Egungun Festival- Nigeria
The Egungun festival is an annual celebration amongst the Yoruba groups found mainly in the South Western parts of Nigeria. The Egungun festival kicks off in November every year and ends in April before the annual rains set in.
The festival is a celebration of the life of important personalities in society who have passed away during the year.
‘Egungun’ is a Yoruba word that refers to masqueraders that raid the street during the festival, dancing to the tune of expert drummers.
It is believed that the masqueraders are chosen by the gods, who give them special powers of communicating with the dead and pleasing the ancestors. This means that not anyone can dress as a masquerader and indulge in the traditional dance during the Egungun festival.
The festival is marked to give assurance to the dead that they are remembered and still have a place in the land of the living. The festival can be a spectacle to witness as the Egungun are dressed in elaborate and colourful masks and costumes and dance to traditional Yoruba drumming and singing.
The parade is led by the Chief Priest who invokes the spirits.