The Uzoiyi Festival Of Umuoji People
Every year, the Umuoji people in Idemili area of Anambra State, celebrate their well-known Uzoiyi festival. This amazing event features the masquerade performances of all 23 villages in the town on a stadium. The event highlights the wonderful artistic and cultural way of life of the people. Young and old Umuoji people have long taken delight in the joy and splendour of this noble tradition.
The Uzoiyi festival is held in adoration of Idemili, a river goddess. In Ideapkulu stream, the goddess resides. The veneration of the river deity has immense meaning. The majority of the Umuoji people's forefathers were farmers.
To enable a fruitful farming season and a plentiful crop, they sought an abundance of rainfall. The ancestors' faith in the river goddess developed as a result of their hope that the goddess would use her supernatural abilities to guarantee them enough rain for their farming season. The festival is held in honour of the river goddess in order to encourage rain, which will ensure a successful farming season. To placate the deity, a sacrifice is offered.
The Masquerades of Uzoiyi festival consists mainly of Animal Masquerades drawn from the twenty three villages of the community and the animal Masquerades display attributes which the life animals are known for.
Photo credits: Nairaland Forum
The locals therefore begin cultivating after the festivity.