Thursday, 30 June 2016

OSA ELEYE (IYA MI OSORONGA)

Spirit of the mothers (they are not Orishas)
Great mother witch. The witches. They are several entities gathered in the same term; sacrifices must be constantly made to the witches. They are in charge of establishing balance on earth; the Iyamis are the ones governing the earth. The offerings must be made by Olorisas who know about this, this is very delicate. These are evil entities that represent the destruction of humanity; their activities are based on creating problems such as diseases and poverty. They can make a debtor pay or relieve a person from a debt; the only one with enough power to face them is Òrúnmìlà, no other Orisa could face the witches. They are not a deity or Irúnmọlè and are not received. They support, help, punish or resuscitate depending on how the offerings are made to obtain their help. Ifa offers the suggestion for the right step to be taken when they are angry in order to be pacified.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Kiribati Holidays And Festivals

Kiribati holidays include an intriguing line-up of events, from the first to celebrate the New Year to a lively independence day "week" and a boisterous Christmas period. Traditional singing and dancing can be enjoyed at all times.

New Year's Day

Kiribati is the first country in the world to welcome in the New Year, albeit at the Line Islands, and events go off nationwide. All bars and guesthouses have something going on, along with traditional celebrations at the local
maneaba (meeting house).

Independence Day

This is the main event on the Kiribati social calendar, celebrating the day the Gilbert Islands gained independence from Great Britain in July of 1979. Though the holiday officially takes place on July 12, the festivities last for several days, starting around the 9th. South Tarawa sees most of the action, including obligatory canoe races, kite-flying and traditional dance, along with wrestling, rugby and other sports ventures.

Youth Day

August 4 sees the forward-thinking government focus its energy on the Kiribati youth, with the promise of better opportunities through various workshops and programs. Churches and meeting houses see most activity.

Christmas

Locals attend church followed by much eating, gift-giving and merriment, just like they do back home. In Kiribati, however, there's also choir singing, dancing, canoe racing, and a myriad of other sports right up until New Year. Locals also go camping in Taiwan Park and visit nearby islands.

New Year's Eve

A huge event in Kiribati due to its position in the world, this island nation is the first place to countdown the New Year. There are low-key parties on the beaches and in the towns, while all expat bars and guesthouses put on special events.

Betio Game Fishing Competition

This is a popular event among expats in South Tarawa, with a monthly competition and weight-ins at Captains Bar in Betio to see the biggest catches.

Kiribati Music and Dance

Kiribati folk music and dance is unique to the region, with chanting accompanied by body percussion and guitar, while dance is typically bird-like with costumed performers. Maneaba have music and dance nightly in-season.

*culled from www.iexplore.com

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Turkmenistan Holidays and Festivals

Turkmenistan is a country at the crossroads of east and west. Most of the major towns and cities that exist today were once trading posts on the old Silk Road, the route which joined the riches of the orient to the lucrative markets in the west. This cultural mix can be seen in the festivals that are celebrated in the country today, such as the ever important Eid al-Fitr, as Muslim festival that is observed by about 90 percent of the population. Turkmenistanis are a proud people and evidence of this can be seen in the Turkmenistan holidays of Independence Day and Memorial Day. For something quirky, look to the Melon Day festival.

Memorial Day

Similar to Veterans' Day that is observed in the US on November 11, and known as Remembrance Day in many English-speaking countries, this public holiday is held to commemorate the fallen soldiers of Turkmenistan. It is a day of national pride for Turkmenistanis, who hold public services to honor all those that died fighting for the nation. In particular, special mention is given to the soldiers who defended the Geok Tepe fortress against the invading Russian troops in 1881. Services are held on January 12.

Women's Day

Coinciding with International Women's Day, held on March 8, the Turkemenistanis seemingly treat this day like Valentine's Day. Women are told by their lovers to sit down and put their feet up, while men go about the housework. Later, the women are adorned with gifts of flowers, perfume, and chocolate.

Nowruz Bayram

Held on March 21, this festival takes place on the spring equinox. It is a public holiday in Turkmenistan and the first day in the new year of the Iranian calendar; for this reason, it is sometimes referred to as Persian New Year. The festival is a celebration of the new and what is to come of the year ahead, while reflecting on the old is also part of the day. Typical meals are cooked and shared with families. Later, communities get together for street carnivals.

Revival, Unity, and Magtymguly Pyragy Day

Held on May 19 and 20, this spring festival celebrates the life and times of a national hero. Magtymguly Pyragy was a Turkmen spiritual leader and philosophical poet who was active in the 18th century. He is revered by all Turkmenistanis to this day since he fought passionately to unify the people, a legacy which lives on today.

Melon Day

This new public holiday in Turkmenistan, instigated in 1994 by the then dictator Saparmurat Niyazov, commonly known as Turkmenbashi. It is celebrated annually on the second Sunday of August and is centered on a special crossbreed of the muskmelon, an important crop for the nation. The day's festivities include a large display of the fruit and a series of dances and other music events.

Eid al-Fitr

Usually held in August, this Islamic feast celebrates the end of the 30-day dawn to dusk fasting period of Ramadan. You will see families celebrating their faith and the end of this important period for Muslims with traditional meals.

Independence Day

This is one of the most important public holidays celebrated in Turkmenistan, and although called Independence Day, it falls over two days, October 27 and 28. It provides a good opportunity to discover more about the culture of Turkmenistan as traditional folklore tales are told and traditional horsemanship shows take place. There is a good dose of hearty Turkmen food served at communal gatherings.

*culled from www.iexplore.com

Monday, 27 June 2016

SHIGIDI OR SHUGUDU

Shigidi, or Shugudu, is deified nightmare. The name appears to mean "something short and bulky," and the god, or demon, is represented by a broad and short head, made of clay, or, more commonly, by a thick, blunted cone of clay, which is ornamented with cowries, and is no doubt emblematic of the head.

Shigidi is an evil god, and enables man to gratify his hate in secret and without risk to himself. When a man wishes to revenge himself upon another he, offers a sacrifice to Shigidi, who thereupon proceeds at night to the house of the person indicated and kills him. His mode of procedure is to squat upon the breast of his victim and "press out his breath;" but it often happens that the tutelary deity of the sufferer comes to the rescue and wakes him, uponwhich Sbigidi leaps off, falls upon the earthen floor, and disappears, for he only has power over man dur ing sleep. This superstition still lingers among the negroes of the Bahamas of Yoruba descent, who talk of being "hagged," and believe that nightmare is caused by a demon that crouches upon the breast of the sleeper. The word nightmare is itself a survival from a similar belief once held by ourselves, mare being the Anglo-Saxon mære, elf or goblin.

The person -who employs Shigidi, and sends him out to kill, must remain awake till the god returns, for if he were to fall asleep Shigidi would at that moment turn back, and the mission would fail. Shigidi either travels on the wind, or raises a wind to waft him along; on this point opinions differ. The first symptom of being attacked by Shigidi, is a feeling of heat and oppression at the pit of the stomach, "like hot, boiled rice," said a native. If a man experiences this when he is falling asleep, it behoves him to get up at once and seek the protection of the god he usually serves.

Houses and enclosed yards can be placed under the guardianship of Shigidi. In order to do this a hole is dug in the earth and a fowl, sheep, or, in ancient times with exceptional cases, a human victim was slaughtered, so that the blood drains into the hole, and is then buried. A short, conical mound of red earth is next built over the spot, and an earthen saucer placed on the summit to receive occasional sacrifices. When a site has thus been placed under the protection of Shigidi, he kills, in his typical manner, those who injure the buildings, or who trespass there with bad intentions.

*Culled from www.awonifa.com

OYA : SPIRIT OF THE WIND

Oya : Spirit of the Wind

She is the owner of the flash of lighting, the cemetery, the wind and the whirls. Oya is related to a spiritual force called Ajàláyé which are warm winds which blow close to the earth creating whirls in it. These winds play an essential role in the process of restoring the soils by spreading the seeds of fertility on it. Also, these Ajalaye or winds play a negative role by spreading all kinds of germs which cause epidemics in Africa. She is the Goddess of market and trade, and the strongest warrior among the female Orishas. Her dances are violent while whirling in the air her attribute consisting of an Irukere (horse tail). Her metal is copper and she is Sango's greatest love and his most widely acknowledged woman by the Yoruba's.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Uganda Holidays and Festivals

There are not too many Uganda holidays or festivals that have made it past one or two years of organization. The ones that are still going strong are predominantly focused on the country's growing arts and music scene. Jazz and hip-hop are at the top of their game in Uganda and its festivals showcase this. Still, the biggest event by far is the Bayimba International Festival of Music and Arts, which showcases the country's best music, dance and theater.

