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Orisa devotees prepare for Obatala Festival
On January 15, Oloye Ifagbenjo, Ojise Obatala of Edena will be hosting the Eighth Annual Obatala Festival at Ita Oosa, 51 Alberto Street, Woodbrook, Port-of-Spain. Obatala is one of the oldest Orisas —he is called the Chief of the White Cloth, Orishaala Oseeremagbo. Obatala represents peace, purity, moral behaviour, and creativity. He is considered the patron of the crippled, blind, albino, giants, dwarfs, and all other afflicted or deformed people. He has the power to make his children great.
According to Ifa tradition, Obatala is responsible for the moulding of human beings, Alamerere, owner of the finest clay. Ifagbenjo Oriyomi Orisagbemi is the divine messenger of Obatala, and since his initiation as a priest by Oloye Oloja Oladosu Olugundudu, Obalale in Ile Ife, Nigeria in 2003, the ojise has been charged with the mission of bringing the message of Obatala to the people in the Diaspora. Over the years the message from Obatala has been clear—we must be upright citizens, treat each other well, and look after the children.
This year’s celebration will consists of a tribute to women, which takes place today. This will address matters of health and well being, as women are the primary caregivers in our families. This will be followed by a Children’s Day on January 11, where young members of the Orisa community will be conducting the evening’s services and pay homage to the ancestors. The finale will take place on January 15. There will be commentary on the yearly Odu, a procession through the community, and the highlight of the evening will be a presentation of awards to elders in the community who have worked hard to preserve the traditions and culture of Orisa in T&T.
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