The Ogori Culture: Origin, Language and Festival

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The people of Ogori, or Ogorians as they are commonly known, have a history that dates back around 700 years; they are believed to be the product of multiple Yoruba migrations; and as such their origin is linked to the ancient home of the Yoruba lineage, Ile-Ife; they are descendants of Akinbuyi from Ile-Ife.

Due to their Yoruba origin, most Ogori are known to understand and speak Yoruba fluently, but they mainly speak a language called oko. This language is said to have been created from various language groups during the wave of migration from Ile-Ife.

The Ogori culture is rich in values ​​and heritage; the Ogorians generally hold an annual festival called the Ovia-Osese festival, normally dated two weeks after Easter. The people of Ogori hold this festival in high regard and have gained national and international recognition over the years. The Ovia-Osese festival is a rite of passage for young teenage girls in the country who are introduced to femininity. This initiation is supposed to promote chastity and sexual purity in the country; therefore, only teenage virgins are allowed to participate in this rite. This festival is a week of celebrations and festivities; the young girls are encamped and taught by the Iyodina, an elder from the Ogori country. She teaches them the morality of femininity, marital and societal and cultural values. After training and certification, the Iyodina take them to the community square for public recognition; they are dressed in colorful asooke tied at the chest and beads adorning their head and neck. They perform a special dance called “oke”, accompanied by chanting to mourn their last time as girls as they become women. Other features of this festival include sports activities, cultural exhibitions and beauty pageants.

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