Festival on the Nile

This weekly celebration takes place at the beginning of August in Jinja, and focuses on the rich and diverse cultures of the people that live along this famous river, blended with traditional art and culture from all over the globe. It features music, dance, theater, folklore and storytelling, and food as well as live performances. It also has a street parade, children's activities and dance workshops. It is a great opportunity to learn about the tribes throughout Uganda, and the lineup changes each year.

Amakula Kampala International Film Festival

Also known as the Amakula Kampala Cinema Caravan Festival, this festival moves around the country over a course of four months, from the beginning of September to the end of November. It showcases both old and new films that feature themes of independence and fall under one of five platforms, which include African Panorama, Highlights and Tributes, Regional Views, Landmarks and Contemporary World Cinema. It also offers workshops on film training and creating soundtracks for silent films.

Bayimba International Festival of Music and Arts

Each September, this popular three-day festival takes place at the Uganda National Theatre in Kampala's city centre. The festival focuses on arts and culture in Uganda and is a must for all visitors hoping to learn more about the music and art scene of the country. This festival has grown to become the country's number one festival, in which Kampala truly comes to life. The festival brings music, film, dance, theater, and visual arts together under one roof, and showcase not only local artists but those from other East African counties as well.

B-Global Indigenous Hip Hop Festival

This four-day festival that happens each September was created to celebrate hip hop in Uganda. Its vision is to educate youth through hip hop culture and to teach Ugandan youth the importance of reconnecting with their roots. It brings the youth of Uganda together with some of Uganda's hip hop leaders to promote peace, love and fun.

Nile Gold Jazz Safari

This one-day event happens each October in Kampala and features some incredible jazz played by musicians from all over the world. Each year there is a new list of performers, but one thing that is consistent is that the music is always fantastic. Saxophones, bass guitars, drums, keyboards and pianos play to a growing audience of Ugandan jazz lovers, and of course visitors are always welcome.

This Is Uganda

This annual festival is to showcase the diverse cultures throughout Uganda through art, music, poetry and dance, with an emphasis on female artists. Each December thousands come to Kampala's Kyandondo Rugby Club to watch some phenomenal live performances. The festival also has a lounge area where festival goers can socialize, as well as booths that promote woman's rights, education and HIV/AIDS awareness.

*Culled from www.iexpolre.com

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Cook Islands Holidays and Festivals

Celebrations are an integral part of the preservation of culture on the Cook Islands. In addition to local Cook Islands holidays that mark historic dates, many interesting events are held throughout the year to showcase fascinating traditions, important art forms and promote camaraderie and solidarity amongst the islanders with dance and music.

Dancer of the Year (Te Mire Ura) Contest

One of the most popular events of the year, the Cook Islands dance-off is held annually at the National Auditorium of Rarotonga sometime in April or May. Bringing together some of the best dancers from across the land, the competition is divided by age group, from juniors to intermediates, seniors, and the "golden ladies."

International Kite Surfing Contest

Held on Aitutaki in late June, the International Kite Surfing Contest is an annual festival that celebrates the rich natural gifts of the Cook Islands. The event attracts kite surfing enthusiasts and competitors from all over the world.
Whale Watching Season
Those who want to catch a glimpse of the gigantic whales that grace the shoreline should visit between the months of July and October. The waters are swarmed by gentle giants that show-off their aquatic skills, playfully flipping and jumping.

Te Maeva Nui

This cultural holiday on August 4 marks the annual celebration of the Cook Islands' self-rule, which was granted in 1965. The festival is a fusion of musical and dance extravaganzas, costume showcases, craft and art exhibits, and an exciting array of food that revolve around a different theme each year.

Tiare Festival

The Tiare Festival is an annual flower show held in Rarotonga in October. Among the highlights are the Miss Tiare Pageant and the Young Warrior Contest.

Gospel Days

Gospel Days celebrates the missions that brought Christianity to the Cook Islands. It is commemorated on October 26 with all kinds of presentations and dramatic religious reenactments.

Turama

Turama is the local celebration of All Saints' and All Souls' Day, which sees family members decorate the graves of loved ones with flowers and candles. People gather in cemeteries and share stories, usually after attending a requiem mass at the Avarua Cathedral. While not exactly a festive occasion, this November 1 event is an important part of the Cook Islands culture.

Vaka Eiva

Vaka Eiva or the Canoeing Festival is held during mid-November. The annual event hosts races around Rarotonga and attracts more than 850 competitors, divided into 100 teams. The winners receive the prestigious Pacific Cup.

*Culled from www.iexplore.com

Friday, 24 June 2016

ÈSÙ (Eshu or Elegbara)

Guardian and witness of the truth.

Èşù mansemi O.

Èşù please do not hurt me.

Aşé O!…

Note: Esu is the divine messenger, who guides us in our destiny, the owner of the crossroads and, most importantly, he is in charge of the frontier between the earth and heavens. Esu is one of the most important deities in this religion; he must be informed of every action which is taken. This does not mean that a sacrifice to him must be done for every action; there are other ways to achieve his participation. He is the divine messenger and guardian of the truth in our daily lives. Esu is in charge of shaking our conscience in order to free it from self-indulgence and thoughts without changes or transformations. Esu will always remind us that the search for the human truth must never stop. In essence, it is important to be honest and to keep a balance according to the constant changes. There are different Esu who have the power to change everything: Esu Laroye (who was the first Esu to arrive on the earth). Lode, Laboni, Alawana (Cuban-natives), Eleegbaa, Alaje, Ija, Abilu, Awure Ola, Sigidi, Agogo, Iranse, etc.

Obàtàlà or Orisànlà: Spirit of the light and conscience.

He represents the power of light to transform into matter. He is the God creator of men, justice and purity. He is totally respected by everyone. His dances represent the movements of an eternal old man, with slow and tired steps, or the steps of a young warrior who impose justice with the sword. His color is white. His attribute is an Irukere, a symbol of royalty. Mo mirele Amoru…Even the king of Ife. There is a great controversy about this deity; in Cuba he is known as Ọbàtálá, Òrìşànlá, Obamoro, Ayaguna and Obalofun, among others, as different types of Ọbàtálá; there are even eight who are feminine and eight masculine. Nevertheless, in the Yoruba land this version is refuted; only one Ọbàtálá is acknowledged and the situation is that this deity had different nicknames, but he is only known as a man and his wife was Yemoo. He is the leader of the Orisas in the world, he provides the destiny to the new ones, together with Ajala Mopin..etc, Ileke..Sesefun.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Ori Apere, The Inner Spirit

He is the inner spirit. The conscience is the only thing capable of transforming the destiny. This Orisha is in charge of the destiny of each of us, ha can change a negative destiny to a positive one.
The Yorubas say that our head is an Orisha which requires worshipping and attention in order for us to align ourselves, find harmony and carry on in a positive manner here on earth, on the path to our destiny. Ori is received as Orishas as well, and ceremonies are held together with our heads (ori). This deity makes it possible that the sacrifices are accepted by Olodumare. This deity is highly recommended for any person following the Yoruba religion as Omo Ifá (godchildren), Iyalòrìşà or Babalòrìşà (Santera or Santero) and Awo Òrúnmìlà (Ifá's bishops). Ifá established for the human beings that one person is not fruitful due to his/her Ifá sign; the problems of the persons do not involve the Orishas but the person himself. This is the reason why an Ori must be favored in order for the person to improve his/her destiny through his/her conscience. The sacrifice for any financial event will have to be a priority in order to ensure the business or the economic wellbeing.

Labalaba fo jagba jagba de Ijagba;
O difa fun won ni Ijagba;
Nibi won gbe nsun orun koorun;
Ifa ni oro yi o si lowo oso;
Kosi lowo aje;
Owo ori lo n be;
Ori mi apere;
Atakara ileke;
Adaniwaye, mase gbagbe mi.

