Obatala Festival comes to Woodbrook

This weekend the Orisa community will celebrate the Obatala Festival at Ita Oosa Shrine, 51 Alberto Street, Woodbrook, Port-of-Spain.
Obatala, the Orisa of creation and father of all Orisas is also connected to our traditional Carnival celebrations.
Trinidad and Tobago Carnival far from being just a fete, has always had spiritual elements drawing from our rich and diverse cultural landscape. Christianity, Hinduism and Ifa/Orisa cultural forms can all be found in the celebration.
It is thought that the tradition of dabbing the body with mud during J’Ouvert celebrations is directly linked to the Yoruba creation story of Obatala forming humans out of clay.
Also the traditional mas character the Moko Jumbie was usually accompanied by a dwarf, presumably to accentuate its height.
Carnival scholars have also connected this phenomenon to Obatala, who after working hard at creating the human forms is tired and thirsty and quickly drinks a large amount of palm wine. In his drunken state he becomes unable to mould the clay properly and some of the human forms are misshapen. Obatala then denounces alcohol and becomes the protector of humans with disabilities – from dwarfism to paraplegia to Downs Syndrome.
All are invited to attend the activities of the Obatala Festival, which include a procession on Saturday 9th at 2 p.m. and a Family Day on Sunday 10th from 10 a.m.
For more information please contact Ita Oosa at 622- 0029.

Image by Shirley Bahadur via T&T Guardian