Festivals as centrifugal forces in Iulehaland

Bookmark and Share

Last up date (October 16, 2018)

Iuleha people paid special attention to festivals as part of their socio-cultural organization. Several festivals were organized in the communities of Iuleha at different periods of the year. Our focus will be on the roles played by festivals as elements of unity in the clan. In Ereure sub-clan, the people celebrated annually the Era-Eruere, which literally means “father of Ereue”, to commemorate the ancestral figure of their progenitor. It serves as a rallying point for the people in the area. It also signaled a period of peace and tranquility, as well asprosperity for the people. However, it is instructive to note that while Eruere people had accepted to call the festival a celebration of the exploit of their ancestor, the other two sub-clans did not refer to the festival as such. This could possibly shed light on the position earlier canvassed in favour of Ogbomo that the three sub-clans might have had different parents.

The Okpuje sub-clan celebrated different festivals, but that of Okpuje-ro was the most prominent by 2000. Like Era-Ereure, the people of Okpuje referred to the Okpujero as a celebration meant to celebrate their ancestor. For this reason, it was celebrated every year and restricted to male members of society. Unlike the Obazu Festival, females were free to watch Okpuje-ro, but were restricted in certain aspects of the festival. They could also dance to the music of the festival and assist the male folk in entertaining visitors to the festivals. It was a sort of tourist attraction to the people and largely helped to unite the various communities of Okpuje.

The people of Aoma had Obazu as their festival of unity. As earlier explained, it was celebrated in honour of the legendary Obazua. The festival attracted males from both within and outside Iuleha clan. Unlike the Okpuje-ro, it was celebrated in each community of Aoma but initiates could visit their counterparts in other communities of Aoma during the festival, provided such arrangements did not expose them to females.
At the community levels, festivals were also organized to reflect the unity of the people. For instance, the people of Ikpeyan in Okpuje had their on Okodiyen Festival,which helped to unite the people. Uzebba people occasionally celebrated the Okhirare, to mark the memory of their victory during intra-tribal wars. The irregular nature of the celebration indicated the intrusion of colonialism on the culture of the people. There is every indication that the festival could extinct in the nearest future.

Both Oghare and Iovbode represented the biggest festivals that helped to unite both the male and female members of the Iuleha clan. Male members of the clan celebrated the Oghare every four years. On the other hand, Iovbode embraced both male and female members of the clan and took place every four years, precisely every leap year. Both festivals were celebrated to commemorate attainment of manhood. They also served as initiation ceremonies. Each community celebrated its own but it was normally between October and December, beginning with Avbiosi and ending with Okpuje

Centrifugal forces were sine qua non in inter-group relations in Iulehaland. This work has demonstrated that market rings, ancestral figures and festivals were vital centrifugal forces in the socio-cultural and political organizations of the people of the clan. The work revealed that the various communities were connected in one way or another by the operation of market rings, beliefs in ancestral figures and organization of festivals. These elements were important in the growth and development of the historical consciousness of the people with respects to peaceful interactions and integration in the area and helped to distinguish them from other non – Iuleha clans in Owan.

In addition, the present effort has shed light on the personality of Irimo as a centrifugal force in the unity of Iuleha communities as well as playing a vital role in the tradition of origin of the people. The work examined the assertion that Irimo was the founder of Iuleha clan and spiritual head of all socio-cultural and political arrangements in the area. In all, it should be noted that certain socio-cultural symbols such as ancestral figures, market rings and festivals helped to unite the people of Iuleha and made them unique from their neighbours. They also served as a way of preserving the rich cultural heritage of the people.

Comment Box is loading comments...