The Ekiti State Government has decided to partner with the people of Ado-Ekiti to rebrand the Udiroko festival, by globalizing its celebration and seeking for marketers for the festival.
The Director-General, Ekiti State Council for Arts and Culture, Mr Wale Ojo-Lanre said this at a press briefing held in Lagos ahead of the 2019 Udiroko Festival slated for August 12 to August 20.
Mr Lanre said the collaboration was to make the festival become self-sustaining and involve Ado-Ekiti indigenes in the Diaspora, as well as those outside the shores of Ekiti.
“We have noticed the energy and vigour with which the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti and the people of Ado prepare and celebrate Udiroko annually,” he said.
The Udiroko Festival
The Udiroko festival is celebrated annually in Ado,-Ekiti, Ekiti state South West Nigeria.
The Festival established around 1310 AD during the reign of Oba Awamaro, the first Ewi of the present day of Ado-Ekiti.
The festival marks the first day of the year for the town’s inhabitants; it is usually a day people set aside to give thanks to their creator.
The name Udiroko was derived from the venue of the festival, which was beneath the big Iroko tree at Ewi’s Palace.
Also speaking at the briefing, the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti Oba Adeyemo Adejugbe Aladesanmi III, said the festival is a cultural celebration to showcase the historical, cultural and traditional potential of Ado-Ekiti people as a collective entity.
He said indigenes of Ado-Ekiti also use the opportunity to pray for themselves and the town for remarkable achievements recorded over the years.
“The festival has nothing to do with rituals, fetishism and idolism, as it usually starts with Jumat Service on Friday which immediately precedes the first day event of the week-long celebrations.
“It ends with Church thanksgiving service, and it is usually rotated annually among the various Churches in Ado-Ekiti.
“These aspects of the annual festival which start and end in prayers in the houses of God clearly indicate that the festival is not fetish by any standard and not shrouded in secrecy.
“Through this festival, we constantly celebrate our ancient past and showcase the rich cultural heritage of Ado people in ways that give currency to the past and precisely situate the present for the productive future,’’ he said.
The monarch explained that Udiroko is a euphemistic expression of the significance of the first meeting of the Ado-Ekiti people under the Iroko tree to celebrate the founding of Ado Kingdom.
Aladesanmi III said this was under the kingship of the Ewi, who thereafter, gave a royal proclamation of the first gathering under the Iroko tree as the first day in the Ado-Ekiti calendar year.
“It is our hope that from now on, the Udiroko Festival will gain further international recognition that would propel it amidst its cultural peers in other kingdoms and climes,’’ he concluded.
Theme of the festival is: ‘Enforcing and Sustaining the Solidity of our History, Culture and Tradition.