The Nwafor Festival

The Nwafor Festival


I come from Ogidi in Idemili North local government area in Anambra State. A very popular festival in my town is the Nwafor Festival. The Nwafor Festival is celebrated to culminate the end of the planting season which is usually held in July of every year. The festival takes its name from Afor which means Friday that marks the first day of the festival after which it continues for 10 days. 

The festival is compulsory for every Ogidi-born irrespective of where they reside. It is expected that every indigene of the community come to take part in the festival. Hence, many people from different places come to celebrate the festival, and those who cannot due to constraints of distance, rather send word home by sending money or materials to support those in Ogidi to celebrate the festival .

On the eve of the feast, Orie, harmless masquerades, dance around the community to set the tone for the festival . There is a rich display of different masquerade attires by different masquerade groups with each group being accompanied by young boys. This is accompanied by plays such as fighting contests by different masquerade groups in a harmless way to entertain the people. Next, young boys between nine to eleven years of age are initiated into Ikpoani, the masquerade clan by special shrine heads at Uno Umo which is officiated by the oldest man in the community. The induction is a sign that they have attained manhood and are indeed indigent of Ogidi. This traditional rite would enable them to partake in meetings held with older members of the family.

The main highlight of the Nwafor Festival is worship to show gratitude for a good planting season done on Sunday. While this is a traditional festival, people who have identified themselves as Christians also partake in the festival which Ohaeto (2007) believed made the festival survive despite the advent of Christianity by the colonial masters. They however choose to go to church to offer thanksgiving for a favorable planting season while the custodians of the traditions go to the shrine to offer sacrifices. The traditional worshippers thank their gods for the successful farming season and pray for the rain to come to an end 

In the days that follow till the end of the festival, masquerades parade the community dancing, people set up canopies in front of their homes and receive visitors from other towns and villages. It is generally a time of funfair, a lot of eating, drinking, dancing, and celebrations. It is worthy of note that no other event is allowed to hold within this period such as burials and wedding ceremonies 

Post a Comment