In every society, there are special occasions when people come together to celebrate important events, the events may be secular or religious. Celebrating these events is known as festival is marked by public enjoyment or religious ceremonies. In the whole of West Africa, festivals are observed by adherents of traditional religions, marking important social and religious events in the lives of the people and they result in a series of performances, entertainment, merry-making, rites and ceremonies.
Also See: 10 Most Popular Festival In Nigeria
The Boat Regatta:
The origin of this festival is enshrined in traditions; one account suggests that it evolved in Lagos in commemoration of Benin’s successful invasion and colonization of Lagos; They also have belief in the sea goddess-Olokun who is believed to contribute to their economic prosperity in fishing. Another view is that the festival came to being to commemorate the re-enactment of the return of Ashipa who carried the dead body of Aseru to Benin, thus, he returned to Lagos graciously with Benin paraphernalia of office and some other lieutenants in canoes. The festival is celebrated annually in most of the river side areas of the State. It is associated with rowing and sailing in canoes.
The Efe and Gelede:
These festivals are celebrated together. Efe is usually staged in the middle of the night preceding the Gelede in the morning; the activities that dominate Efe are the recitation of past historical phenomena belonging to a family, lineage or a community. This public display of recounting events always contain information about physical or moral weaknesses of an individual, group or
community, genealogical history is used to reprimand an individual or group as deterrent against all forms of anti social behavior. Gelede on its own is essentially a women’s cult.
The Yoruba also call it ashura. The belief attached to these festivals has two cultural values; the arrival of their ancestors in Epe and the pride of place that the ‘boat’ enjoys as a means of transportation and safety to and from Epe. Kayo-Kayo festival is marked with the following activities: special prayers for peace and political stability held at Central mosque and the Oba’s palace. This place has become a tourist center in Epe, Government officials are invited to add color to the event and help with fundraising. Each year the festival further
attempts to be relevant to modern life, innovations are brought to the festival every
year and indigenous Epe continue to identify with the festival as their own.