Are you looking for the fruits of the womb, seeking for job, wants healing or wants to solve your marital or any problem?. Go to Egungun Festival in Ijero Ekiti , submit yourselves to flogging by the Egunguns, or Egungun Aje or Oko Egungun and you will give testimonies the following year!. It is real. taiwoabiodun.com reports
Masquerades beating / thrashing spectators
Ijero -Ekiti ended their seven days of their Ogun/Egungun festival where people voluntarily submitted themselves to be flogged by Masquerades
It was exciting but painstaking .It was fun but a painful one. These masquerades of different ages , sizes and status flogged women and men , young men and ladies irrespective of their status and conditions .
The Masquerades flogged those looking for the fruits of the womb. They whipped those looking for job, or having marital problems and seeking solutions to their problems .
No, the Masquerades did not use their power or force . Those flogged willingly and happily submitted themselves for flogging , yes they voluntarily released themselves for whipping or caning by these Masquerades. These ‘victims’ happily received their ”blessings” in good faith and thanked their stars for having the opportunity of being flogged as they prayed along .
RESULTS FROM THE FLOGGINGS
Yes, the following year those flogged would come back to tell stories of joy , give testimonies of the blessings they received from the floggings from the Masquerades.Many said they had babies, got jobs, promoted at work among others. It is real , not a story. That is how the Ijero- Ekiti in Ekiti State celebrate their Egungun festival annually .
Ajero of Ijero
Watching the over 500 Masquerades comprising the young and middle- aged ones as they all trooped out in their number with their long canes. They were all ‘dressed’ in their palm-fronds and covered their faces with different types of well -carved wooden masks. It was interesting .
On that day they shook the town to its foundation as they were everywhere , they danced round the town with their canes .They ran around like a spirit-possessed man,they pursued their spectators and visitors while the the metals on their ankles would be making sound .At a time they all gathered and said loud prayers in their native language .This has become an annual ritual as individuals pray for the town.
For Ijero Ekiti, the Ogun/ Egungun festival lasted for seven days as the townsmen or natives irrespective of their religious belief went into frenzy in their wild jubilation believing their ancestors have come from the world beyond to deliver them and solve their problems . Visitors, natives from far and near were present to witness the historic festival which had been in practice for over 1,000years.
According to Joshua Oyewande Olukolade , one of the community leaders ” the festival lasts for seven days and it has been on for over 1,000 years.It brings the sons and daughters of the town together , people come from United Kingdom , United States of America and from far and near to watch and especially for prayer which is efficacious .Now I came with some of my friends from Enugu to witness this historic festival”.
Abiodun, Femi and Oyewande watching the activities
EGUNGUNS ARE OUR ANCESTORS FROM HEAVEN
Narrating how it started, the town’s monarch and head of the community Oba Joseph Adebayo Adewole the Ajero of Ijero stated ”This festival is called Ogun/ Egungun festival, we spent two weeks in preparation for it for the farmers would be at home to observe Ogun for they use Ogun’s implements like cutlass, hoes, and iron materials in their farm .That is why the Ijero sons and and daughters would come home to celebrate and another means of re-union of families. And our new calendar year starts when we ends the Ogun festival. Some communities only worshiped masquerades whereas we do worship both Ogun and Masquerades together and it is only Ijero that observes that in Yoruba land!”, the monarch boasted .
On the Egungun festival the monarch said “For the Egungun festival we believed our forefathers came from heaven to stay with us for seven days and after the seven days they go back to heaven where they came from. And when sending them off all sons and daughters, visitors and friends would raise their voices to high heavens and pray, ask for whatever they want and for the progress of the town.The significance is to celebrate our ancestors and assess ourselves, improve on ourselves and move forward.”
Abiodun during the interview
EGUNGUN AJE OR AKO EGUNGUN
Among over 500 masquerades is the most powerful one called ‘ Egungun Aje , or Ako Egungun which is known to be very powerful and highly efficacious in prayer .According to the custodian of the Egungun Aje ,High Chief Samuel Obafemi the Aasan of Ijero of Ijero Ekiti, ” I am the custodian of Ako Egungun also known as Egungun Aje , and in Yorubaland it is only the Ijeros that have this type of masquerade which is in Ijero Ekiti here .It has been existence for over 1,000 years and ordinary person cannot wear it , whoever wears it has to be from the family of Egungun Aje or Ako Egungun and must be initiated into it .The Aje Masquerade (Ako Egungun) has and holds a long spiritual cane he uses to cane people to receive blessing”. According to Obafemi , it is a blessing if one is caned by the Egungun for it is believed the cane has both physical and spiritual healing thus many begged him to be flogged by Ako Egungun“.
Custodian of Egungun Aje
Corroborating Obafemi, Oyewande said ” Yes ,it is true , we call the cane Esisan and is being used , and the people holding them are families of Asosanyin .It is the biggest masquerade and his cane is believed to be effective for any blessing so people even begged him to cane them.There is no bitterness in flogging people with it rather they offered themselves to be caned .It is believed that when one is caned by Egungun Aje this year he would be praying to be caned next year .If it is a woman looking for the fruits of the womb and she is being whipped by the masquerade that means her prayers has been answered for she would bring her baby next year , many can testify to this, go and do the research ” , he boasted .
HOW EGUNGUN AJE CAME TO BE
On how Egungun Aje came to be , the monarch explained ”in the days of yore when children were falling sick and were dying our forefathers brought Egungun Aje out to come and rescue the town and it cured people and released them from bondage. So those who fell sick were healed while progress came to the town and it waded off calamity from the land.That is why we have been celebrating and worshiping Egungun Aje , we also called it Ako Egungun ( husband of all the Egunguns ).
On that evening the arrival of Egungun Aje charged everywhere as there was huge cries of happiness of his arrival while many ran to him to be whipped with his cane. Many begged him to cane him. A young man , Yemi Olutayo said he offered himself to be caned to receive his ( Aje Egungun) blessing .” I am glad for having the opportunity to cane me , it is a physical and spiritual blessing .I know he has answered my prayers and my life cannot be the same again as things will improve for me next year”.
VIP women in the town at the festival
Princess Iya Seyi ( aka Iya Sewooo) said ” I struggled to get to where Egungun Aje is but the crowd was too much , but I have prayed with his name to let me grow old and let my business flourish “
They all waited patiently till 8pm for the arrival of Egungun Aje or Ako Egungun to remove his mask.They raised their voices and prayed .And immediately the Egungun Aje removed his mask, they all jubilated believing their prayers had been answered.
As if they were congregation in the church the over 20,000 people who thronged the place raised up their voices and started praying in the name of Egungun Aje , to the surprise of this reporter .
Dr.Femi Ayo Ajai , who came from Aramoko Ekiti said ” it is a belief and I must confess to you all their prayers had been answered .That is why people come all the way from America, London and all places to receive blessings from Egungun Aje .I have never for once missed this festival ,It is interesting and adventurous”.
At 8 o’clock in the evening ( Sunday ) over 20,000 spectators including the monarchs from the neighboring towns and chiefs waited to receive prayers from Egungun Aje and everywhere went wild .Prayers were offered and immediately the Egungun Aje removed the wooden mask from his face to be seen , it was all over .And while many dispersed others were glued to where they were standing, praying!.
Who knows Egungun Aje might answer your prayers , so make sure you do not only witness the Festival next time but also allow the Masquerades to flog you and be free from your bondage.