Philly’s 43rd Odunde Festival celebrates African spirituality and cultural connection : Community : WHYY


Ask most Philadelphians to name a holy place and the Schuylkill River is unlikely spring to mind.

But at the Odunde festival in South Philly on Sunday, that tributary of the Delaware became a kind of altar as practitioners of Ifa, a belief system related to the Yoruba religion of Nigeria, processed to the South Street Bridge where about a hundred people gathered to celebrate Osun, the river goddess, as a way to welcome the Yoruba new year.

Mostly wearing white and yellow dresses and tunics, their hair covered by colorful wraps, fedoras, and sunhats, the crowd sang and danced down South Street, led by the rhythm of drums and shekeres — West-African shakers made from gourds. After reciting prayers thanking Osun, small children, alongside grandparents and cousins, were…

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