African Culture Through The Streets Of Philly
Odunde was created by Lois Fernandez and Ruth Arthur in 1975. The festival celebrates the life and culture of African Americans/Africanized people worldwide. The concept of the festival originates from the Yoruba people of Nigeria in the West Africa region. The procession extends from 23rd and South Street to the Schuylkill River. There, flowers and fruits are offered up to Oshun, the Yoruba goddess of the river.
Even on the gloomy and rainy day, the streets were filled with festival-goers. Underneath the umbrellas, African prints, headwraps, and colorful fabrics decorated the streets. The air smelled of authentic West Indian, African and African American soul food. Lines for dishes like fried fish, chicken and corn on the cob was worth the wait. Jamaican oxtails with rice and peas and plantain, African jollof rice, curry dishes and spicy, barbecue-like jerk chicken. The wide variety of food made your mouth water, making those walking by to stop for a taste.
Vendors filled the streets ranging from clothing, jewelry, crafts and etc. There was a mixture of local vendors and genuine items from the Caribbean, Africa and some from South America. Amongst the vendors, crowds of people and food trucks, live music bumped in the background of it all. Performances on the stage drew in attendances with their captivating energy and movements. Circles formed around street dancers as they displayed their talent while drummers pounded in unison. Children, adults, and couples all joining in dancing to the rhythm of the beat.
Article by Kalyn Kearney