This is not my regular post, it was necessitated because people have been constantly reaching out to me concerning the upcoming ABA 2017 that is slated to hold later this month so I decided to share what I know about it here.
Aba is a festival that is celebrated every six years by the Anetuno people of Igarra in Akoko Edo local government, Edo state. Igarra is located in the northern part of Edo state and it’s the administrative headquarters of Akoko Edo Local government.
History has it that we migrated from Kwararafa in the Jukun Kingdom of Wukari in the present day Taraba state. After the migration, we moved to Idah, in Kogi state before settling in our present day location in Edo state. This is why we speak the same language with the Ebira people in Kogi state. There are basically five royal families in Igarra and they take turns to rule the people of Igarra.
The history of Etuno (Igarra) fondly referred to as Kukuruku hills cannot be complete without the mention of Aba festival. This festival is usually celebrated every six years in the regular calendar and seven years in Igarra calendar as a remembrance of our forefathers victory over the dwarfs. Historians are of the opinion that the present settlement of the Anetunos was inhabited by dwarfs and the head of the Igarra clan had to fight to drive the dwarfs. When these dwarfs were leaving, they left behind their drums on the hills and these drums are one of the most spectacular things about Aba festival apart from the carnival and the non-stop eating of pounded Yam and Egusi soup.
The celebration of Aba festival in Igarra marks the commencement of Irepa/Azebani title ceremony. The festival is declared opened on the third day after the ENU- Yam festival usually in the month of August. The main event which is the Irepa festival marks the graduation of the town’s (legislature, Executive and Judiciary) Age group, called the Opoze (Opa Ometere Age Group) to the highly revered councils of Elders called the Azebani. On that day, the Opoze Age group stands out uniquely amongst the crowd because they are celebrated for successfully handling the affairs of the town for the six years. These celebrants are the only ones entitled to dress in white attires on that day and they would all walk around the town ending their walk by climbing Opoporiku Hill in the community headquarters. This special day is preceded in the evening of the previous day by the shooting of ceremonial guns, first in the compound of the ODOVIDI-leader of the Age Group who must be the oldest celebrant from Eziakuta Opoporiku family by 2 pm and followed by all the other celebrants by 4 pm.
In the morning of the d-day, all celebrants cook pounded yam for members of his kindred. Assorted drinks go with the eating which could be extended till everybody is exhausted. This is later followed by the family gatherings to eat the mounds of pounded yam prepared for each family by the celebrants. By noon the celebrants dress up in complete immaculate white Agbada, white shoes and cap to match – assemble at designated places to dance to Ofumamo at Opoporiku along Somorika road, Ugbogbo. The celebrants dance and descend from where they stand to symbolize the relinquishing of their Legislative, Executive and Judicial powers and duties to their successors. This confirms the ascension of each of the other age group into the age group system of the community.
The forthcoming celebration is the 38th in the history of the peace-loving and highly amiable Igarra community. Igarra people from all walks of life, nooks, and crannies of the globe will come home either to witness or take part in it. The festival has witnessed a huge upsurge in the member of tourists attending the festival particularly the last edition, the 37th series witnessed about one hundred and fifty thousand local and international tourists.
Aba Festival is becoming a huge tourist attraction and one can only hope that someday it could become something as big and revered as the Iwude Festival, the Osun Osogbo Festival, the Argungun Fishing Festival, the Ojude Oba Festival with international recognition.
Maybe someday I’d talk about how my grandfather was buried in a grand style…. I think it’s another low key festival of my village people. ****winks***
P.S: Not a sponsored post just my opinion from all my father has taught me and personal research
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***Hugs and kisses***