EYO FESTIVAL DATED 20TH OF MAY 2017
Eyo festival has come and gone, the festival was holds in commemorative with the lagos celeberation at 50 and also in the honor of the late king of Ikate land Oba Yekini Adeniyi Elegushi, Kusenla ll, of Ikate Kingdom. The event was hosted at the Tafawa Balewa Square( TBS) Lagos Island.The event was witnessed by Oba of Lagos Oba Akiolu,the lagos state governor gov. Akinwunmi Ambode his deputy with the other government officials and some important dignitries in the state, while tourist are not left over. Lagosians troop in, in multitudes to witness the fesival despite the heavy downpour in this very day.
HISTORY BEHIND EYO FESTIVAL
One of the Lagos chief brought eyo festival to Lagos from Benin Kingdom. It started in 1852 to celeberate one of the Lagos chief, chief Dosunmu Ashogbon. The Eyo Festival also called the Adamu Orisa play,is a cultural display held in commemoration of the passing of an Oba,or a well respected and admired Lagosian chieftancy houses or families known as Igas; the 5 major ones are EYO ADIMU (Adimu), EYO OKOLABA(Laba), EYO ONIKO(Oniko), EYO OLOGEDE (Ologede) and EYO ALAGERE (Agere). There are about 70 Eyo groups in Lagos and the junior Eyo’s pay due respect to the Big five. For instance,by giving them the right of way,and by lowering their OPA in recognition of their higher authority.
The Oba of lagos has the final authority on all rituals, rites and cultural displays performed in Lagos and as such,a request is made to him,for the Eyo play to be staged. Once consultations between him and other stakeholders have been made,the daye of the festival is fixed and all the eyo houses begin to make preparations. One week to this date,each of the big five Eyo groups or houses visit a number of dignitaries and institutions. This is when the OPA is first seen in public as they go visiting with their OPA or staff,to communicate the reasons for the staging of the play and its importance. This is called K’OPAJADE and is done in the hierarchical order of the Eyo groups, ending with visit to the governor of lagos state.
Celebrations begin the day before the festival commences with the building of the “Para” by EYOLABA, at Enu Owa in central Lagos.”Para” is a raffia and mat enclosed tent erected to perform some of the rites, which declare the festival open. The other Eyo groups inspect it and large numbers of people also gather at the entrance of the Oba’s palace for the rites to clean out evil and usher in peace and prosperity. The Eyo Adimu are the paramount Eyo group and around midnight, the deity Adamu Orisa leaves the “para” to pay homage to the king amongst others. This event signals the opening of the festival. The festival begins as early as 5am with the wake-up drumming of the Gbedu and Koranga; these are beaten only during the Eyo festival.
The Eyo groups begin their procession first to the “Para”, and then to the Oba’s Palace, areound Lagos Island, through Tinubu Square and Idumota, and end up where dignitries and guests would be waiting. The day is characterized by a theatrical performance of dancing,drumming and singing of the colurful Eyo groups through the streets of Lagos, and as they proceed, their AROPALE symbolically sweeps away evil, diseases and death from the Lagos streets. As the crowd greet the Eyo’s, they respond with “ Mo yo fun e, mo yo fun’ra mi” which means “ I rejoice with you and I rejoice for myself”. Eyo would often tap members of the public with the Opa, to pronounce a blessing or to chastise in correction of a mis-step.
Once the procession is over the eyo’s return to the ‘Para’ at sunset, where they will receive instructons to break the “para” down. This signifies the end of that edition of the festival.
THE DO’S AND DON’TS OF EYO:
1. Members of the public must remove their shoes, caps or headties in the presence of Eyo.
2. Cigarettes, Cigars and pipes must be put away.
3. Members of the public must fold their umbrella if they are carrying them
4. Members of the public must dismount their bicycles, and clear to the side of the road.
5. Members o the public are not allowed to establish Eyo groups without the express consent and authority of the Oba of Lagos, The Council of the Adamu Orisa play, the elders of the Adimu cult and the chief Akinshiku of Lagos
If you therefore, coincidentally find yourself amist Eyo during this festive period in Lagos don’t esitate to abide with the do’s and don’t.
NOTICE!Coming up soon update on Lagos celebration at 50 concert. A concert organised for Lagosians and tourist which hold at the water front, Bar Beach Victorial Island Lagos on the 28th of May 2017.