ILA-OSO FESTIVAL OF AMIYI AHABA VILLAGE

ILA-OSO FESTIVAL OF AMIYI AHABA VILLAGE

 



               ILA-OSO FESTIVAL OF AMIYI AHABA VILLAGE

Culture conotes the totality of the way of life of members in a society. It encompasses material and non material expressions as means through which it's being communicated. It consist of lifestyle, music, art festivals and so on. festivals being part of culture is a series of performance or activities observed Once in a year.

Ila-oso is a yearly festival celebrated by the people of Amiyi ahaba in isuikwato local Government area of Abia state. The name is a combination of two terms 'ila' and 'oso'. In Igbo 'ila' means 'to go' return or go back to one's home. While 'oso' means 'run' or move fast or speedingly. Hence, ila-oso to the people of Amiyi Ahaba means a speedy movement or procession undertaken by all the males of Amiyi visiting their Ihenzu brother community. This act would in turn be reciprocated by the brother community depicting solidarity, unity, love and brotherhood. This festival reminds each community that they're welcome to seek refuge and safety whenever danger or threat arises.

The people of Amiyi uses the festival to express their happiness of seeing the last month and season in the year and it serves as hope for them to enter the new season with joy and peace. The festival is also used to initiate upcoming youths into adulthood. The newly initiated groups are inducted to defend the community for five years which after, they will be welcomed into the mainstream of the community politics.

To the people of Amiyi Ahaba, ila-oso celebration is the last festival of the year; though the date of the festival remains uncertain. Researchers claim the celebration is as old as the existence of Amiyi as a people. It is a celebration for all male children who will dress with a piece of cloth round their waists, tie another piece on their necks and paint their faces and bodies with white chalk or powder then file out in a pleasant procession to 'Ihenzu' which is another neigbouring village that is about five kilometers from Amiyi. It is located immediately after Ehuma along Umuahia road.

Before moving out for the Ila-oso procession, the elders pray for the people and their safety. After the prayers,the little male children will file out first according to their ages and sizes, followed by other males according to their age grades and other ranks and files.

As the procession approach their brother community, they are welcomed at the village square with songs and dances to express their joy. Ihenzu which is the host community then offers the procession from Amiyi Ahaba different kinds of wine especially palm wine which the visiting convoy would take back to the Amiyi community. Before going back to their community, the elders and leaders of the host community will make available a very big bowl of palm wine and keep one cup on top of it. At their return from Ihenzu, everybody will drink with the same cup and from the same bowl. This symbolizes communion between both communities, show of love and a proof that their hearts are clean towards one another.

 After the drinking, the people of Amiyi Ahaba joyfully return to their houses for further celebtation. The women would cook delicious meals to welcome other guests just to express their joy that their sons have grown into adulthood.

 Ila-oso celebration is for two reasons which are to show solidarity within themselves and brothers at Ihenzu and also a show of force to warn external aggressors.The elders use the opportunity to pray for the good and peace of the community. They also use it to reinforce morals, solidarity and bond of unity in the communities.

 

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