The annual Oranyan/Oranmiyan Festival is an event held in Oyo in the ninth month of the year. The festival has its origin from Oranmiyan, Oduduwa’s grandson, who founded the Oyo Empire in the fifteenth century. The Empire grew to become one of the largest in West Africa. Its strength, gained from the empire’s organizational skill, was used to prosecute many wars through which the empire was able to expand its territory, while its wealth was gained from trading.
The old Oyo Empire was the most politically significant state in the region from the mid-fifteenth to the late eighteenth century, holding sway not only over most of the other kingdoms in Yorubaland, but also over nearby African States. Notable among which is the Fon Kingdom of Dahomey in the modern-day Republic of Benin.
Despite the collapse of the old Oyo Kingdom, the people of Oyo have remained blessed and a force to reckon with in Yorubaland. The Oranyan festival is held in honour of the first ever Alaafin of Oyo, Oranmiyan. The festival is also used to remember great Yoruba heroes. This year, the event was supported by Eagle Aromatic Schnapps, a brand at the fore front of promoting tradition and culture from the stable of Intercontinental Distillers Limited. The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, while receiving the Intercontinental Distillers Limited team during the Oranmiyan festival, stressed the importance of knowing and celebrating past heroes. He further added that the celebration of culture was neither fetish nor against civilization norms but rather enables people appreciate their ancestors and connect with their roots and heritage. According to him, this is the fifth year of celebrating the Oranyan Festival in Oyo state.
Activities held during the week-long festival include an International Press Conference, visits to cultural sites, exhibitions and Yoruba quizzes. The festival had a day set aside for welcoming back Yorubas in Diaspora called the Gbegiri day. The grand finale included beautiful Masquerade displays from Dahomey. The Head of Marketing of Intercontinental Distillers Limited, Mr. Mobolaji Alalade said Eagle Schnapps is at the forefront of promoting culture and tradition hence the brand’s partnership with one of the biggest festivals held in the Yorubaland. Furthermore, Eagle Schnapps is a drink used to pour libations to our ancestors. Visitors also had the opportunity to experience the brand via sampling.