TRANSLATION
Butterfly flew anyhow to Ijagba town;
Meeting the people there having nightmare in their sleep;
So, they consulted Ifa over the matter;
Thinking that the witches and wizards had a hand in their problem;
But Ifa enjoined them to appease their heads;
And they thanked Ifa for the revelation.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

The Deity Called Olokun

O LOKUN (oni-okun , he who owns the sea), "Lord of the Sea," is the sea-god of the Yorubas. He is one of those who came from the body of Yemaja.
As man worships that from which he has most to fear, or from which he hopes to receive the greatest benefits, the inland tribes pay little or no attention to Olokun, who is, however, the chief god of fishermen and of all others whose avocations take them upon the sea. When Olokun is angry he causes the sea to be rough and stirs up a raging surf upon the shore; and it is he who drowns men, upsets boats or canoes, and causes shipwrecks.
Olokun is not the personally divine sea but an anthropomorphic conception. He is of human shape and black in colour, but with long flowing hair, and resides in a vast palace under the sea, where he is served by a number of sea-spirits, some of whom are human in shape, while others partake more or less of the nature of fish. On ordinary occasions animals are sacrificed to Olokun, but when the condition of the surf prevents canoes from putting to sea for many days at a time, a human victim is offered to appease him. It is said that such sacrifices have been made in recent times, even at Lagos, by the people of the Isaleko quarter, who are chiefly worshippers of Olokun. The sacrifice was of course secret, and according to native report the canoemen used to watch by night till they caught some solitary wayfarer, whom they gagged and conveyed across the lagoon to the sea-shore, where they struck off his head and threw the body into the surf.
A myth says that Olokun, becoming enraged with mankind on account of their neglect of him, endeavoured to destroy them by overflowing the land; and had drowned large numbers when Obatala interfered to save the remainder, and forced Olokun back to his palace, where he bound him with seven iron chains till he promised to abandon his design. This, perhaps, has reference to some former encroachment of the sea upon the low-lying sandy shores, which are even now liable to be submerged at spring-tides.[1]
Olokun has a wife named Olokun-su, or Elusu, who lives in the harbour bar at Lagos. She is white in colour and human in shape, but is covered with fish-scales from below the breasts to the hips. The fish in the waters of the bar are sacred to her, and should anyone catch them, she takes vengeance by upsetting canoes and drowning the occupants. A man who should be so ill-advised as to attempt to fish on the bar would run a great risk of being
[1. Another myth of this nature has been mentioned in Chapter II., under Ifa.]
thrown overboard by the other canoemen. Olokunsu is an example of a local sea-goddess, originally, as on the Gold Coast at the present day, considered quite independent, being attached to the general god of the sea, and accounted for as belonging to him.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Micronesia Holidays And Festivals

All of the Pacific Islands of Micronesia have their own traditional festivals, the most famous of which may be Yap Day on the island of Yap. Many Micronesia holidays celebrated throughout the island commemorate important moments in history like National Day, the day the islands became self-governing territories, and Liberation Day, when the United States took control of the islands from the Japanese during WWII. The island of Kosrae celebrates Christmas with marching parade routines performed during day-long church services.

Yap Day Festival

The biggest of the island of Yap's many mitmit feasts takes place on the first weekend in March. Each village on Yap takes turns hosting this unique festival which has only recently been open to visitors outside the island. Yap Day is most famous for the intricate dances the villagers practice throughout the year and perform only once in a lifetime. The brightly dressed villagers perform stick dances, standing dances, sitting dances, and kneeling dances. The Yap Visitors Bureau hosts a reception during the festival's final days and pays special honor to the guest who has traveled the longest distance to attend.

Constitution Day

Each of the Federated States of Micronesia have their own constitution day holidays, but the entire island nations celebrates the date, May 10, on which the country's national constitution was founded in 1979. This is not really a lively festival, but rather a day of rest and relaxation which Micronesians spend at shopping centers and parks on this day off from school and work.

United Nations Day

Few places celebrate United Nations Day with more fervor than the Pacific Islands of Micronesia. The island of Yap, in particular, marks each October 24 by closing all government offices, schools, and virtually all businesses. Fairs serving foods around the world and international cultural performances also fill this day celebrating the anniversary of the United Nations charter.

Liberation Day

September 11 remains a day of celebration on the Pacific Islands of Micronesia, whose citizens still associate this date as the anniversary of the United States WWII victory over Japan. The island of Kosrae marks the date with a Mardi Gras-style parade, while Pohnpei's main Liberation Day events are sporting competitions among the island's communities.

*Culled from www.iexplore.com

Monday, 20 June 2016

BENSON IDONIJE'S BIRTHDAY BASH PARTY AT 80

COSON put together a birthday bash party for Benson Idonije who turned 80 recently at their office premises in Ikeja a few days ago. It was indeed a get together event to celebrate the media giant. The man Benson Idonije has been a mentor to all in broadcasting and music.
Born on June 13, 1936, in Otuo, he attended schools in Otuo and Sabongida Ora and later Yaba College of Technology. The Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) employed in 1957, as engineering assistant. He, however, did not move into the mainstream of broadcasting until the 60s, when he became a producer and presenter of such famous programmes, as The Big Beat and Stereo Jazz Club.
The programme, The Big Beats, became resounding success and he anchored it until 1976, when Radio Nigeria 2 started and he became one of the foundation staff. He was a presenter and producer in Radio Nigeria 2 until 1985, when he was posted to FRCN Training School to teach presenting and producing. From there, he retired as the head of production department at the training school in 1992; though he continued to teach in the school on contract.
He started writing for newspapers in 1953, with the Morning Post newspaper. "I was writing about Jazz". Then, I was using it to promote Fela. I would zero in on what he was doing. I wrote for Spear magazine with Tony Mommoh as editor. The most regular one is with the Guardian. "My writing has been that of recalling past experiences and falling back on residual knowledge. Some people have interpreted it to mean that i am a researcher. The truth is that about 10 per cent may be on research; while the remaining 90 are always on something I took part in. They were something I saw, did and listened to".
Present at the birthday party were some prominent musicians like Ras Kimono, Sunny Neji, Azeezat, Tony Okoroji, Kenny Saint Best and Seyi Allen. Other notable people present were Jahman Anikulapo, Patrick Doyle, Kofi, Emeka Ike and members of the press. Benson Idonije was there with his wife Bose and some of his grandchildren.
Benson Idonije is the grandfather of popular musician, Burna Boy and he is also his music director. The climax of the whole event is the cutting of 80th birthday big cake with the celebrant and the photo sessions with everybody present thereafter. Happy birthday to you Beson Idonije. Very many happy returns. Wishing you many more years of good health, strength and wealth.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

OBALUAYE OR OLODE

The deity called Obaluaye or Olode is highly respected in Yoruba land. This deity is synonymous with illnesses like chicken pox, small pox and measles. These three diseases are his weapons. Obaluaye is a powerful deity in that if he brings the afore mentioned illnesses  without adequate attention to them, the victim may go blind, cripple, deaf and dumb or insane. It is a deity that inflicts the sickness on the child and his mother at the same time.
Even though, he is a spirit of sickness, he also gives healing to the sick people. The Orisa is also referred to as Soponno. He is very energetic because he is a male deity. Anyone that Orisa Obaluayé inflicts his spirit on is usually kept away from other people because of the spread of his disease. Obaluaye is the most feared deity because of his wrath and anger. Yoruba people believe that if sicknesses like chicken pox, small pox and measles are rampant, it means Orisa Obaluaye should be appeased before they become epidermic. The worshippers of Obaluaye will be approached to appease the deity. If this deity is appeased from time to time, it brings good health to the land and all will be well with the people. And this is the reason why Obaluaye is always being appeased and appealed to because nobody wants his wrath, scourge and anger. Orisa Obaluaye is a fierce and violent deity and may we all not incur his wrath and anger!

Friday, 17 June 2016

Five Major Festivals In Bhutan

The religious festivals (Tshechu in local term) are held in several parts of Bhutan as a tribute to Guru Padsambhava (also referred to as Guru Rimpoche) - 'one who was born from lotus flower' and introduced the Nyingma school of Buddhism into Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan in 8th century.

Each 10th day of the lunar calendar is said to commemorate a special event in the life of Padmasambhava; and some of these are dramatized in the context of a religious festival or the Tshechu.

The dates and duration of the festivals vary from one district to another but they always take place on or around the 10th day of the month according to the Bhutanese calendar.

During Tshechus, the dances are performed by monks as well as laymen wearing ornate costumes and masks; the each aspect dance has a symbolic meaning. It is widely believed that one gains merit by attending any of these festivals.

Some of the festivals are observed to purify the souls and ward off evil spirit, not necessarily with religious mask dance.

Moreover, it is also a yearly social gathering where the Bhutanese people, dressed in all their finery, come together to rejoice, taking a break from their everyday life.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Festivals & Events In Myanmar

April

Thingyan Water Festival

Celebrating the Myanmar New Year , this festival lasts for several days and is marked by major , good- natured water throwing. It is also a time of merit making, and older people go to temples for prayer and alms giving.

May

The Kason Festival

Representing the day the Buddha was born , the day He attained Enlightenment , and the day of His passing , this festival falls on the day of the full moon of Kason in the Myanmar calendar, in early May . Visits are made to pagodas to water the sacred Bo Trees - under which species the Buddha is said to have attained Enlightenment.

July

The Waso Festival

Commemorating the Buddha' s first sermon, this festival also marks the beginning of Buddhist Lent. Monks are given new robes and other requirements to tide them through the months ahead
October.

