Category: Festival


Historical Festival

Edo state has a rich tradition of festivals and masquerades through which the people either appease the various gods and goddesses, purification of both the land and individual celebrant, initiate men or women into age-grades or as a traditional get-together. More than one hundred major festivals are celebrated in the state between September and March every year. Those celebrations offer opportunities for reunions of members of the family and friends; it also gives opportunities to visitors to see and feel the rich cultural heritage of the state.


The Igue festival takes the pre-eminence among festivals celebrated in the state. The most colourful and paramount importance to the people of Benin is celebrated every December by the reigning Oba and his subjects to marks the end of Benin’s year and to usher in the new year and as a thanksgiving for the outgoing one. The Igue festival attracts visitors from across Nigeria and abroad, this is celebrated annually during the ancient time in September. Oba Akenzua II moved it to December to coincide with other series of festivals. No one can say the exact date or when it began. But tradition says that when the ancient Benin man became conscious of his creator and his success in his undertaking, he thanks his head and god. He believed that his head led him through the successful adventures of the year. When Oba Ewuare The great {1440-1473} came to the throne, he made much innovation into Igue festival because of the terrible experience he had in his early life, before he was crowned the Oba of Benin

Most of the Festivals have yearly cycles and are open to general viewing and sometimes, participation some other like the Obazu festival held among the Aomas of luleha in Owan West Local Government Area the state is strictly restricted to the men folks.

 Among the EsanUkpe Festival holds annually between December and January in Ewossa, Ewohimi, Ewatto, Ebelle and Ogwa. It is celebrated to appease the gods to bring prosperity.


In Ihievbe, Owan Local Government Area, Iko Festival is held from November to February to initiate girls into womanhood. In Ozalla, Ivbamen festival is held in April to initiate boys into manhood; similarly, Irhua is celebrated in Auchi, every two years to initiate youths into manhood. The masquerades in Edo state are generally believed to be the earthly representative of some celestial gods, goddesses or ancestors. Masquerades like the Igbabonelimi of Esanland are very popular social entertainers whose secrets and working are only known to initiates who are sworn to the utmost secrecy. Many masquerades are linked to traditional festivals, while others are merely social and have no ritualistic backgrounds or undertones.


Cultural Heritage

Written By Ademola Iyi Eweka

Edegbake/Oghodoghodo caves

Those two caves are located near Fugar in Etsako Central Local Government Area. They are prehistoric and are believed to have been the bode of a community of early men. Edegbake, the smaller of the two, can conveniently accommodate 50 persons while Oghodoghodo has a capacity for 200 persons. A slow-flowing stream runs through Edegbake and there is the prospect for amateur fishing, excursions and more.


The giant footprint of Ukhuse Oke

Located in a sacred grove between Ukhuse-oke and Ukhuseosi in lulehe clan of Owan west local government area, very distinct footprints of a prehistoric giant are permanently embedded on the flat granite rocks it is believed that the footprints were made when the world was still in its molten state. It presents a challenge for archaeologists and anthropologist.


The animal footprint of Ivbiodohen

Footprints of various species of animals are embedded a flat granite stab that confounds all imaginations. Legend has it that the footprints were imprinted during the formative stages of the planet earth.

The footprints are very detailed and like the ones in Ukhuse Oke, will require an extensive archaeological or anthological research. Ivbiodohen


The Ede or Anagwu Caves

These caves also know in the local parlance as Igodo, are located in the heartland of Edegbe village, which lies between Ivioghe and Iviukwe towns in Etsako East Local Government Area. The Anagwa stream flows through the basement of the caves. The caves play a significant role in the initiation rituals for the age-grade members of the community.