THE Orisha festival of the ocean and planetary waters, Ase Odun Olokun, will be held in Tobago from October 8-9.
The festival opens with a panel of lectures, visits to heritage sites, music and dancing.
Ritual day will take place at the famous Nylon Pool on October 9.
Since 2014, the ocean festival has returned to Tobago every four years. The island holds further importance to the faith, as deceased Tobagonian and former prime minister Arthur NR Robinson was Chief Olokun Igbaro – the first African not born on the continent to hold the Olokun chieftaincy title. The first Tobago Olokun Festival in 2014 was held there in tribute to him.
Apart from being the deity of oceans and planetary waters, Olokun is also the guardian of the African diaspora.
In its 26th year, Ase Odun Olokun is one of the fastest-growing and most significant festivals in the Orisha community. It is where man’s indispensable link and connectivity to water and the force of the ocean is celebrated. The Orisha community continues to believe that communion with the ocean is necessary for mankind's survival – especially as an island people.
Participants are given a greater awareness of the responsibility of human beings in maintaining planetary health, equilibrium, and purity. Such reflection is important as TT’s marine environment continues to face threats such as seismic bomb tests, chemical and oil spills, over-fishing, and tonnes of plastic and other litter finding its way into the ocean, killing plant and animal life there. Tonnes of topsoil from the mountains are also washed into the sea every year because of man's habits of indiscriminate cutting of hillside trees, and bush fires.
Ase Odun Olokun is hosted by Egbe Onisin Eledumare, an African spiritual organisation functional since 1971. The organisation has consistently been one of the most progressive voices for Orisha and African traditions locally. Egbe Onisin Eledumare is the first organisation in TT to host and celebrate Ase Odun Olokun.
Over the years, the Egbe has pioneered the campaign for the passage of the Orisha Marriage Act; and in holding two major Orisha and African Traditions Conferences in TT.
The organisation also broke ground when it fielded the first Orisha carnival band and put the first Orisha Queen of Carnival contestant on the Savannah stage. The organisation continues to battle for the appreciation of the deep significance of this celebration as it relates to spiritual liberation, economic opportunities and rejuvenation of African identity.
This year’s ritual colour is red and attendees may bring offerings of fruit, orogbo, obi abata, efun, cowries, white or blue cloth, molasses, money and coins.
For more information about reservations and travel packages for this year’s Ase Odun, Olokun call or WhatsApp 797-0949 or 681-4117 or check out the Ase Odun Olokun Facebook page.
Individuals, groups and institutions who wish to make financial contributions towards the success of the festival can call the same numbers.