The cultural heritage of the land emphasizes that the crown prince should pray to the deities of Uwen and Ora for peace and prosperity in the kingdom. The traditional and cultural festival represents the religious values and beliefs of the Benin Kingdom. The melodious songs seemed to reverberate as the participants were involved in the elaborate religious rituals and rites that are part of the process to engage in prayers and meditation. The ceremony comes after the formal initiation of the crown prince into the royal palace on 6th October, 2015. The event was a grand one that was filled with historical reality and royal grandeur. The formal initiation ceremony was marked by traditional songs and affections and solidarity from the people of Edo. The formal initiation was a remarkable event that was based on the boundless dynamism that represents the rich cultural heritage of the Benin Kingdom. The ceremony was marked by traditional songs and dances. The crown prince is an influential member of Nigeria because of his education and expertise. He has served as ambassador to different countries such as Angola and Norway. Moreover, he has been member of key business positions especially in the oil and gas sector. The shrines are dedicated to the deities Ora and Uwen who play a critical role in the Edo religious rites and values. Ora is a deity that represents weapons and aggression while Uwen is a deity who is concerned with healing, fertility, and obstetrics. The joint Ebo n’Edo altar refers to the joint worship of the gods by a small circle.
Edo philosophy divides the world into the visible world, agbon and the invisible world, erinmwin. The visible world refers to the vast earth that is surrounded by limitless layers and rivers of water. Agbon is also the home to good and evil spirits and deities. Osanobua is the supreme god whose progeny was sent to live on earth. They include the earth goddess, Obiemwen who created the earth. The water deity, Olokum is related to creativity and fertility. Ogiuwu is the deity of death while other deities include Oshun, god of medicine and Ogun, the god of metals. The visible world is strongly connected with the invisible world. The actions in one world have repercussions in the invisible world. The invisible world in Edo religion is beyond that of the waters. It is heaven which is referred to as worldunder. Heaven is the invisible world where there is peace and prosperity. It is also the place where the decisions regarding life are made. The supreme god, Osanobua resides in the place with spirits known as the ehi that function as the personal guardian spirits of human beings. They are the masters of human destinies along with the supreme god. The dead fathers of individuals are living as spirits known as arha in this place. The edion are the unnamed fathers that also reside in the invisible world. The ancestral spirits are venerated by their living descendants. They have an important role because of the fact that they are perceived to be the heads of families. The father is the basic head of the family who is concerned with the welfare of their family. Family members who fail to fulfill their duties are punished by the spirits of their ancestors. The two worlds of the Edo have a constant clash between the forces of good and evil. There are good and evil humans, spirits, animals, and deities. The continuous clash between good and evil is part of the cosmos because it is about to maintain harmony in the universe. Edo religion and rituals are designed to focus on good things while fighting to deter the evil ones.
The crown prince’s visit to the shrines must be seen in the context of Edo religion and philosophy. The crown prince is the head of the kingdom. He has the responsibility of maintaining the affairs by ruling through wisdom and sagacity. The visit to the shrines is a testimony to the crown prince appeasing and praying to the deities for peace and prosperity in the region. This is a powerful source of strength and rejuvenation. Edo religion asserts that human beings must attain material prosperity, attain old age, and gain recognition for worthy deeds. The crown prince’s visit is thus seen in the context of Edo religion which believes that humans are given fourteen opportunities to be reborn in agbon. By achieving the life goals of the religion, the individual gains opportunity for reincarnation which ultimately leads to being an ancestor. During the start of each cycle, the spirit bows before the supreme god and declares their intentions. This is sealed in the destiny of the individual because it will be what they do in their life. The visit of the crown prince to the shrines is understood to be important because Edo religion and rituals focus on controlling the evil forces that undermine human interests. Moreover, the goal is to focus on increasing the good forces. The religious rites by the crown prince also symbolize prayer and meditation which are considered to be important for spiritual growth and development. The concept of family is very important in the Edo religion as evident in the worship and veneration of ancestors. The death of individuals does not end their importance as the father remains the most important individual even after death as an ancestor. The father remains the symbol of authority and power. In a similar manner, the crown prince represents the head of the entire people who are his people. Hence the crown prince must be respected and venerated by the people in order to ensure prosperity and peace in the kingdom. This ceremony should be seen in the context of the traditional and religious rituals of the Benin Kingdom.
The formal initiation is accompanied by worship to the deities so that the Oba can establish the spiritual connection with the invisible world. Prayers and meditations are part of the religious process which helps to ensure the links with the invisible world are established. The ceremony is also important in the sense that the royal throne is a trust from the deities to the Oba. The Oba is the representative of the deities as he strives to rule with justice and ensure material prosperity. He plays a key role in guiding the people through his just policies. In addition, the Oba also represents wisdom and sagacity which is crucial for ruling the kingdom. The crown prince must be able to ensure that goodness is prevalent while evil actions are reduced. A powerful connection is with the ceremony since he must be able to be on the side of good in the eternal clash with evil. The elaborate rites and rituals involve the purification and cleansing of the soul. It marks the crown prince’s acceptance of his destiny to rule the kingdom with justice and fairness. The beauty of the ceremony lies in the fact that it is an established tradition which has been dated for centuries. Each crown prince must be initiated into this ceremony in a formal manner as a means of appeasing the deities. The crown prince must act as the defender of the religious and cultural values of the kingdom. Edo religion places strong emphasis on the ruler as being the harbinger of prosperity and peace if he has the support of the deities. His Royal Highness, Benin Crown Prince, Eheneden Erediauwa will represent a positive hope for the Edo people through his skills and expertise. The ceremony fulfills the roles as the crown prince will help to bring the Benin Kingdom in order to meet the challenges of the modern world. He will act to facilitate the cultural and religious history of the kingdom so that it can preserve these sacred traditions in the twenty first century. The acumen and knowledge of the crown prince will play a positive role in the development of Benin Kingdom as it faces the new challenges.