By Ayodeji M. Owolabi
It has always been a moment of excitement and fun when the people of a community gather to mark yet another celebration of a New Yam season. The serene town of Igbara-Oke, Headquarters of Ifedore Local Government Area of Ondo State was agog and filled with different cultural and traditional displays as the Paramount Ruler Olowa of Igbara-Oke kingdom, Oba Dr. Francis Adefarakanmi Agbede, celebrates another New Yam festival.
The New Yam festival has been in existence from time immemorial, and Igbara-Oke is known to be an agrarian community, having yam as a major crop. This is celebrated as the king of crops.
Being an important event in the calendar of the good people of Igbara-Oke kingdom all over the world, the festival usually begins with a walk to the farm to harvest yams by the king, where he will observe prayers in appreciation to God for the good harvest and for more fruitful years ahead.
The walk to Idasu farm (Yam farm) marks the beginning of time to eat new yam in Igbara-Oke. The walk is always led by the monarch, and will be accompanied by his Oloris (Queen), Omo-Owas (Prices and Princesses), traditional title holders and the residents of the town, with diverse displays of traditional activities by traditional groups in the town.
The Ijesu Olowa festival 2019 saw the people of the town in their large numbers came out to honour their king, as he celebrates this festival.
There is no doubt that the reign of Oba Dr. Francis Adefarakanmi Agbede as the 13th Olowa of Igbara-Oke has brought development and progress to the serene town in all areas, particularly, in the promotions of culture and traditions of the town and Yoruba land in general.
Oba Dr. Francis Adefarakanmi Agbede, who later spoke on the importance of the yam festival said, apart from being an annual festival, it marks the beginning of the time the people of the town are expected to eat new yam, most especially the king. He said New Yam festival has been in existence from time immemorial, which was inherited from their forefathers.
He said the new yam festival is being observed across the world and the approaches are different as it affects different communities. According to him, the process is to continue in the tradition and cultural heritage bequeathed on them by their forefathers.
Oba Agbede, being a prominent monarch in Yoruba land and Nigeria also, called the attention of the government, both at the federal and state levels to the advantages of investing more in the traditions and cultures of our people, which he believe teaches moral and will help reduce social vices.
He charged the youths to venture into agriculture as the world tends to that direction. He also urged the Federal and State Government to continue to give support to the people who have shown genuine interest in agriculture.
The celebration is characterized by different kind of activities, merry making, the gains recorded were immeasurable, as it provides opportunity for business men and women, artisans, traders to enjoy more patronage, particularly in the area of hospitality business
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