Oloku 1950

The principal god worshipped in the town of Okuku is Oloku. This god was brought by the ancestors of Okuku from Ile-Ife and his priest is called Aworo.
The yearly festival of the god takes place when the first yams are ready, towards the end of May or the beginning of June.
The Aworo then goes to his farm and brings back a yam which he divides into four pieces and places on the shrine of Okuku.
The Aworo and the chief of Okuku, the Olokuku, Cook and eat pounded yam, after which the people of the town start to use their own yams and their is a general celebration.

It is said that the Aworo lights a fire in the market as a sign of rejoicing, but the Olokuku scatters the burning sticks. The Aworo then challenges the Olokuku to a wrestling match which, however, must always end with the Olokuku throwing the Aworo. This is taken as a sign for renewed rejoicing and thanksgiving that Oloku has spared their lives for another year.

The position of Aworo Oloku belongs to one family. When an Aworo dies he is succeeded by his eldest son, whether a child or a grown man.
The Aworo does not cut his hair. It is normally plaited. As also often do priests of Sango, the god of thunder.

The Aworo Oloku in this picture became the Aworo at about 6 years old, at the time of the picture he was about 16.

The name Okuku means the ” survivors of the dead”. After leaving Ife their ancestors went to  Ara, but on the death of the Chief his younger son was chosen as his successor instead of the eldest who left Ara in anger taking the god Oluku with him. After much wondering he settled in a place called Itokin. This town increased and prospered until the Ijesha Ararat war about 1760 when it was attacked by the Ijeshas and destroyed. After sometime a few people crept out of the ruins and we’re advised through the system of divination called Ifa to leave. When they reached the present site of Okuku they were advised by Ifa to stop and to take the name of Okuku. – Nigeria Magazine 1950

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