UDIROKO Festival 2019 is poised to be historical and also expose the cultural values and heritage of Ado Ekiti to the world.
The 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.
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.
To achieve the globalisation plan for the celebration of Udiroko festival, the Ewi in Council in collaboration with the Ekiti State Council for Arts and Culture held a world press conference at the Lagos Airport Hotel on Wednesday, ahead the 2019 Udiroko Festival slated for August 12 to August 20.
Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi at the press briefing revealed his plans to promote the cultural values of the state.
On Udiroko festival, the governor, represented by the Director-General, Ekiti State Council for Arts and Culture, Mr Wale Ojo-Lanre, disclosed that the collaboration between the state government and the Ado Ewi in Council 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 Oba Adeyemo Adejugbe Aladesanmi III and the people of Ado prepare and celebrate Udiroko annually,” he said.
Also speaking at the briefing, the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti Oba Adeyemo Adejugbe Aladesanmi III, described the festival as a cultural celebration to showcase the historical, cultural and traditional potential of Ado-Ekiti people as a collective entity.
Oba Adejugbe said indigenes of Ado-Ekiti also use the opportunity to pray for themselves and the town for remarkable achievements recorded over the years.
His words: “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.”
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.”