Eyo festival, Lagos Nigeria.
The Eyo festival is a Yoruba festival unique to Lagos, its origins are really old and remain unclear. The earliest recorded festival was on the 20th of February 1854 to commemorate the passing of Oba Akintoye. The festival is held in honour of the Eyo deity Adamu Orisa, while escorting the spirit of the departed Oba, chief or illustrious indigene of Lagos, it is also held to usher in a new Oba.
The Eyo masquerade essentially admits tall people which is why it is called “Agogoro Eyo” meaning tall masquerade, the Eyo masquerade represents spirits visiting the earth thus it speaks in a ventriloquial voice, suggestive of its otherworldliness and when greeted it replies: “moyo fun e, moyo fun ra mi” (I rejoice for you, I rejoice for myself). Oyefolu T. Ajetunmobi.
The Eyo festival is not an annual festival it is scheduled at the discretion of the incumbent Oba who consults with traditional priest who further consults with Ifa(the oracle) for a confirmation on the date the festival should be held. Before the festival rituals and sacrifices are done to avert bad luck, tragedy or bloodshed as well as to ensure the safe procession and commuting of guests and Eyo masquerades respectively.
Today the Eyo festival carries economic, socio-cultural, and political importance in Lagos state, it attracts tourists which boosts the economy, it is a way of keeping this aspect of Yoruba( its art, clothing, and its people ) culture, particularly Lagos tradition intact, and it allows the Oba(traditional ruler) to exercise their residual power.