Thadingyut Festival (Festival of Lights)

Marking the end of Buddhist Lent, this festival, held on the full moon day of Thadingyut, lasts for three days during which houses and streets are festively decorated and illuminated . People crowd into their local pagodas to offer alms and make merit. Younger people also pay homage to their parents, elders and teachers.

Phaungdaw Oo Pagoda Festival , Inle Lake

Phaungdaw Oo Pagoda' s Buddha images are ferried from village to villages for people to pay homage . Fairs , dances, the leg rowers ' boat races and general festivities counterbalance the more austere ceremonial aspect . This is the biggest celebration in the Shan state .

Elephant Dance Festival

Though enacted in several towns and villages, the town with the best festival is Kyauk -se , 40 km south of Mandalay . Two full size paper elephants , one black , one white, each with two men inside , dance through the town with much pageantry and ceremony.

November

Tazaungdaing Festival

Held on the full moon day of Tazaungmon according to the Myanmar Calendar, this festival finds houses and public buildings decorated and brightly lit . Robes and other requisites are offered to monks with the special offering of Mathothigan - a robe that is woven in one single day - held on the eve of the full moon . Dedicated teams of weavers compete with one another to complete the robes, which are then reverently offered to images of Buddha.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Cultures, Traditions And Festivals

Iye Ekiti is very rich in culture and traditions. We shall discuss a few of them here.

• IRO or AGBA IYE

This group comprises elderly men from each of the houses/compounds usually clad in white robes with a long goad and a small handbag. They parade the entire town on three different occasions before the New Yam Festival. This takes place triennially. People can see them, but are not allowed to meet them on the way.

• ADO IYE

This group is a mixture of old and young women. They usually graduate to "imoles." The only man among them is called ABA ADO. Their head is the OSOKIA. Osokia was thought to be a powerful deity in the past. The deity comes, takes over and inhabits the body of a man at a particular point in time, especially when the land needs spiritual cleansing against an epidemic or evil spiritual forces.

• OGUN IGBEDE & IGUN (OBE EDE –EGUSI SOUP)

Ogun Igbede is a festival peculiar to Igbede compound in Isapa. It is the time the people of this compound sacrifice to Ogun, the god of iron, which is their family deity. The ogun Igbede usually precedes, with nine days, the Igun festival.

The Igun Festival is an interesting one. During this festival, every house in Iye Ekiti must cook special egusi soup. The younger folks will now take containers and be going from house to house to collect the soup.
It is the belief of the people that it is Ogun that will pave way for them and facilitate the easy celebration of the Igun festival, hence, the essence of celebrating the Ogun Igbede before the Igun Festival.

• AGERE AND AJAJA FESTIVAL

Perhaps, the Agere festival is the most popular festival in Iye Ekiti. The Agere Festival is celebrated on the second day of the Igun festival. The Agere comprises two long sticks tied to either legs of the person who wants to ride it. There are usually many people who partake in this festival. The festival, which is usually among the male folks in the town normally, turns out to be somewhat a competition in terms of whose agere is the longest. The longest agere is called the Kng's Agere. So, the competitors always want theirs to be the King's.

AJAJA, usually celebrated on the second day of the Agere Festival, is another interesting dimension to the Agere Festival. This day is usually dedicated to correcting all anti-social behaviours of the people over the past year. Earlier the "Egbe group" in the town will first dance round the town singing:

Solo: E olole

All: Ajaja

Solo: E e olole

All: ajaja

Solo: Okuru olole

All: ajaja, etc

Later, the youth of the town, led by some of them, will take over, with the aim of going to the houses of people who have done one "bad thing" or the other during the past year. These bad or anti-social behaviour do include stealing, witchcraft, untimely pregnancy among school ages, etc. They will start by saying:

Solo: Piri m'odudan iye o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o (Oh, you youth of Iye)

All: E e o o o o o o o o o o o (Yeeeeeeees ssss)

Solo: Sin e yoo se abi in ke e yoo se? (Will you be able to do it or not?)

All: Sise ni
godogodooooooooooooo (We are ready and sure going to do it)

They will all start singing:

All: Godogodo a e se, o omo Iye oni oju i ro e momo a o o o

(Totally and relentlessly we will do it, indigenes of Iye, let the cowards stay at home).

This is the music they will sing round the town. On getting to the house of each erring citizen where they will then change their song to suit the offence committed by that person.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Maldives Holidays and Festivals

Most of the Maldives holidays revolve around and are influenced by the Islamic faith. The citizens are extremely proud, so Independence Day is a magnificent time of year celebrated on all the islands halfway through the year with parades and festivities. Ramadan is an important event held during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Much of the country alters its opening hours to accommodate this special fast.

Ramadan

Being a totally Islamic country, the Maldives celebrates the Ramadan period every year. Muslims fast during daylight hours and offices and government workers end the working days earlier. The event is held in the months of August or September, which is otherwise known as the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.

The National Day

The National Day is celebrated as the first day of Rabee-ul Awwal, which is held during the third month of the Islamic calendar. Falling sometime in February or March, you will see parades and marches across the Maldives.

Independence Day

One of the most important days on the calendar, Independence Day celebrates the freedom of the Maldives from Britain back in 1965. The islands are filled with parades, performances, food and festivities. It is held annually on July 26.

Republic Day

Although not as important as Independence Day, Republic Day is still an exciting event felt throughout the country. November 11 marks the day the Maldives became a republic for the second time in 1968. Male is the center of the celebrations, hosting parades throughout its streets and parks. Other towns and islands put on quite a good show.

Prophet's Birthday

For an interesting cultural experience, visitors should head to Male during the Prophet's Birthday. The event is held on the 12th day of Rabee-ul-Awwal, which falls in the third month of the Islamic calendar. The mosques in the capital and around the country are filled with worshippers and offices and shops close early.

Eid Festival

For the best feast of the year, the Eid Festival is the place to be. Held at the end of Ramadan in the month of September, Eid is a fantastic time to explore the cultural splendors of the Maldives' religious faith. The event usually lasts for about three days, where grand meals are prepared across the country.

*www.iexplore.com

Monday, 13 June 2016

Kyrgyzstan Holidays and Festivals

Kyrgyzstan holidays and events are mostly centered around the country's traditional nomadic lifestyle, still practiced in rural areas and honored as the root of culture. The horse plays a central role in most holidays, with birds of prey a close second and the turn of the seasons at the spring equinox one of Central Asia's oldest celebrations. Favorite events are the National Horse Festival and the Kyrgyz Kochu Festival.

New Year

As with the rest of the world, the New Year is welcomed in Kyrgyzstan with parties, fireworks and a variety of other fun events.

Navroz Spring Festival

This incredibly ancient Central Asian festival celebrates renewal and rebirth around the spring equinox after the harsh, icy winter. Held over two days in April, it's an Islamic adaptation of one of mankind's oldest rituals. Highlights include traditional games, music, dance, drama, bazaars, markets, and lots of partying.

Orthodox Easter

Orthodox Easter usually occurs in Kyrgyzstan in April, about two weeks after it is celebrated in Western Christianity. The event is marked by candlelit church services, parades of holy images and icons and family get-togethers.

National Horse Festival

Horses have been central to the Kyrgyz way of life for untold centuries, with a plethora of contests and games evolving to test the skills of riders and their mounts. The National Horse Festival every July is one of the country's most popular events, featuring races, team games such as Ulak Tartysh (a form of polo), Kyz Kuumai (the chase between horsemen and horsewomen), Tyiyn Enmei (riders picking up a coin on the ground at full gallop), and the spectacular Kurosh (wrestling on horseback). The rules date back centuries, making the event a not to miss experience for visitors.

Birds of Prey Festival

Traditionally, birds of prey such as the falcon and the golden eagle were captured as chicks and trained by nomadic people to hunt small animals for food. Just one bird could support an entire settlement's protein diet, making thema held in high value and treated as members of the tribe. The Birds of Prey Festival takes place every August, with proud owners bringing their avian treasures to take part in contests. Visits to sacred sites, horse games and folklore shows are also highlights of the event.

Independence Day

The August national holiday of Independence Day is marked with pride and celebration all over Kyrgyzstan. In the capital, parades and exhibitions take place, and folk events, concerts, and demonstrations form part of the revelry.

Kyrgyz Kochu Festival

This unique Kyrgyzstan event is celebrated in August and marks the annual migration of nomadic herders and their flock from the high summer pastures to winter in the lowlands. National games, horse races, eating and drinking, folk music, dancing, and hordes of animals dressed up for the occasion are the centerpiece.

Ramadan

The Islamic month of Ramadan is the religion's most important event in Kyrgyzstan, taking place according to the Muslim calendar usually in August or September, with the devout fasting between sun-up and sundown. They hit the streets every evening to feast and be merry with friends and the month ends with Eid al-Fitr, a joyful day of feasting and family parties.

