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Top 3 Enugu Masquerade Festivals

When it comes to Masquerades and festivals and how they are celebrated, The South Eastern people can proudly boast of still retaining that culture till date. This isn’t about just keeping up with the times but also preserving culture and if Enugu isn’t a place to be during these celebratory times, we don’t know where else you would like to be.

“Mmawu” is the Igbo name for masquerades and this festival is an occasion that happens annually between the months of October and November. For some states, they hold around December too. The event for different places has a different interpretation of why it’s being held. Legend has it that the event is being held at some communities for communication between the people and their ancestors. It is a way of communicating with them and inviting them to be a part of the festival.

It is said that the spirits of the ancestors are invoked, and they possess the carrier of these said masquerades. Masquerades in different Eastern states serve different purposes and as for Enugu State, they serve as both cultural entertainment and police enforcement tools.

So, without much ado, let us look at 3 of the biggest Enugu Masquerade festivals in Enugu, and we do hope that by the end of this article, you’ll make some time to visit Enugu – at least, get some experience. We can assure you that the masquerades won’t flog you. Wink.

1. Ekpe Masquerade Festival (Oruku)

Ekpe Masquerade Festival Oruku

The Oruku community, which is located in Enugu state’s Nkanu-East Local Government Area, is heavily active in cultural events and customs. Among other traditional celebrations, the noble people of Oruku participate in the Ekpe masquerade. Each Ekpe masquerade has a different performance and comes in a variety of sizes and patterns. The Ekpe masquerade is notable for several reasons, one of which is that it always wears a little bell around its waist to signal drivers to make room and people for its presence.

Before the start of every masquerade ceremony, there are always incredible cries from initiated young men signaling the approaching Ekpe masquerade. These shouts are typically accustomed to the terrifying Aguodo sounds that drive people away and cause them to turn out any lights. Women are currently prohibited from cooking after the Aguode sounds in the evening. To avoid becoming hungry till the next morning, it is preferable for them to prepare meals in advance.

The majority of participants in the Ekpe masquerade come from Ohuani Oruku. The Omaba cultural event is heavily attended by other communities like Isienu, Obinagu, Ama-eke, and Eziobodo.

2. Odo festival

The Udi L.G.A. clans – Ngwo and Ojebe Ogene celebrate the Odo festival. The celebration is observed by paying homage to ancestor spirits. The festival usually takes place in the month of October. The celebrations typically include a large feast, drinking, and the display of the Odo masquerades. People return to their kits and kings to celebrate the holiday, which serves as a chance for family members to get together.

3. Omabe Festival

The Omabe Festival

The Omabe Festival is a unique form of celebration that occurs every five years as opposed to the majority of festivals, which are held annually. The celebration is cherished by the residents of the Imufu community in the NSUKKA zone of Ezike, Enugu State.

The Imufu people value the celebration greatly, since it served as a symbol of communal purification from evil and has been around for many years. The community has multiple masquerades, some of which include obele monwu, Oshagenyi, Eji mukwu monwu, Ajulaka, Agbe-Eji, Ajija, Agelle,  eshiwe, obele monwu, Oshagenyi, Eji and so many others. 

It is believed that the masquerade bearer serves as the spiritual intermediary, and the masquerade, when it emerges, purges the community.

If you are a lover of history and cultural values, then we’re glad you must’ve found this article helpful. Also, you should visit sometime and be a part of the masquerade experience.

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