Ofala Festival in Igbo Land – A Case Study of Ukpo Dynasty
Ofala festival celebration in igbo land is an important festival in every dynasty. Although, not all dynasty(kingdoms) are able to carry out the ofala festival due to it’s expensive preparations.
Today, is the 27th ofala of ukpo dynasty in Dunukofia local government. It is an annual festival which often remarks the day a king Ascended the throne of his kingship. Other wise know as (igu aro)
However, before the ofala day, the king stays apart from every human relationship for about four market days, or seven days depending , in a quest for spiritual powers. The ofala is consequential for Many reasons, it is in ofala that the king comes out to unleash his extravagant enriched blessings upon his subjects, after many days of purification.
More so, on the day of ofala, the subjects goes to the king to pay their respective heartful homage to the king in appreciation of his kind gestures to them. Some of the people goes with various gift depending on individuals ability as we know that all fingers are not equal. Some of the people pays their veneration in cash , or in materials like cow, goat, wrappers, drinks and so many other items,depending on individuals ability. On the other hand, those who presented a cow, were given back a goat in a heartful appreciation for their gifts. This is done to fulfilled the adage that says if the right hand washes the left hand, the left hand in return washes the right hand.
In ofala, exhibition of different cultural display are seen. Ranging from dancers like egedege (acrobatic dancers) Who displays some talented acrobatic dance in group. For instance, a dancer can stand upon the shoulders of another while at the same time another dancer can stand upon the first dancers shoulder, thus, they can continue until they can form a very tall height that could touch the sky. Again, various masquerade ranging from ijele, izaga etc are also present in ofala which also represents the spirit of the ancestors.
In this recent ofala festival held in ukpo in dunukofia local government area of Anambra state Nigerian. Some of her illustrious sons and daughters who have in one way or another distinguished themselves towards making provisions for social amenities and community development, like given scholarship to her indigenes and non indigenes were given award of chieftaincy title by the king to appreciate their respective humane efforts and kindness to man kind because charity begins at home and there is no place like home.