*www.iexplore.com

Kazakhstan Holidays and Festivals

Kazakhstan holidays and festivals are as representative of the country's culture as they are diverse. From events celebrating the tradition of music in the Astana International Contest of Kazakh Song to those testing the limits of human strength in the Khan Tengri Mountain Festival, there is something for travelers to enjoy throughout the year.

Navroz Festival

Held every year in March, this festival can be considered a celebration of the New Year in Kazakhstan. It is characterized by folk dancing, traditional music performances, polo matches, and most importantly, the sacrificing of sheep. After the sheep have been slaughtered, they are cooked and eaten by the locals which is meant to symbolize prosperity for the upcoming year.

Chabana Festival

Shared with the Kyrgyz people and held near the Kazakh-Kyrgyz border in August, the Chabana Festival, or Cowboy Festival, is an event which brings together local herders to take part in sports and recreation. One of the most famous, and most deeply rooted in Kazakhstan's history, is "Chasing after the Bride," in which women are given a head start on horseback and pursued by men, also on horseback, in an attempt to catch them.

Khan Tengri Mountain Festival

A test of physical strength and endurance, the Khan Tengri Mountain festival is a grueling climbing event held every year in August. Over 500 participants from around the world try to reach the Khan Tengri Peak over 20 days. The event attracts big names as athletes Cimono Moro and Alexander Lvov.

Kazakhstan Golf Open

Golf enthusiasts will be happy to know that the annual Kazakhstan Golf Open takes place every year in September. Held in Almaty, the Open is a men's pro tournament which draws the biggest names from around the globe. Making up one portion of the annual "Challenge Tour," the Kazakhstan leg offers golfers the highest monetary prize of all regions and is thus highly competitive.

Astana International Contest of Kazakh Song

In what can be considered a tribute to Kazakh music, the Contest of Kazakh song is held annually in September. Overseas performers from all over Poland, Uzbekistan and Germany compete to sing Kazakh songs in their native languages. The festival is a big event in Astana, with local choirs and children's groups being called upon to accompany many of the contestants.

*www.iexplore.com

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Cape Verde Holidays and Festivals

There always seems to be a Cape Verde holiday or festival going on. Whether it's a religious ceremony or an excuse to spend time drinking and dining with family and friends, festivals on the archipelago are always a colorful experience well worth checking out.
Carnival in February is a truly memorable time, while the Sao Joao celebration sees hundreds participate in processionals, folk dancing and street parties.

Cape Verde Carnival

February sees the most colorful and spectacular festival of the island's calendar and is one of the best times of the year to visit Cape Verde. No matter where you go, it is virtually impossible to escape the party and endless music in full swing. The most elaborate and hedonistic celebrations take place on the streets of Praia and Mindelo where everyone pulls out their fancy costumes and puts away their inhibitions. The dancing, drinking and debauchery goes on for days, with music, fireworks and huge parades.

Kriol Jazz Festival

Started in 2009, the Kriol Jazz Festival is held in the capital of Praia every April and attracts artists from around Cape Verde and abroad. The event promotes Cape Verde's rich musical heritage, which hails from Africa, the Caribbean and Europe. Performances are held at locations around the city and get the community moving to the music all weekend long.

The Festival of Sao Joao

A passionate affair which incorporates the country's traditional pastimes, bonfires are ignited to ward off evil spirits and bring fertility to the fields, while dancing, singing and street parties take place in San Antonio June 24th every year.

Cape Verde Independence Day

A raucous event which is celebrated on every island, Independence Day festivities are held July 5, commemorating the day the country gained its freedom from Portugal. Colorful celebrations complete with serious drinking the local favorite grogue and feasting are the norm and the fun carries through into the evening. It's a great time to visit and experience the pride and light-heartedness of the locals.

Sal Music Festival

Held for a weekend in September, the enjoyable Cape Verde music scene has evolved into an exciting and fast-growing event over the years, attracting local and international artists. A fusion of many different styles and influences, it's a great spectacle. Cape Verdean people from across the islands, as well as tourists head to Santa Maria Beach to pitch tents and setup camp for the weekend. When the sun goes down, bonfires are lit and the party rages through the night.

*www.iexplore.com

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Comoros Holidays and Festivals

Festivals are often tied to religious observances, particularly Islamic celebrations that follow the lunar calendar. Comoros holidays include Independence Day and the anniversary of the death of President Said Mohamed Sheikh. Comorians observe two new years, the first which marks the start of the year, and the second, which follows the Islamic calendar. Traditional celebrations often involve music, dancing and cultural performances.

New Year

Both New Year's Days (January 1st and the Islamic New Year) are celebrated with much gusto in the Comoros. The Islamic New Year is of particular interest as it is marked by a wide range of activities that embrace the local culture and traditions, including religious rituals.

Independence Day

Comorian independence is celebrated every July 6 to commemorate the nation's freedom from colonialism. Like other events on the islands, the festivities are marked with good food, cultural presentations and merriment.

Eid al-Adha

Eid al-Adha or the Feast of the Sacrifice is a celebration of Abraham's willingness to give up his son (Ishmael) in obedience to God. It is an annual Islamic holiday observed by Muslims around the world and Comoros is no exception.

Eid al-Fitr

This feast marks the conclusion of the month-long fast (Ramadan) and is celebrated with all kinds of rituals, prayers, gifts, and lots of ceremonial food.

Christmas Day

Christmas Day is observed by the Roman Catholic minority living in the Comoros with festive gatherings of friends and families.

www.iexplore.com

Holidays And Festivals In Djibouti

Djibouti holidays and festivals are celebrated with great enthusiasm. Many of these cultural events are based on religious practices and observances, including Islamic and Christian celebrations. Ramadan and Christmas are highly anticipated, while Independence Day is also a big holiday, marked by many traditions, singing and dancing and overflowing food. The dates of Islamic festivals vary each year according to the lunar calendar. Fixed holidays include New Year's, Labor Day, Independence Day, and Christmas.

New Year's Day

New Year's Day in Djibouti is celebrated with fervor. Schools and offices are closed and everyone puts on a festive sprit. New Year's Eve parties are held everywhere and continue on until daybreak.

Independence Day

Djibouti's Independence is celebrated on June 27 each year. The date commemorates the country's liberation from France and highlights the best of their local traditions. Expect lively and colorful themed parades (which changes every year), as well as speeches from important dignitaries. There is plenty of dancing, singing and general merriment in addition to a military parade which showcases the different equipment the national army has at its disposal. The parade is conducted by troops from Germany, France and the USA, all led by an amusing marching band. A presidential address marks the commencement of the day's activities.

Ramadan

This 30-day fast in July is marked by devotional practices where women sing praise songs and read poems in their native tongue. The breaking of the fast begins with a sunset prayer after which people don't consume anything but affur food. Ramadan ends with the Feast of the Sacrifice, which is also celebrated with prayer, rituals, and abundant food.

Fest'Horn

Fest'Horn is a special celebration of music in mid-December. This regional event was created to bring global attention to music from the Horn of Africa, and is marked by performances from artists in different genres.

Christmas Day

Only a few Djiboutian are devout Christians, but Christmas is still widely observed on December 25. Christian churches are decorated with lights and candles and midnight mass is held, complete with choir singing.

*www.iexplore.com

Friday, 10 June 2016

Ndiaga Mbaga, Senegalese Percussionist and Musician

diaga MBAYE is a Senegalese musician and percussionist. He is well known in his country for his musical prowess and activities. He has taken part in a lot of festivals around the world because he always researches on how to improve on his works. He is a friend of my group The African Percussionists (TAP). He has just completed a cultural programme in Senegal involving cultural activists from other neighbouring African countries. The project is interesting and it is entitled ° history of Gorée ° with the slaves. The interesting aspect of the project is that it is like the festival theatre, Carnival, Fanfare etc. And it is a group that is made up of musicians from five different countries. These musicians are Senegalese, Guinean, Gambian, Ghanaian and Ivorian. And this group plays afro-mbalakh music with orchestra that uses typically African instruments like two kora, balafon, and flip. The group is also accompanied with  three guitars, two keyboards, drums and other percussive instruments that enhance good African music. This group is prominent in cultural activities and social events in Senegal and they are also collaborating with other cultural groups in their neighbourhood in Africa to put up entertaining, educative and informative programmes.
Ndiaga Mbaye is a gift to the continent of Africa and his group will go far because they are original in all their musical works. They are currently based in Senegal and they are looking forward to be invited to participate in cultural programmes in Africa or across the world.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Pastimes And Childhood Games

Hopscotch – Every Nigerian remembers the game of hopscotch from growing up. Hopscotch is an age-old children's game based on the principle of not treading on lines. In Nigeria it is known as 'suwe'. The diagram is drawn in sand, and a stone or a ball of crushed leaves is used as a marker. The rules resemble those in the German game of Hinkspiel. In suwe, if the player's stone is tossed on a line, he/she is out of the game. At the end of the game, the players make drawings in each of the squares. The game is quite unisexual – it is not uncommon to find young boys in primary and junior secondary schools playing alongside their female peers.

