July 2009. The Shango festival is celebrated each July in Yoruba land in the Lagos area. Shango is a powerful god in the Yoruba culture and represents thunder. Shango invokes both fear and revererence, and he is invited to administer justice when his name is taken in vain. After 20 days of preparation, which include sacrifices made in the presence of a priest at Shango's shrine, the festival reaches its climax. During this time the priest becomes 'possessed by the god' and gains magical powers. He eats fire and swallows gunpowder. A procession then follows him to where a feast is held in Oba's Palace.
The palace was constructed in 1705 by the Portuguese and is the official residence of the Oba of Lagos. The present ruler, King Oba Oyekan II, was crowned in 1965 and is the 18th Oba of Lagos. Travellers who wish to tour the palace can apply for permission to do so from the Secretary of the Oba of Lagos, Oba's Palace, Upper King Street, North of Lagos Island, Nigeria.
For further information on festival timetable consult www.tourism.gov.ng
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Nigeria Tourism Development Coorporation, Federal Secratariat, Phase Two, Abuja, Nigeria. Tel: +234 (0) 9 523 0418