BEHIND THE OPOTO FESTIVAL

The production of this painting is to enable the society to know and understand the positive effects and the needs the Opoto festival in Enugu Agidi Village. The Opoto festival which is been held every third months of the year march plays a very vital role in Enugu- Agidi.

The Opoto festival belongs to an Igbo group in Southeastern Nigerian called Enugwu- Agidi it is at the center of Awka and Onitsha in Anambra state. The people are known for farming because of their fertile land. Then also, they are known for timber trading because of the think rain forest that surrounds them.

Enugu – Agidi has so many festival which are known for its significant but the main cultural festival celebrated by Enugu Agidi in “Opoto Festival” Opoto festival is a celebration which is one every third month of the year ie March. This festival is annual done to bring all the people of Enugwu- Agidi people from far and wide together to that the gods of land and ancestors for keeping them throughout the past years and also for the new farming season which they are about to begin “Opoto” is a festival which after the celebration, anybody can now start to cultivate yam and if at all anybody live old yam in his farm it is entitled to anybody who comes across it.

The celebration starts which the chief priest of “Eke” (Eke Eke) made some consultation with the gods in which he asks when they want to have festival has been fixed and it must be “Eke” which is the day of the market in Enugwu- Agidi, the festival lasts for four days.

OTHER TRADITIONAL ACTIVITIES THAT TAKES PLACE AT THE OPOTO FESTIVAL;

⦁ INCORPORATION OF BOYS INTO AGE GROUP


Opoto is also meant to known the man that are men which means it is when method are being tested this is done by the boys which are of certain age grade to show who it is the king among them. They display some masquerade’s (Iga) which is known for (Ipa agba) this will be done when music from “Ufo” is being played.

This practice is still wide spread among the Igbos and is still being practiced since they prefer it to western education.

There are several other strange cultural practices among the proud, hardworking and noble Igbo people;

⦁ CIRCUMCISION OF FEMALE GENDER;


The issue of female circumcision ranks high as one of the many cases of domestic violence in Igboland. Otherwise known as female genital mutilation, female circumcision is seen as a sure cure for sexual promiscuity among women. However, ancient folklore reveals how female genital mutilation helps to ward off certain kinds of diseases in women in the olden times.

Though considered as barbaric, the hygienic potentials of female circumcision commend it to successive generations of Igbo families. The superstitious impetus of female circumcision could not be lost on anyone who desires a deep knowledge of the practice in Igboland. It is believed that women who are not circumcised make love to spirits in their sleep who, in turn, cause unhealthy appetite for sexual intercourse. It is also said that such women give birth to Ogbanje (Abiku). With such unwholesome tales, out of fear and possible stigmatization, most mothers make sure that they circumcised their daughters.

Circumcision is done to arrest the interest and arousal for sex by the womenfolk and to avoid giving birth to children who would live for short periods of time, die and come back to their mothers’ womb only to be born and continue the cycle, bringing grief and pain to the family.

Women who are circumcised are known to find it hard to experience orgasm during sexual intercourse, a situation that leads to marital disharmony and frustration. The practice has been seen as a source of a lot of health hazards.

⦁ BODY MARKING OF CHILDREN


Igbo tribe is definitely one of the biggest tribes in the whole Africa. Of course, this ethnic group has to distinguish itself from other communities. That is why it uses different tribal marks in Nigeria. Here are the main reasons for tribal identification through marks and scarification: Parents wish their kids to be identified as Igbo tribe members from birth. Marks are added temporarily for spiritual reasons, for festivals and celebrations. Scarification or marks are meant to beautify tribe members. Marks and scars can be used to distinguish between royal and free children.

Getting this scar is painful and meant to test male courage (children and adults were not allowed to make a sound), because the skin was cut out with a knife with no medications given to the tribe member and often such procedures could last for over an hour. It took wounds much time to heal, and the scars stay with their owner until the end of his life.

The reason or significant of celebrating Opoto” Festival in Enugwu- Agidi are so many but the main ories to mark beginning of the farming season in which the gods of the land are appeased for keeping them to see and also to beg the gods of the land to give them more beautiful harvest farming season. This is done by making many sacrifices to the god of the ;land before this festival commences. It is the chief priest of Eke od that announce the date of the festival which he always know by the reading the of the moon and consultation of the god on when they want the festival to take place.

In conclusion, The music played the last day is known as “Abia” and no woman dances to its melody. If done, it is known as sacrilege and some sacrilege here to be done appease the gods on behalf of the festival.

The masquerade has many costume that is made to make up the masquerade for example cawry, beads, Uvugwu Nza (Nama fail) Elephant tusk and masks. Some masquerade, however, do not employ masks or headpiece but there peaces is headen by the costume in which pig-nut beads or skin. Some masks are carved to represent the human faces while other slow rotesane features of criminals features like here in Enugu Ojonu, Okwonma, Izaga

Suffice to say that while these practices could be interesting, it is sometimes not advantageous to those bearing the brunt.

This article will help to attract every reader to the village at least to witness the event and the event and festival for once. The work also is to tell people how entertaining the festival could be because of its dramatic nature.

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