Fire on the mountain – Children are arranged into two concentric circles, one with one more member than the other. Upon a signal they begin to run in opposite directions singing "fire on the mountain, run, run, run" until the whistle is blown – "fire is up!" Then each player endeavours to secure a partner from the other circle. The player left without a partner is penalised to do some stunts or asked to squat in the centre of the circle. The elimination process continues until one pair is left, who are then declared the winners. This game has various indigenous names across Nigerian cultures.

Who picks the flag first – Two teams of children play this game. The children are grouped into two equal and parallel formations opposite each other. Children from the opposing teams are paired to numbers, two children per number. An umpire then stands at a distance holding up a flag or cloth. The umpire begins to call numbers. The two children paired to that number begin to run towards the flag. While running, each child is to ensure that he/she is not touched by his/her opponent while they race towards the flag. The player that does not succeed in picking up the flag or that is touched by the other player before returning to his domain (where other teammates are) is thus 'captured' by the other team. The game continues in this manner until all of one team's players are 'captives'. This game has various indigenous names across Nigerian cultures.

Akokoro – This is played by two people (usually boys) using a small snail shell or soft metal sheet shaped like a snail shell. One of the players spins the shell/cone and while it is spinning swipes it or 'cuts' it with a sweeping stroke of the finger to make the base of the cone land flat on the ground. The winning player is usually the player who can successfully make the base of the cone land flat. Unless the cone lands in this manner, a player is unsuccessful. When a player has achieved this feat and the other has not, the player who fails offers his hand to the winning player for a 'strike' – the winner uses the cone to forcefully hit the back of the loser's hand. The game is also known as Okoto.

Ayo – This is played by two players on a rectangular carved board with 12 round pits, 6 on each side. 48 small seeds are shared in fours into each of the 12 holes. Each player takes turns to move seeds from the pits on his side of the board and strives to win more than half the seeds to win the game. The game helps to enhance the quantitative ability of the players as success depends a lot on logic and one's ability to count correctly and manipulate numbers. It is played widely throughout Nigeria. The Ebira people call it Igori.

Ten Ten – In playing this game, girls stand facing each other clapping their hands and moving their legs to a rhythm. The aim of each girl during the game is to ensure that she does not raise the leg directly facing the other girl – which means it is okay for a girl to raise a left leg when the other raises a right leg. Once a girl raises the wrong leg, the other girl scores a point.

Ta lo wa ninu ogba naa? – To play this game, the children form a circle. One of the players stands outside the circle while those players in the circle sing 'ta lo wa ninu ogba naa,' which literarily means in Yoruba 'who is in the garden?' When the song ends, the player outside the circle chooses any of the players in the circle to replace him/her before joining the others in the circle.

Why not draw some lines and remember how it felt to be a child!

*Culled from www.jetlifenigeria.com

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

The Gong : Multi-Purpose Musical Instrument (Concluding part)

This "musical touch," of hearing through the ear of the body itself, creates a sense of ecstasy or well-being. The gong experience is an immersion into a spiraling cocoon of total sound. Through gonging, we are able to lose the sense of identity with our body as a physical object. We are no longer limited to a 3rd dimensional material world, but are taken to a fourth dimensional dream body. When we are in a 4th dimensional dream body, there is less interference between our ego consciousness and our more evolved innate intelligence. Our innate intelligence is the consciousness, creating perpetual DNA-repair while we are alive.

Although this repair goes on while we are in the awake state (beta consciousness), it is when our rational mind is asleep that the DNA-repair is better able to achieve maximum efficiency. This process begins in the alpha-theta state and reaches ultimate efficiency in the deep delta state. In delta-sleep, the mind is completely unconscious.

In the completely meditative state of being awake while completely asleep (the 4th dimensional gong experience), we increase the re-youthing potential of the innate intelligence without going into unconsciousness. The personal ego is then able to attain a state of non-judgment or neutrality. This is the state of total body/mind harmony.

The essential key to the gong's force of resonance, and its effectiveness, is the complete submersion and saturation of a person in layer upon layer of tone-cell multiplication. The universal gong sound is based upon the musical principle that all tones of equal amplitude keep resonating, adding to themselves, to produce cumulative offspring, so to speak. This is a phenomenon unique to gongs and replicates exactly what happens in the building of the human physical, mental, emotional and spiritual bodies."

Gongs are percussion instruments of either definite or indefinite pitch, in the form of a metal plate usually made of brass or bronze, and are of two types; hanging (vertical), or resting (horizontal = singing bowls). They are either flat with a clear sound, convex with a supple wall, or convex with a nipple or knob with a strong wall and definite pitch. They may be described as being a wind, chau, tam-tam, nipple, cup, bowl, plate, rin, orchestral, symphonic, whirling, ascending, or descending type of gong. The major gong centers of the world are China, Burma, Java, Indonesia, and Turkey. Communities of gong makers exist in Sumatra, Thailand, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Tibet, and India.

Gongs are considered to be a good luck charm, and touching a gong is believed to bring a person happiness, good health, and strength. In India it is believed that the sound of a gong created the worlds, and was the primal sound of OM.

Remember that sound shaped into a dazzling tool can make, brake or rearrange molecular structure and levitate objects. Hence, when used in a benevolent fashion the formula is FREQUENCY + INTENT = HEALING.

*Culled from www.delamora.life

The Gong : Multi Purpose Musical Instrument (Part 1)

The Gong is one of man's most powerful and oldest transformational and therapeutic instruments. It has been used for ritual, ceremony, prayer, and meditation since the Bronze Age. While its sound is relaxing and calming, centering and energizing, transforming and healing, gongs have been used in yoga, sound meditation, and vibrational therapy from the distant past to present.

When metal is being "excited", electrons become highly charged electromagnetically and form a field of Plasmon (according to the late physicist David Bohm). The plasma field is being created off the gong and the listener becomes part of the field. Metal is the only material known where the electrons leave their atoms and join other atoms. When the activity of the gong ends, the electrons go back to their original atoms. Once the gong comes to rest, the Plasmons and the energy field collapses. When the gong is revved up again the Plasmon field expands and intensifies. The participants are being electromagnetically charged in a positive, benevolent and holistic fashion. Many walk away with a natural buzz that is some case has lasted for a week.

Gongs are useful in resolving emotional and physical dissonance. Magic happens when there is no separation between the gong, the player and the listener. Playing and listening to gongs is about spiritual, physical and emotional resolution – opening of doors and windows to the Universe, moving around energies, Universal energies – to enter a spiritual dimension. The Gong is a psycho-acoustic gateway to heightened states of awareness and consciousness. It is an ideal tool for stress reduction, stimulation of the glandular system, and to break up emotional blockages. When skillfully played, gongs stimulate and resonate all cells in the human body simultaneously and recalibrate the parasympathetic nervous system (heavy arms and legs as well as a regulated heart rate during a gong meditation are a sign of the re-calibration).

The Gong generates powerful multi-dimensional ripples of sound that grow into waves and bathe your entire body in streams of sound. These have been described as otherworldly, rhythmic, generating a sense of being on vacation, unfathomable, purifying, magical, sweet – like rich, rich chocolate cake, profound, out of body, celestial and harmonic…just to name a few.

From a sacred geometry viewpoint, a circle – the gong's basic shape – represents a beginning that has no end. It is ever-expanding potential and represents our connection with the holographic nature of oneness. Throughout many traditions and cultures, it also stands as symbol for heaven, totality, perfection, unity, eternity, completeness and for inclusive harmony.
Don Conreaux, who is one of the pioneers in the use of the gong for stress reduction, healing and personal transformation best describes "The Magical Inner Space of a Gong Tone":

"The gong is known as an instrument of transformational power. It is a tool by which we are engulfed in total sound, and through our intuition, we are brought back to optimum health and balance. The gong is a supportive tool for the manifestation of our harmonious physical, mental, and emotional being. The OM tone of a gong creates total silence within. The sustained tone of a gong creates timelessness. The building of its tone combinations create a sense of levitation or lightness. It is the unique quality of a gong's resonance that integrates diverse elements into a power of synergy, or functional harmony.

We also call the tone produced by the gong a "feeling tone," because we feel it in our body, as well as hear it.

