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If on August 12, 2019, an Ado-Ekiti indegine wishes you happy New Year, do not be surprised as it marks the first day in the traditional Calendar of the people which is typified in the annual Udiroko Festival being celebrated from Monday, August 12 to 20, 2019.
This came to the fore at a world press conference addressed in Lagos on Wednesday, August 7, 2019 by HRH Oba Adeyemo Adejugbe Aladesanmi III, the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti.
The Oba explained that the essence of the Udiroko Festival which is staged every year by the people of Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, was to provide the ample opportunity to all Ado sons and daughters, both at home and in diaspora to appreciate God and pray for continuous peace and progress in the coming year.
He further said that it represented the cultural togetherness of Ado-Ekiti people, as well as being a by-product of the Ajase Ewi, ‘the Ewi Supernatural Power of Conquest’ inherited from Oduduwa, pointing out that “the Udiroko yearly celebration is accompanied with feasting, dancing and merry-making throughout the length and breadth of Ado Kingdom and its environs”.
Said the Oba: ” 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 situat the present for a productive future.
“Concretely put, Udiroko Festival is a cultural celebration that showcases the historical, cultural and traditional wherewithal of Ado people as a collective entity; governors and government officials always grace the occasion each year”.
“Without sacrificing the rudiments and core of it’s traditionalism as the incumbent 28th Ewi, I have made Udiroko a national and, in deed, an international festival”
In his opening address, the chairman of the event, Prince Julius Adeluyi-Adelusi, congratulated the Udiroko Festival Planning Committee for successfully putting together such a spectacular gathering, adding that the presence of Oba Aladesanmi III in Lagos was a working visit during which he would meet, and discuss with Lagos-based Ado-Ekiti indegines the way forward for the home community.
He said that among many other traditional festivals, Udiroko Festival was the most prominent because it was the beginning of the year for the people, stressing that more support should be given to the events even as he acknowledged that it would mark the beginning of joy in the land.
Speaking, the Udiroko Festival Planning Committee chairman, Professor Sunday Akindele, postulated that the festival was to annually remember the foundation of Ado-Ekiti, emphasising that it had no fetish bent.
Said he: All our programmes are documented. The name, Udiroko, was taken from the Iroko tree, dating back to the 13th Century at the first meeting of Ado-Ekiti people under the Iroko tree till date under the present 28th Ewi.
“Udiroko is cultural, traditional and has nothing to do with religion”.
Ado-Ekiti is open to all that will be in the town for Udiroko Festival from August 12 to 20, 2019.