Osun-Osogbo or Osun- sacred Grove is a sacred city of Osogbo ,Osun State , Nigeria. The Osun-Osogbo Grove is among the last of the sacred forests which usually adjoined the edges of most Yoruba cities before extensive urbanization. In recognition of its global significance and its cultural value , the Sacred Grove was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005.

The 1950s saw the desecration of the Osun-Osogbo Grove: Shrines were neglected , priests abandoned the grove as customary responsibilities and sanctions weakened. Prohibited actions like fishing , hunting and felling of trees in the grove took place until Austrian , Susanne , Wenger , came and stopped the abuse going on in the grove.With the encouragement of the Ataoja and the support of the local people , "Wenger formed the New Sacred Art movement to challenge land speculators , repel poachers ,protect shrines and begin the long process of bringing the sacred place back to life by establishing it , again at the sacred heart of Osogbo. 


One of the most accepted history of Osogbo can be traced to 1670 AD. As History had it , it all started with the journey of a famous hunter called Olutimilehin , who hails from Ipole-Omu, not far from Ikotun.Olutimilehin came across a local Dam while onhunting in a place called Gbonmin , around Oke-Baale area ( part of present day Osogbo ) . Due to the water scarcity facing his community , he went around to see if the dam will be capable of sustaining his people.He was sad because the dam could not sustain his community. And in his quest,he discovered a stream called 'Okrokro' , which he traced its source to River Osun ( part of present day Osogbo ). 

Olutimilehin then went back to his community and inform the king , Larooye Gbadewolu of his findings.The king and his subjects later moved to settle at the flood plain and built his first palace later known as Ile - Osun. Overtime , Larooye and his subjects were engaged in farming activities in their new found land.History has it that while they were engaged in bush clearing for cultivatio , they incidentally fell off a tree, damaging the indigenous industry of the spirit world.A voice was heard from the river saying " Laro! Timehin! You have broken my dyeing pots" . Other voices from the spirit world were heard saying! "Oso-Igbo Pele o , Oso-Igbo rora o! (Oso-Igbo we commiserate with you).Later Larooye got to know the name of the spirit Queen Oso-Igbo (widely believe to be the goodies of River Osun). This is why the Osun goddess was , and is still regarded as the spiritual mother of Oba Larooye and all the succeeding Ataoja (King of Osogbo). 


Every year , the Osun-Osogbo festival is cleberated in the month of August at the grove.Yearly , the festival attracts thousands of Osun worshippers , spectators and tourists from all spheres of life.For the people of Osogbo land , August is a month of celebration , traditional cleansing of the city and cultural reunion of the people with their ancestors and founders of the Osogbo kingdom . The Osun-Osogbo festival is a two-week long programme.It begins with the traditional cleansing of the town called 'Iwopo'.which is followed in three days by the lighting of the 500 year old sixteen point lamp called Ina Olojumerindilogun '. Then comes the 'Iboriade', an assemblage of the crowns of the past ruler , Ataojas of Osogbo , for blessings.This event is led by the sitting Ataoja of Osogbo and the Arugba , Yeye Osun and a committee of priestesses. Osun is the Yoruba personification of the 'water of life' and the spiritual mother of Osogbo Townships. It is a sacred forest believed by some of its worshipers as the residence of the fertility goddess in some reports.Osun , the forest itself is full of shrines , works of art , sanctuaries and sculptures. 

The bulk of these offering are devoted to Osun , but many exist in reverence of other deities within the Yoruba pantheon as well. Within Osun it is the sacred groove, an area of spiritual importance.The goddess is said to give prosperity and protection to her people if they built a shrine for her and respected the spirit of the forest.

          -Roy Olugbodi



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