Monday, 6 June 2016

GELEDE (Concluding part)

The cloth of the mask itself functions as a measure of the owner's prestige. Since Yoruba myths connect nakedness with craziness and infancy, the more numerous the layers of cloth (which conceal nakedness) translates into a greater respect and wealth for the family who owns the costume. In addition, the elaborate textures and color between cloth layers are necessary in order to have the masker experience a "transformation." This transformation is what the Yoruba call a "miracle" – it involves the dancer completely changing the look of his costume by slipping the material 'inside out'. This is a physical part of the dance, where the dancer actually torques his body so violently that the material layers flap to show different layers of fabric, all brilliantly colored or patterned to captivate and excite the audience. The physical stamina this requires is tremendous, yet the "miracles" are performed continuously and with vigor on each occasion.

The egungun mask, given its intimate ties with ritual dancing and drumbeat, is literally impossible to appreciate behind a glass in a museum. The sterile evironment subtracts the natural festive atmosphere that gives the costume its motion and magic. Yet there is the opportunity in a museum to closely scrutinize the different layers that make up the costume. The first feature, worn next to the skin, is the undersack, made of aso oke, which is an indigo and white stripcloth. That sack, plus face netting for the face and hands, helps to completely disguise identity. Over the aso oke comes various layers of lappets, which create what researchers have named a 'breeze of blessing" when whirled about. To add even more beauty (and thereby, power) all kinds of sequins, patterns and amulets (which often hold protective medicines) also adorn the costume.

The egungun costume fits perfectly as the medium for the masker's communion with his ancestors, mainly because the transience of the colors that fly around are reminiscent of the transience of terrestrial life in the face of the eternal and continuous world of the spirits. Only men do the actual masking, but women do participate in the ritual dances by singing 'praise poems.' The style of each performance showcases the innovative freeform dancing of the performer in accordance with the drum-beats and the noise around him. A complete mastery of the egungun performance will make illusion into a reality of its own, by embellishing and transforming it through dance. Reference to origin myths is constant, bringing the past events of the given mythical story into vibrant reality once again. There is kind of a gentle fusion of worlds – the past never truly dies just as the ancestors never truly leave the world of the living to completely fend on their own.

Culled from rootsandrooted.org

Sunday, 5 June 2016

GELEDE (Part 1)

The annual Gelede festival honors the creative and dangerous powers of women elders, female ancestors, and goddesses, known affectionately as "our mothers." The Gelede headdress often consists of two parts, a lower mask and an upper superstructure. The lower mask depicts a woman's face, its composure expressing the qualities of calmness, patience, and "coolness" desired in women. The static expression and simplicity of this portion of the headdress contrasts with vitality and diversity of the superstructure. The design of the superstructure is intended to placate the mothers by displaying their inner powers for all to see, thus pleasing them and ensuring the well-being of the community. Birds signify the dangerous noctural powers of women who act as witches. Snakes symbolize the positive feminine qualities of patience and coolness. The snake coiled around the front also cautions vigilance with the saying "the snake sleeps but continues to see." Gelede artists demonstrate their artistry and mastery of the medium by developing complex imagery within the confines of the basic cylindrical mass of wood. The elaborately carved example shown here (originally painted in bright colors) exhibits many different forms and angles to view, as the dancer moves before his admiring audience.

Egungun :

A Creative Response to Death
In Egba and Egbado area, as well as many parts of Yorubaland, Odun Egungun festivals are held in communities to commemorate the ancestors. Egungun masks are performed during these annual or biennial ceremonies as well as during specific funeral rites throughout the year. The masquerade is a multifaceted ceremony which includes the making of offerings as well as the honoring of ancestors for past and future aid.

Egungun performances organized for funerary purposes mark the death of important individuals. In this context, the masks reflect a creative response to death as a time of crisis involving mourning and loss. Elaborate performances serve to commemorate the dead through the remembrance of their past life while simultaneously reinforcing the relationship between the living and the recently deceased ancestor.

Among the broad range of themes incorporated in the Egungun masks are representations of numerous societal and cultural stereotypes as well as acrobatic images in which dancers turn their clothing inside out, in part to suggest the power and distance of the ancestral world. Entertaining satirical masks depicting animals and humans are performed during the masquerade and often serve as a social commentary on the life of the community.

Historically, according to the oral history of the Oyo palace lineages, the masks may have been influenced by Nupe ancestral masks. Egungun masks are brightly painted and in the context of the masquerade, the bodies of the dancers are covered with multiple layers of sumptuous cloth. Each year, the owner of an Egungun mask will add new cloth to the layers and the number of levels of cloth serves to represent the number of years a mask has actively been performed. The use of expensive cloth and bright, imported paints suggests the sumptuousness of the world of the ancestors.

Annual or biennial egungun festivals are held by the people of southwestern Nigeria and southeastern Benin to honor their ancestors and to request blessings that these ancestors may be able to provide. The layered costume of multi-colored and textured fabrics seems a far cry from the conventional idea of a "mask," but the Yoruba's elaborate costume functions just the same. The identity of the dancer is completely concealed – including his body – and so he becomes more like the disembodied spirit of the ancestor that his dance seeks to honor. The word egungun can be translated as "powers concealed." The power and purpose of the costume only comes together in the presence of the spirit-ancestors. The job of the dancer centers around bringing the costume to flamboyant life, and to allow the egungun mask to transform his corporeal human body into something otherworldly and ethereal.

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Yoruba Culture and Tradition: 10 Cultural Taboos In Yoruba Land

Every people everywhere have their cultural ways of life and what is considered normal and acceptable for community folks in those areas. The need to sanitize the society and prevent cultural abuses has led to the establishment of cultural taboos and abominations – what people in given areas must never do to keep the society going.

The Igbos, Hausas, Ibibios, Igalas, Beroms, and every tribe in Nigeria and other parts of the world have cultural taboos; the following are those of the Yorubas and what you must never do in Yorubaland:

i. Same-sex marriage is forbidden: Americans and people in Europe may have legalized same-sex marriage – that is, gay and lesbian marriages, but it is forbidden in Yorubaland. Some people in the northern part of this country have been caught in the act of sexual union between males, but such is an abomination in Yorubaland and must never be practised.

ii. A strapped baby must never fall from its mother's back: It is an abomination in Yorubaland for a baby to fall from its mother's back. And this is why many new mothers are warned to strap their babies firmly to their back again if their baby is not well positioned. It is believed that a male child that falls from its mother's back will always lose his wife at adulthood, and a female will always have a lover die atop her when she grows up. And where a baby eventually falls from its mother's back, the mother is expected to carry out some rituals to prevent evil from happening to the child when it grows.

iii. Suicide is an abomination: Committing suicide is an abomination in Yorubaland, and a dangling body must not be lowered down until some sacrifices are performed to appease the gods. Even at that, the body of such individual will be buried in the evil forest and outside town to avoid the anger of the gods. The family of an individual that commits suicide will be tainted forever in the community.

iv. Pregnant women must never walk the streets in broad daylight: What this means is that pregnant women must not go about the streets or go to the market or go to the stream when the sun is high up at its zenith – between 12 pm – 3 pm when the sun is at its brightest. It is believed that evil spirits roam the town when the sun is at its brightest and they could enter into a pregnant woman, making her to give birth to deformed babies.

v. Whistling at night is forbidden: Men and women are not allowed to whistle at nights in Yorubaland. Whistling at nights is believed to invite demons and evil spirits into the house to torment people. Additionally, it is believed that whistling could attract snakes and reptiles into the house at night.

vi. Adultery is forbidden: It is forbidden for married women to commit adultery with another man who is not their husbands. This taboo is more critical against women than against men, so it is highly frowned upon for a wife to cheat on her husband. A man that suspects that his wife is cheating could be tempted to lace her with magun, and this would lead to the death of her adulterous lover.

vii. A king must never look inside his royal crown: It is an abomination for a king in Yorubaland to look into the inside of his royal crown. A king must wear a crown but he must never peer into it. The day he does it is the day he will join his ancestors. Kings could be allowed to do this if they insist on committing suicide.

viii. Corpse of a person that drowns must not be brought for burial at home: What this means is that the corpse of a person who dies in a river must be buried near the river, and the corpse of a person who falls from a tree must be buried at the base of the tree. Bringing their corpses home is believed to irk the gods who may cause people to die without causes.

ix. A king must never prostrate for anyone again in his entire life: A royal king is considered a demi-god in Yorubaland and he must never prostrate to greet anyone in his entire life.

x. Eating of cats, dogs, pigs are forbidden: It is generally considered unclean to consume dog meat, pork, and cat meat among others. While many Yorubas will never taste dog meat but gladly consume African rabbit (Okete), the Ondo people considers Okete an abomination but will gladly eat dog meat with relish.

