Ancient Benin Kingdom & Edo State
 
Where Modernity And Tradition Meets In perfect Harmony
   
 
(Benin City Nigeria Local Time)
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ADU-IKUKUA FESTIVAL

In Etsako there are several traditional festival which the people celebrate annually or biennially to commemorate certain historical events of cultural importance. Some of them are celebrated to mark the beginning and the end of the local seasons.

The Adu-Ikukun festival is celebrated by the people of Avianwu clan of Etsako. The clan consists of Fugar. Irakhor, Ogbona, Iviarun and Ivinone villages and to them the festival is of great significance. It is celebrated during the months of February and March to signify the start of the year.

As soon as the festival occasion draws near the various villages in Avianwu begin to organize ‘clean up campaigns’. The English translation of Adu-Ikukua is to (throw away dirty) hence a clean- up campaign of all the surrounding in the area is organized.

Bush and weed around the compounds are cleared and the nook and corner of the rooms in all the houses are rendered dirt- free. During this time, the broom is noticeably regular companion of the women folk while the men folk keep vigilant eyes over the surrounding areas with matches well sharpened to nip the stubborn weeds in the bud

Children are not usually left out in the ‘clean-up’ exercise. They are often engaged in washing the cooking pot, chairs, stools, cloths and other household utensils.

While the clean-up activities are going on, other interesting consultation and meeting are carried out behind the scenes. For example love bonds are negotiated between potential couples, long standing disputes among families and friends are settled.

According to the tradition of the people, the Ado-Ikukun festival was instituted by their forefathers, not only to mark the beginning of the year but also to serve as a period of purifying the community and pacifying any warring faction in the clan.

Nobody has ever dared to question other related facts about this great festival of the people, to do so is heretic and may result in a mishap.

As every member of the community is satisfied with the ideals which the festival is out to propagate everything is always done to make the annual occasion a huge success. On the eve of the festival various traditional dances are staged. The village praise singles make every effort to link all the remarkable events of the past year with stories of the local heroes and heroines. People who want to refresh their memories of the happy and sad events of the ‘dying’ year gather round in group and listen with fervid interest.

The Adu-Ikukun day ceremonies are officially declared open with gun shots from the elders in each of the village that make up the clans. The New Year greetings are said in Etsako thus:
Onotse Onotse:Ofe Ofe lo;
Chorus:Mha du ikuebe la kua.
The English   translation is;
‘Happy happy tiding of the season,
It is all good luck to us all’
Chorus: We have thrown away all the dirt in our community.