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Introducing Ebira Culture and Tradition
THE WORD EBIRA denotes the overt manifestation of a beneficent destiny, and is used of the language and way of life, as well as approved modes of behaviour, of people, an’ebira, ‘inhabitants of Ebira’ (Ebira people), living in communities to the southwest of the Niger-Benue confluence, in inline et’ebira, ‘Ebira land’. This essay is concerned with the views of Ebira people about the rich culture and tradition we are forgetting soon, I am very proud to say that seeing the pictures online and in museums gave me Goosebumps, I love writing about Ebira culture, traditions and history a whole lot, and I think seeing this photos will make you love Ebira Culture even more.
Ebira Culture and Tradition is so cool but some people looked at EKU Oime (masquerading) as religion, well, as for me when I see masquerade; I see a tradition totally misunderstood, mis-practiced with no coordination. Ebira Culture and Tradition is so rich that I can tell you for free that, it’s a part of our identity that needs studying and investment.
The Pictures I will be sharing with you today are pictures taken in 1968 by a scholar named JOHN PICTON, Department of Art and Archaeology, School of Oriental and African Studies University of London, London WC1 OXG, United Kingdom. Courtesy of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Nigeria.
Consulting Eku Oba
The First Picture is a picture of a woman consulting aneku Oba, the embodiment of a deceased ancestor, Oboroke, Ihima district, during the annual cycle of rites marking the transition from one year to the next, November 1968.
Chieftaincy Celebration in Ebiraland
The eldest daughter of Yusuf Onoko dressed for a procession celebrating her father’s taking of a title, July 1967, Kuroko, Adavi district. She wears a man’s cap, and holds a staff inherited by her father and covered in the blood of sacrifice. In everyday circumstances cross-dressing is not done, and it would be damaging for her even to touch that staff.
The sister and daughter of a deceased titled man at Ege, Adavi district, going home after a post-burial commemoration, July 1968. Under normal circumstances wearing an elder’s red hat, and having contact with the magical buffalo tail and nightjar feathers, emblematic of the liminal status of titled men, would be forbidden and damaging.
Eny’ohu, “the things of the market,” put together for the commemorative processions of deceased women. Here, it was prepared in honour of the mother of Sule Otu, a singer, for display at his annual performance at Okene, the administrative centre of Ebira, November 1969.
Enyohu is a compound noun composed as follows: ęnya + ohuEbira Language
A newly installed incumbent of the Adeika title at Ogaminana, Adavi district, June 1969, seated with the Onoku chosen to guide him at the celebrations in his honour. He holds the magic buffalo tail and wears the red cap with nightjar feathers, emblematic of his status, she the calabash rattle and white cloth emblematic of hers.
Onoku in Ebiraland
Aneganyi of Kuroko, Adavi district, an Onoku, i. e., one of that group of women initiated into masking affairs. For the photograph she is dressed in the white cloth, with red and white feathers at her left temple, proper to her status.
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Credits: ON (MEN?) PLACING WOMEN IN EBIRA