Essay on Agogoro Eyo Festival in Lagos, Nigeria

4143 Words Oct 22nd, 2012 17 Pages
By: Alaba kehinde
The word Eyo also refers to the costumed dancers, known as the masquerade, that come out during the festival. The origins of this observance are found in the inner workings of the secret societies in lagos. It is widely believed that the play is one of the manifestations of the customary African revelry that serves as the forunner of the modern carnival in Brazil. On Eyo day, the mainhighway in the heart of the city (from the end of carter bridge to tinubu square) is closed to traffic, allowing for procession from Idumota to the Iga Idunganran palace. The white-clad Eyo masquerade represent the spirits of the dead, and are referred to in
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It is also known to posses the power to bless barren women and help them to conceive. Many people looked forward to touching and being touched by the Orisha. This was possible at the time as it is important to note, that the Eyos did not then accompany the Orisha Adimu.
The Adimu Orisha was said to carry an extraordinary headgear which by tradition must not touch the ground. It was in protection of both this headgear and the Orisha that the then Oba of Lagos directed that body guards armed with staffs should assist and protect the Orisha from the crowds that eagerly wanted to see and touch the Orisha. The staffs carried by the body guards were called Opambata and the bodyguards were called Eyos. Whilst the Orisha originated from Benin, the Eyos in their present form originated from Lagos and their staffs were carved solely from a peculiar palm tree only found in the Lagos vicinity. The Eyo bless spectators with their Opambatas which have inscriptions that at times correspond to some insignia such as E ji Ogbe and O ye ku of the traditional ifa oracle in Yoruba land. There are never curses inscribed on the Opa, only blessings.
Orisha Adimu and Eyo Adimu are very peaceful, however, once in a while, the Orisha will say. “ija si oro o” to which her Eyos respond “Ogunye” which is a notification for all to clear the area as the Eyo Adimu react fairly

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