Sunday Musings: Why August 20, Should Be Etched In Our Minds…
That is the annual Isese Festival Public Holiday in Osun, Lagos, Oyo and Ogun States. The advocacy to have a national public holiday for African Traditional Religionists, just like we have for Christians and Muslims, began like a whiff.
Up till now, some persons are still undermining the mileage that advocacy has covered. Remember it was only Lagos that was celebrating and demanding a national holiday for June 12, until Ogun joined and later Osun and today, June 12 is a national holiday in all our 36 States, due to consistency.
Even Christianity as a religion, originally began as a small, unorganized sect that promised personal salvation after death through belief in Jesus the son of Jehovah God, the same God the Jews believed in.
Christianity originated in Judea 100 years after Christ, based first on the teachings of Jesus and later on the writings and missionary work of Paul of Tarsus.
In the decades after Jesus’s death, Apostle Paul wrote many letters that are now part of the New Testament of the Christian Bible. Paul was a Roman citizen and sent these letters to small communities of Christians living throughout the Roman Empire. Eventually, Christianity gained followers throughout the Roman empire.
Just like it is happening to Traditional Worshippers in Nigeria today, Christians were occasionally persecuted and formally punished, for their beliefs during the first two centuries CE.
But Rome Became a Christian State
In 313 CE, after Emperor Constantine issued the Edict of Milan, which granted Christianity a legal status. Then in 325, Constantine called the Council of Nicaea, which was a gathering of Christian leaders to determine the formal or orthodox beliefs of Christianity and produce him a document. This resulted in the Nicene Creed, which laid out the agreed beliefs of the council.
In 380 CE, Emperor Theodosius then issued the Edict of Thessalonica, which made Christianity, specifically Nicene Christianity, the official religion of the Roman Empire and from then on, most other Christian sects were deemed heretical, lost their legal status, and had their properties confiscated by the Roman state.
It is that clandestine phase that Traditional African Religions and the worshippers are transitioning. A phase that colonialism denied us. The ATRs will keep pushing relentlessly until our own Constantine and Theodosus arrive.
Citizen Agba Jalingo.