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The Ogbosu Festival of Agbarha – Otor kingdom




By Josephine Omodior

Agbarha-Otor is an agrarian community in Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State.

The town share boundaries with Ughelli, Orogun, Kokori and Emevor with an estimated population 5,000 people. The two major quarters of this community are Ughrude and Onah.

They operate a traditional system of monarchy with a council of chiefs and elders that oversees the activities of the town. His Royal Majesty, Richard Oghenevwogaga Ebelle, Okerefe I, is the paramount ruler in this area.

In a chat with The Truth, Engr. Ofagbe E. Success, popularly called Ohwrehwrelistic, revealed that the Ogbosu Festival of Agbarha-Otor kingdom is one aspect of their culture that the people has kept despite the practice of Christianity.

Members of this community do not eat toad as well as any item forbidden by their spouses who might be from other community.

According to Engr. Ofagbe, Ogbosu, is the name of a war hero who defended the community against enemies in time past.

After the Ogbosu’s demise, he was adopted as a god and subsequently turned into a festival celebration to honor and thank him for the protection he brought upon the community during his days on earth till date.

The Ogbosu festival lasts seven days with different remarkable activities that climaxes on the last day with beating of a mystic six feet sized drum and driving of the spirits back into the shrine.

The festival is held annually between the month August and September. Some elders of the town who specializes watching out for the moon fixes the exact date for this  celebration. The moon is expected to be seen at the end of the seventh day. Wrong timing of this event may result to strange happening in the kingdom.

Men, women, boys and girls participate in this festival.

Before the festival commences, the people are asked to store food items that can sustain them through the period of festivity as no one is allowed to go farming during this period. It is believed that the ancestors move around in the bushes because they have been invited to celebrate with the people.

Anyone who ventures into the bush during the Ogbosun festival celebration sees strange movements of objects and losses his/her farm tools and might become deaf.

The special Udju dance which involves fearsome clashing and clanging of Cutlasses and machetes among the dancers is performed within the seven days of the celebration.These sharp object are also used to cut participants but it does penetrate their skin.

Masquerades, Ogbus (defenders) and other dancers from within and other villages are expected to come in a dance procession with their war like costumes of Red and White which adds glamour to the event.

At this point, the six feet drum which is brought out of the shrine yearly for this occasion is beaten while all the dancers  move themselves rhythmically to its booming sound. This drum is said to have powers of making sound to peoples hearing whenever danger looms in the community.

The Ogbosun cultural festival is a very significant festival to the people of Agbarha-Otor because it brings all sons and daughters from different parts of the world together. Also, it is believed to bring prosperity and protection upon the people.

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