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Yoruba worshippers celebrate Obatala

JANELLE DE SOUZA Sunday, January 8 2017

For the past decade, Trinidadian Oloye Esabenjo Efag Oriyomi Orisagbemi has brought the Obatala Festival to the people of this country.

This year the festival took place yesterday and today on Alberto Street in Woodbrook.

Phillipa Doyle, aka Iretiola Olaosebikan, one of the organisers of the festival and wife of Orisagbemi, explained that the festival was one way to pay homage to the Yoruba deity Obatala.

Some of the stories about Obalata said he was responsible for the creation of humans, that he sparks creativity in humans, is about high ethical and moral values, and favourite colour is white.

She told Sunday Newsday her husband was initiated as a divine messenger in Ileife, Nigeria in 1994.

There, he received the mandate to hold the festival in the Western Hemisphere to which he began celebrating it in Trinidad and Tobago at the same time the festival is celebrated in Nigeria.

Olaosebikan stated that the message of Obatala was about being creative, peaceful, finding harmony, a more positive approach to life, and not being distracted by material things or other things that could take away from being your best self.

This year’s festival included a service and procession at Ita Oosa, 51 Alberto Street, Woodbrook yesterday, as well as a craft market and family day at Siegert Square, inclusive of a bouncy castle, drummers, a farmers market, various jewellery and fashion displays.

“Every year we try to incorporate different things.

One year we had a women’s day focussing on women’s health.

We would also like to start a library with books you may not find in the library — more ethnic in nature — and a work/study centre that would be open to children where they can get homework assistance,” said Olaosebikan.

In addition, three to five young persons were usually presented with a $1,000 donation to assist with their secondary schooling.

This year, the recipients include three young women from the Carib community this year, and two from the Orisha community.



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