Orisha Community Celebrates Osun

Four Queens of Osun
Four Queens of Osun Reporters
Event Date: June 22, 2007
Posted: June 30, 2007

On Friday 22nd June, 2007, the Orisha community celebrated the spiritual rebirth of the feminine deity, Osun (also Oshun), at a special Osun Coronation Ceremony which was held at Queens Park East, Port of Spain. Osun, in the Orisha tradition, is the deity of sweet water, representing the feminine aspect of nature, harmony, motherhood, fertility and purity. One of the elders present at this historic event remarked that her spirit is so powerful that five people were needed to facilitate her manifestation. Four Orisha women and one man were honoured as the crowned heads of Osun. The five crowned heads were clad in vibrant yellow wear, clearly reflecting the celebration of Osun whose colour is yellow.

The ceremony, led by Orisha elder, Chief Alagbaa Awo Ifatayese Adelekan Aworeni, included moko jumbies, fancy sailors, singing, African drumming and dancing. The moko jumbies and fancy sailors, part of our African Carnival ritual, were present in the beginning of the ceremony to signify a part of Trinidad and Tobago that still bears the tradition of our African ancestry. They danced at the front of the tent, greeting in stylish fashion, the five manifestations of Osun.

Before this, drummers had assembled in a small space under the tent to play in merriment, the coming to earth of the Orisha entity. They were joined by the singing and chanting of other Orisha worshippers.

The formal part of the ceremony began with the entry of the five manifestations of Osun into the tent where the audience was gathered. They entered hidden by large fans covering their faces, or in the case of one of the manifestations, hidden behind the robes of two Orisha devotees.

After entering the tent, the programme immediately began with prayers being offered to the Orishas and in particular, to Osun, whose visit to earth was celebrated. It was indeed a festive yet holy occasion as members of the gathering rejoiced her coming and kneeled in reverence to receive her blessings through her five manifestations.

The very old to the very young approached the chosen five intermittently during the proceedings and some even gave brief speeches professing their devotion to Osun and asking that she continues to bequeath to them blessings.

Other devotional rituals were performed by 'Brave Boy' who sang a worship song in tribute to Osun; dance performances by Ah We People Theatrical Horizon and N'belese dance groups; inspirational songs by Calypsonians Abbi Blackman and Fred 'Composer' Mitchell; and songs played on the Steelpan by legendary Pannist, Len 'Boogsie' Sharpe.

Speakers on the auspicious occasion included Chief Folagbde Popola from Ile Ife, Nigeria; SWMCOL Chairman Ray Brathwaite; IRO president, Noble Khan; and the Minister of Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs, Senator the Honorable, Joan Yuille-Williams. In her address, Mrs. Yuille-Williams indicated that the journey from Africa was not a pleasant one referring to the slavery experience. Because of this difficult experience as she put it, it was even more of a struggle to keep their cultural traditions alive. Thus, she commended the efforts and the commitment of Africans here in Trinidad and Tobago to keep the African traditions alive. The Senator also stressed that it was a policy of the government of Trinidad and Tobago that all should practice their religion freely and that they encourage Orisha worshippers to follow in the same vain.

The moment that all awaited, the deliverance of Osun's message came next. Speaking through one of the manifestations, she said Osun brought blessings to all world-wide and that she had come to bring balance to the world. She bestowed special blessings also to those who have pursued the upliftment of African people including Ray Brathwaite, Fidel Castro and Senator the Honourable Joan Yuille-Williams.

Although many had anticipated Osun's crowning, she said that she would not be crowned until the "pope" of the Orisha faith arrives. Thus, this earthly coronation would be done at a later date.

Following this, guests were treated to lunch after the Osuns and the dignitaries were served in that order.

After the long day of celebration, the evening ended with a similar tempo with devotees singing and dancing in praise of the historic occasion.

Osun's Coronation in pictures:

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