promotion of peace, progress, and togetherness in the town and turning the hearts of the people back to the Supreme God as a symbol of unity and success in Isinkan”.
“In times past, the Opa aspect of the ceremony provided an opportunity to test the strength, endurance of young men, and the will of the toughest young men in the town before being sent to spend additional 3 full moons at a place now known as Isarun which was then a dreaded hunting wilderness where the sons of Isinkan crossed friendly ancient swords and arrows, and shared games with sons of Alara and their brethren from ancient Igbara”.
Oba Adimula said he is committed to resuscitating all the traditional festivals being celebrated in the community to showcase the community’s rich history and heritage and properly package them for the international audience in terms of standards.
The Iralepo said “I look forward to a colourful festival that will showcase our rich culture as a people. I enjoin indigenes of Isinkan both at home and in the Diaspora to take an active part in the celebration of this year’s Obarisa Festival”.
The traditional ruler promised to collaborate with the Ondo State government in making the entre Isinkan land and the Isinkan section of the state capital the envy of all.