A 600-year-old religious festival is being celebrated in Ocean , Southwestern Nigeria .
The two-week-long festival is the largest religious festival in the Yoruba community.
Not only Nigerians but tourists from all over the world participate in the festival.
Traditional beliefs of spirituality are still observed in Nigeria.
Believers in the Ocean Ashboo fair believe that the sacred forest, which is located near the city of Ishibo, is one of the last few places where souls manifest themselves and the forgiveness of people is possible.
On a daily basis, dancing on the beat of the drum is held at the festival and people wear unique costumes to please the goddess of children.
Iowa artists from the state of Lagos are also participating in this year’s celebrations.
The fair takes the spotlight of a virgin girl called Arugaba. Its job is to help people connect with the gods.
Uruguay is also known as the ‘Calabash Lifter’. They often have a colorful veil on their head underneath which they have a large pumpkin anthala which is called kalabash in the local language.
All attendees collect donations as per their stipend in Calabash.
Every girl who gets the title of Uruguay has to be a virgin for a lifetime.
Before going to the river, devotees also worship at the shrine of the goddess.
Experts say the festival has a history of around 600 years.
When the city was being inhabited, older people wanted to build houses along the river, but when they started to cut down trees to make room for their homes, the goddess of the river called them and asked them to give up the work.
It is said that from this day to today, the goddesses consider this area sacred.
In 2003, the UN agency UNESCO added the forest to the World Heritage List.
The main host of the festival, Oba Jimo Olani Pico, is addressed as ‘Athuja of Ishbo’. Chiefs from other areas also see them with devotion.
Apart from the local population, a large number of foreigners also participate in the festival. Some of them are tourists, while many come because of religious and cultural curiosity.
During the British rule, Christian monks had greatly influenced the beliefs of Nigerian-based spirituality.
In this period, the tradition of worship of Orissa involved the sacrifice of human beings, which was stopped by the authorities.