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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Igue festival of the Binis

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Nigeria as a country is a multilingual and multicultural entity with different ethnic groups and tribes (over 300). Most of these diverse tribes have distinct languages, traditions and culture that set them apart from others.
The Oba of Benin receiving homage from his Chiefs

The Oba in his palace in Benin City, Nigeria
This is reflected in the food, costume, ceremonies and celebrations of the people, especially festivals, funerals, marriage rites among others.

A Bini bridal headgear
 In this Nigerian Heritage Series, we shall look at the festivals (and other ceremonies) among the different ethnic groups and tribes in the country as festivals are important avenues of showcasing the cultural heritage, traditions and beliefs of the people.

One of the most popular festivals in the country is the Igue festival among the Binis of Edo State, in the Niger-Delta region of the country. Usually held between December and the New Year, Igue is a celebration of 'rebirth' or 'renewal' and a form of thanksgiving for seeing the new year.


Dating back to the old Benin Empire, the festival was said to have originally celebrated to renew Oba Ewuare's the Great (1440-1473 AD) magical powers.



One of the main high points of the festival is the giving of blessings to the land and the people by the Oba (King) of Benin, Omo N’ Oba, Nedo Uku Akpolokpolo, Erediauwa 11 (present monarch).


 Igue is a colourful festival spiced with music, dance and celebration with generous use of coral beads in the costumes as can be seen from these photos.

Article by Patience Saduwa, Blog Author


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