HomeLUMINAvol. 22 no. 2 (2011)

The Lore of Religious Festivals among the Yoruba and Its Social Relevance

Olatundun Abosede Oderinde

Discipline: Social Science, Religion



Religious practices, ceremonies and festivals are part of folk heritage. They are essential materials in culture that circulate traditionally among members of any group in different versions. Festivals are occasion of public manifestation of joy or the celebration of a historical occurrence such as the role of Olumo rock in the victory of the Egbas. Culture and information about a particular community are often being transmitted through the songs, music and other activities that go with the festivals. The traditional festivals today are to a large extent seen by some as idol worship because of the deities associated with the festivals while some elites see the festivals as occasions that promote vices such as stealing, fighting, immorality, casting spell (by trying newly discovered charms/juju) on people. Hence many educated (Christians and Muslims) would not participate in these festivals. The festivals however are still very relevant as they provide a rallying point for people in a particular society, create cultural awareness and avenue of getting a practical experience of the people’s customs, their way of life and their belief systems. The paper is, thus, an attempt to bring to fore the social significance of religious festivals.