*Culled from www.nigerianbulletin.com

Traditional Marriage Rites In Edo State, Nigeria (Concluding part)

The wedding

The wedding takes place in the house of the bride's family. It is a special day where people come from far and near to rejoice with the couples.

There is usually a lot to eat and drink on this day. Kolanuts and wine are presented to guests and the ceremony is presided by the Okaegbe (head of the family).

The bride is normally placed on the father's lap during the ceremony and prayers of all sorts are made. After the prayers and conclusion of the Iwanien Omo (wedding ceremony ), the bride who is now called Ovbioha is then escorted to the husband's house along with her properties, by her friends and close family members.

In the husband's house, they would be a lot of eating, dancing and merriment as they await the new wife. On getting to the house, a message would be brought to the husband that there are obstacles on the road preventing her from entering. To remove these obstacles known as
Urghunghun, the husband would have to part away with some amount of money to allow the wife to enter into his house.

This will immediately be followed by the washing of the bride's feet with water placed in a bowl together with money. This ceremony is called Ikpobo-Ovbioha.
It is usually performed by one of the senior wife in the bride's family. A new head tie would be used to wash the bride's hand in the bowl and it would be given to the bride together with the money.

Post-Wedding

In strictly traditional homes, the bride would be taken to the family alter to offer prayer to her. After some days, the bride's mother in-law will visit the new couple together with some female members of the family to confirm if the wife is truly a virgin.

This is usually done by checking for blood stain on the bed spread the couples had their first sexual intercourse. The wife would be given gift items if it was confirmed that she is truly a virgin, if otherwise she would have to go through a ceremony known as Ivihen -oath taking.

She would have to confess the number of men she slept with to the grooms's mother and other elderly women in attendants; this would not be revealed to the husband.

After this, the wife would then be taking to the family shrine to take an oath of fidelity, it is after this oath-taking that she is finally accepted into the family.

*Culled from www.infoguidenigeria.com

Friday, 3 June 2016

Traditional Marriage Rites In Edo State, Nigeria (Part 1)

Marriage is a respected institution in Nigeria, hence every woman of marriageable age look up to it. Traditional marriage in Nigeria has deep cultural values that have been looked upon with respect and honour.

Every tribe in Nigeria has its own unique marriage rites and but the people of Edo have been able to create one of the most glamorous marriage ceremonies in Nigeria.

I will take you through what it takes to marry a bride in Edo state; the bride price to be paid and every other details involved.

What You Should Know About The People Of Edo State

*Edo state, Nigeria is one of the six southern states in Nigeria. It is bordered to the north and east by Kogi state, south by Delta and west by Ondo state. The capital of Edo state is Benin city.

*Edo and Delta states were formerly part of Bendel but it was later divided in August 1991.

*Edo state has existed for a very long time and its origin can be traced as far back as 15th century. Edo state used to be part of the Benin empire; one of the powerful empires that existed in Nigeria.

*The inhabitants of Edo are popularly referred to as ogodomido . In ancient Edo, they operate a form of government known as owere ; community of elders. In this type of government, the most senior man is chosen to be the leader of the tribe. He is referred to as odionwere (elder of the community).

*The present Edo state used to be the seat of power of the Benin Empire. The empire stretched from Benin republic to Niger Delta, Onitsha in the east and the north west of River Niger.
The fall of the Benin Empire in 1897 by the British forces will eventually pave way for the amalgamation of the southern and northern protectorate forming Nigeria.

Traditional Marriage Rites In Edo State

In early times, Edo girls usually get married between the ages of 15 to 18 but that has changed now with education and civilization.

The traditional marriage rites in Edo state will be discussed under three sub-headings;

1. Pre-wedding

2. Wedding

3. Post-wedding

Pre-Wedding

Every Edo girl of marriageable age, always seeks to marry a responsible and hardworking man who will not only love and cherish her but will provide support for her financially, morally and physically.

It is also every parent's dream, to give out their daughter to an eligible suitor on a day regarded as sacrosanct for both families.

In Edo state, it was the practice of parents to go looking for brides for their sons, a system known as the betrothal system. But nowadays, the couples can meet each other anywhere and develop affection for each other. Courtship normally proceed before the marriage and can last from a year to as long as they are ready to marry.

In the past, when a girl is born, parents of likely suitors normally make their intention known to the parent of the girl by bringing items such as log of wood or yams in bundle.

After the man has officially presented the woman he intends to marry to his parents, and they are in agreement to his choice of partner, messages are then exchanged between both families. This is often known as Ivbuomo; meaning seeking for a bride.

During this period, series of investigation are carried out about both families' background. Investigation carried out would include disease condition in the family, incidence of any crime committed and any other information that might become a problem for the couples in the future.

After this has been dealt with, discussion for the dowry can then begin. The groom's families would also decide on what to present to the bride's mother as well as other members of the family.

The final terms of agreement will conclude with fixing of the date for the wedding.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Fulani - Marriage and Family

Fulani - Marriage and Family

Marriage. Ideally, the Fulani do not practice birth control because the perfect or model Fulani marriage will produce many children. Toward that goal, the Fulani marry young. No special value is placed on virginity, and women are not
shy about boasting about their various experiences. In fact, the Fulani expect young women to bring sexual experience to marriage. There are even special
dances in which women select mates, with the proviso that the mate selected not be her fiancé or a particular category of relative—one to whom she could be affianced, for example.

At the same time, a woman is expected to display appropriate modesty whenever the subject of marriage arises, for marriage confers on her a special status. There has been some confusion regarding what constitutes the marriage ceremony among the Fulani. Because neither bride nor groom may be present at the ceremony, owing to shame-avoidance taboos, the significance of the cattle ceremony ( koowgal ) has often been overlooked. In that ceremony, the bride's father transfers one of his herd to the groom, legalizing the marriage. There may also follow a more typical Islamic ceremony, termed kabbal Again, neither bride nor groom may actually be present at the ceremony.

An important public acknowledgment of the marriage is the movement of the bride to her husband's village, termed
bangal. The women of that village come to greet her, and the welcome is a rite of passage for the bride. The bride's status increases with each child she has, especially with the birth of males.

The Fulani prefer endogamy. Their first choice of a marriage partner is a patrilateral parallel cousin. If that is not possible, their other choices are for the partners to share a great-grandfather, a great-great grandfather, or a patrilateral cross cousin.

Domestic Unit. A man is allowed four wives. Each wife brings cattle with her to the marriage. It is a major obligation for a woman to milk the cattle and prepare the dairy products. A woman receives respect from her sons and daughters-in-law.
Inheritance. Lineage members inherit cattle and widows. Among Town Fulani, inheritance generally follows Islamic prescriptions, with the exception that generally women do not contest their inheritance with their full brothers.

Socialization. At 2 years of age, children are weaned. A child's father remains distant throughout its life. Women provide for children's needs. Thus, a mother and her daughters tend to the needs of her sons. A young girl first plays at carrying dolls on her back and then moves on to carrying her baby brother.

Among the Pastoral Fulani, baby girls are given amulets for fertility and boys for virility. Mothers take care to preserve and shape their children's conformity to the Fulani ideal notions of beauty. Mothers attempt to lengthen their children's noses by pressing them between their fingers, stretching, and squeezing hard. They also attempt to shape their children's heads into the ideal round shape.

Acquiring a culture is perceived as acquiring something that is found. The Fulani term is tawaangal. There is a sense that no one invented nor can change these traditions, for they define what it is to be Fulani.

Young children are treated with great gentleness and are rarely disciplined. Adults seek to avoid giving them any emotional shocks. Most training is given by a child's mother and the other women of the compound. They are believed to be more capable of patience and reciprocity. Young girls are initiated into their adult work through games. The young girl carries her doll. At 2 or 3 years old her ears are pierced, six holes in her right ear and six in her left. Almost as soon as she can walk well, she is placed into the middle of a circle of dancing women who begin to teach her to dance and praise her efforts lavishly.

Indeed, the transition to adulthood proceeds in smooth steps. At about 5 years of age, girls are taught the rules of the moral code -mbo. There are to be no sexual relations of any kind with brothers. A woman may not look at her fiancé in the face. She must demonstrate respect for elders and must never mention her future parents-in-law. Women have two essential roles in Fulani society, that of sister and daughter. Either at her naming ceremony or just before she leaves her father's home for her husband's, a woman's father presents her with a heifer. There is shame for a man on entering his daughter's home; however, the strong
affection he demonstrates for his grandchildren is meant to show his affection for his daughter as well.

Young boys play at taking care of the cattle and performing men's work. Mothers come to rely more on sons than on daughters because daughters will leave the compound upon marriage.

*Culled from www.everyculture.com

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