Osogbo, the capital of the State of Osun, is an ancient Yoruba speaking city in Nigeria. It is sometimes called Ilu-aro (City of Tie and Dye). This traditional industry is one of the major industries of Osogbo. A number of other industries, notably textile, foam making and pencils began to rise after independence, and Osogbo was subsequently made a major industrial development centre by the Government of Nigeria during the 1970s.
Osogbo is the venue for the annual Osun Osogbo festival along the river Osun which takes place precisely August of every year and draws tens of thousands of believers and tourists from both inside and outside the country. The festival is centered on the sacred groove of the river goddess Osun.
During this festival, there are precisely only two major hairstyles to be done by the Iya Osun and her delegates, as these hairstyles are said to be the two major hairstyles of the Osun goddess. During an interview with Mrs Osundara Oyawale Asiwaju, the Iya Oya of Osun State, she stated that the two major hairstyles of this festival are Shuku and Adimo-eyin and that all other hairstyles seen during the festival are just for fashion. She also brought to our knowledge that the only male that compulsorily makes his hair is ‘Sango’ (God of thunder) and that for every other person is voluntarily.
She said, the use of cowries and all sorts of beads isn’t just for fashion but also symbolises that the hair is made for the deities (orisa).
Also, there are different kinds of beads used during the festival, each having their specific names and to be worn by specific individuals. Some are to be worn on the wrist, ankle, neck, head etc. The use of beads helps to symbolize the followers/children of the deity and some of these beads include “Ide Ifa”, consisting of green and brown colours worn only by the Ifa priest. There is also the Kele Sango which is used by Sango alone and it consists of red and white colors. Also, there is the use of the “Opa-Itele” by the king alone.
Mrs Oyawale also revealed that the use of white beads are for fashion alone as most of them do not imply anything.