Festivals are important occasions that bring people together and foster cultural awareness, they are celebrated in various towns, villages across the globe to keep unity, peace and entertain the people. The Igbo’s take their festivals serious as various buses are always fully packed transporting the easterners from various places to their home towns to enjoy this seasons.
In the hustling and bustling city of Onitsha, people flock in to celebrate tons of festivals that enrich them culturally and give them the opportunity to turn up like their ancestors once did. We would be taking you through a journey of festivals in Onitsha to look forward to in the remaining part of 2019!!!
- Iwaji(The New Yam Festival)
The Iwaji festival is known to be the premier annual festival as it marks the eating of the new yam in the year, the celebration lasts for about twenty four days and is usually first performed by different sections of the communities in Onitsha before the Obi rounds it up,
In the olden days, Yam was thought to be poisonous and unsafe for consumption, so it was decided that the Obi would eat the new yam before the various communities. In accordance, the smallest clan in Onitsha known to be called IKOLO AWADA and IKPALA AWADA village opens the new yam festival(IWAJI) which takes place for two days after which it is given to IKOLO EKE and IKPALA EKE Clan for another two days respectively,
On the fifth day, the UBULU N’ UMUIKEM (The Obi Diviners) Celebrates the IWAJI, The next is the IKOLO UGWUNABAMKPA (These are men who has achieved great heroic deeds like: Killing People during the war or killing fierce animals like Tiger,Lion e.t.c)
After the IKOLO UGWUNABAMKPA comes the Great Ofala Festival, which is rounded up with the IKPALA EZE Clan IWAJI.
If you love yam and want to enjoy culture like never before, endeavor to mark the Iwaji festival on your calendar as it begins late September.
2 THE OFALA FESTIVAL
This is the spectacular public outing of HRM Obi of Onitsha in the arena of his palace before a recorded crowd of his subjects, majority of who have not seen him for the past one year. This is regarded as the acme of all Onitsha festivals.
It is also the day the Obi presents himself before his people and exchange greetings with them, this day also marks the 13th day of the ‘’IWAJI’’ Celebrations (New Yam Festival).
At the early hours of the morning, The festival begins with the usual playing of the ‘’UFIE gong”(Flute) in the Obi’s palace, signifying that all roads would lead to the palace, following this different individuals like the ‘’NDICHIE’’ chiefs dressed in their traditional regalia, women dancers, various age grades Societies, youth Clubs, ‘’OZO’’ Titled men, ‘’ODU women” and numerous other social organizations and groups in Onitsha troop to see the Obi.
On the arrival of everyone, the state drum is played for the red cap chiefs according to their rank and grade, after then the Obi emerges from the palace and makes his first appearance before his subjects, His appearance is proceeded with canon shots fired at intervals.
The Ofala celebrations is scheduled to hold on 9th,10th and 11thof October 2019.
3: GOLIBE FESTIVAL
As the name implies Rejoice, Golibe festival which started in December 2018 in the ancient city of Onitsha featured the carnival display of all Onitsha ado culture, traditions, masquerades and a whole lots of events. The festival is targeted at bringing indigenes across the globe back home to celebrate the festive period together while enjoying the cultural richness of the town, it a fun filled event designed to give or every member of the family a mind blowing experience ranging from the Golibe dreamland which is filled with loads of laughter to the friendly football tournaments amongst the different communities with the aim to foster peace and unity. Let’s just say that if you love culture, fun and unity then Golibe Festival should be your go to destination during the Christmas period.