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Traditional Masquerades In Ebiraland



Traditionally, masquerade festivals are believed to be a cult that is an exclusive right of male folk in Ebira land. This is because women are believed to have supernatural powers that permit them to manifest in different forms especially at the night. There are about eight prominent masquerades in the cult. Insight on Traditional Masquerades In Ebiraland.

These are Eku’rahu, Eku’ahete, Eku’okise, Eku’echichi, Eku’oba, Eku’ububa, Eku’ahere and Eku’uba. Eku’rahu features during the night performance of Ekuechi, Ebe, Okehi and Otu festivals.

It can also perform at the funeral ceremonies of a deceased male elder to ‘transport’ him to the transitional void, and to embody the spirit of the dead for a gentle repose of his soul in the world beyond before transmigrating into an ancestral figure. This performance also takes place at night.

Eku’ahete ensures a safe and free passage in the ancestral visits to earth during the Ekuechi festival. Eku’okise proclaims divine messages from God and prophesies to the people with clairvoyance, featuring in both Ekuechi and Echane festivals.

Eku’echichi is performed fully masked during the Echane festival, which is mainly a broad daylight affair with active women involvement in the general celebrative format but not in the core performance rituals. Eku’echichi also performs in Ekuechi festival as Agadagidi.

The performers are now referred to as Agadagidis because they do not don their full costumes and often do not mask. They chase people around and playfully flog them. Sometimes, some men offer themselves to be flogged to test and exhibit their manly valor.

Akatapa, a jester masquerade with a caustic tongue would mock the Agadagidi and other spectators. Eku’oba does not feature in Ekuechi or any festival. It announces the masking season is also performed in some core traditional funeral rites and to commemorate deceased male elders of high traditional standing as the Ohinoyi (the traditional political head of Ebira people), The Otarus, Ohindasi, Ozumi, the Obobanyi.