Cultural Expression, Identity and Social Solidarity in Oye-Ekiti, Southwest Nigeria
Keywords:citizenship, communitarian, identity, Oye people, Ode festival, solidarity
This article examines the role of traditional festivals in citizens’ consciousness of identity, solidarity and integration, with particular attention to the Ode festival, which is dedicated to the worship of the Obalatan deity in Oye-Ekiti. It supplements the scant literature on traditional festivals that have fostered social solidarity and intergroup relations through cultural identity among the Yorùbá people of southwest Nigeria. The study harnesses sociology, cultural anthropology and historical research methodology resources, including oral interviews, participant observation, photography, and video and tape recordings to document and interpret its data. The article investigates how the Ode festival fosters identity and solidarity among the people. It identifies the roles of religious festival performance, liturgy and rituals in terms of socio-cultural values, integration, and engaging identity. It is noted that the festival is the core of Oye people’s life, as it promotes solidarity, values, cooperation, relationships, and has functioned as a primary marker of the social and cultural identity of the people over time. It is a traditional and long-established festival that renews and expresses Oye kinship values and identity, and could be employed in significant new initiatives to promote national value, integration and unity.
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