Osun-Osogbo is a Sacred Grove or forest situated along the Oshun River, outside Osogbo city in the Osun State of Nigeria. The festival of Osun-Osogbo is celebrated annually when the staunch worshipers and believers from all over come together for the celebrations. The celebrations at the festival seek to reiterate the spiritual bond of the Yoruba people with their goddess Osun who is the presiding deity of the Sacred Grove.In 2005, the Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove was designated as UNESCO World Heritage Site owing to its global cultural appeal. Besides, Osun-Osogbo is one of the existent and well -preserved forests standing testimony to the Yorbua heritage.
The sacred forest of Osun-Osogbo is believed to be the abode of Osun, worshipped as the fertility goddess. A number of shrines and sanctuaries existing in the forest are dedicated to Osun. Besides, numerous works of art and sculpture also deify other deities recognized by the Yoruba culture. While the forest houses forty shrines in honor of Osun and other deities,there are nine worship points near the Osun River. Previously many Yoruba cities of the region had sacred forests in their outer limits but got destroyed in the process of expansion and development.
The Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove covers 75 ha of ring-fenced forest. It is located alongside the Osun River on the outskirts of Osogbo town, Western Nigeria. The Yoruba people consider it an important part of their cultural identity and visit the grove to experience the spirituality of the place. The Osun River enhances the sanctity and spirituality of the place. The Osogbo Sacred Grove has retained its cultural significance for nearly forty years and occupies a central place in the lives and culture of the Yoruba people. Besides the locals believers from across the African continent flock to the region during the annual festival.
The town of Osogbo near the sacred forest is a thriving place for the region’s art and culture. Tourists are greatly attracted to this town as it offers them many opportunities to get acquainted with the rich heritage of the place. The local population is noted for welcoming foreign nationals interested in learning more about the traditional arts of the region resulting in the growing presence of the foreign community. Oso-igbo, the goddess of the Osun River is a revered figure in the local culture and worshipped for her power and grace that helped in establishing the town of Osogbo.
The Annual festival of Osun-Osogbo is seen as a pilgrimage when people of the community gather to experience the spirituality of the place. The 12-day festival takes place during the end of July and extending to the first week of August. During the festival the ancestor kings are worshipped and their spirits invoked to reaffirm the dedication of the people. They also renew their bonds with the deities of the Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove. The festival culminates in a procession when the people engage in singing, dancing and music dedicated to Osun.