A Review Of The 2020 Edition Of Ede Aro Festival In Abagana
Abagana is a beautiful town in igbo land, at the south Eastern Nigeria. It is a great town of nine villages
A town that is naturally situated at the heart of Anambra state across the great silver Niger Bridge. The sun set is always golden yellowish rays which falls directly upon Abagana because it is situated upon a hill. Driving from her neighboring villages of Nimo you can observe this hill, the same thing when driving from Enugu-Agidi.
Now, the popular festival held in Abagana are New Yam, Ofara (king’s feast) and Ede aroh: Ede Aroh is a traditional festival of a deity called “Aroh” it is always celebrated annually. On the spot of Ede Aro festival held in Orofia Abagana, Fanzy onyeAbagana a young man of about a score and ten years voiced out his happiness over the celebration of the festival. “The celebration was to have fun and joy, eating of the Ede (cocoyam) brings out unity and brotherhood among each other says “fanzy”.
Each of the young men held a long sizable brown cane singing and jubilating around the village square. Then each other either in twos or groups depending.
Nwa D. C one of the celebrants voiced that the “flogging exercise was to get rid of some misfortune, evils, sadness and immaturity”However, the event began with Ayaka night on 26th Dec. 2017 which was to inform everyone about the coming Ede aro festival. The Ayaka is a masquerade which has the incarnate of the ancestors, it goes around at the mid- night to the various houses of the Aro’s believers to have a Spiritual communion with the living in other to remind them of the presences of (Aro) the deity among them and at same time reminds them of Ede Aro festival event.
In this year festival event of the Ede aro, pagan women goes out to offer their yearly harvest of cocoyam to pay tribute to the goddess. Most of the old men and young men took white rams or cock to the shrine of the Aro, either to plead for her benevolence gestures,or to thank the goddess for her benevolence gestures on them.
Both the pagan men and masquerade goes out to offer yams, cocks to the deity and then mark their fore heads with some sacred white chalk called (Nzu) which signifies purity and their total loyalty and faithfulness to her.
However, little group of boys who have interests or who came from pagan family were initiated into the masquerade cult to mark their new membership into the men folk and masquerade cult. The ceremony of initiation gives them sense of masculine pride among women and other little boys that have not gone through the initiation. It also give them the gut to participate among any masquerade after the initiation of both big and small masquerade. Each participant that came for initiation ceremony at the mid- night must present some fee called [ukwa mmoo] and the participant have to challenge a masquerade in a battle or wrestling contest in other to taste the masculine valor of the participant. If the participant contested and throw the masquerade on the ground, the participant is said to be successful and possess a bold spirit of valor. But if the participant runs away he is said to be a coward and a failure.