IGUE 2016 SCHEDULE
BENIN TRADITIONAL COUNCIL OBA PALACE, BENIN CITY
HIS ROYAL MAJESTY OMO N’OBA EWUARE ll ,
PRESS RELEASE: END OF POST-CORONATION EVENTS
This is to inform the general public that His Royal majesty, Omo N’Oba N’Edo, UKU Akpolokpo, Oba Ewuare ll, Oba of Benin, will celebrate Igue-Festival to the end post – Coronation event according to the following programme
15 December -Ekasa will end ongoing spiritual performances
27 – December (Ekioba)Igue-Oba
29 December, Agbado)-Igue Ivbioba
31 December (Ekioba) Igue-Edohia.
the public should kindly note that the Omo n’Oba will participate in the Ekasa spiritual dance on the 15 of December,2016
we use this medium to remind the general public and appeal to them that celebration of funeral rites are not permitted during this period of this royal festival (15-31 December 2016 )we pray God should keep death from people’s home
Iselogbe-Ogbema vbe Dia ru. Oba gha t’okpee
Excerpt From Kings, Magic & Medicine
GOD of The HEAD (Uhunmwun) By Chief Dr. Daryl M. Peavy JD
In the Edo religion, the part of the human anatomy known as the head was more than a physical organ that contained thoughts. The Edo people believed that the Head was a deity and served as a medium to deliver prayers to God Almighty (Ero 2003: 46). Through the Head, access to God Almighty, along with attributes such as divine wisdom, knowledge and power were available. The Head was of paramount importance to personal destiny and success. The Head also contained the spirit of the body.
It was the Head, accompanied by the soul (orhion), that was in heaven and knelt before God Almighty (Ero 2003: 42). It was through the Head that a person spoke to God Almighty while in heaven and asked for blessings. The Head determined how long a person would live on earth, what type of profession would be undertaken and the degree of success. The Head was the king of the body (Ero 2005: 42).
It was the Head that controlled all of the bodily functions and directed and nourished the body. Without the Head, the body would be useless (Ero 2005: 42). Thought originated in the Head. The manifestations of thought and accomplishments in the Head were achieved secondarily through the actions of the body.
Therefore, the body was the Head’s tool. The Head directed the body to create artistic works, and skilled performances. The Head enabled the athlete to perform wonders. It was the Head that instructed the body to discipline itself. The Head contained the brain, man’s most important organ. The brain stored thoughts, memories and was the throne of the consciousness. The Head was the seat of learning, intelligence and wisdom. Language emanated from the Head. The ability of a speaker to captivate and awe an audience was derived from the Head.
It was the Head that gave people clear thinking, focus, and direction. The Head contained the mystical aspects of human personality. The Head interpreted life and the world around us. If a person was successful, it was because he had a good Head (uhunoma) (Ero 2005: 42). A good Head (uhunoma) contributed to accomplishments in business, education, relationships, health and wealth.
Kings and chiefs worshipped the attributes of the Head in carvings called commemorative heads (uhunmwun elao) on their personal altars. Sacrifices to the Head were offered specifically on two occasions: first, to avoid personal hardships, and second, at the New Year’s festival (Igue). If a person had been experiencing hardship in their lives, a native doctor would be consulted to determine the cause.
If it was determined that a person’s hardship had been a result of a bad Head, the native doctor would prescribe a sacrifice to the Head (ru unhunmwun). The native doctor would have recommended a sacrifice of a white fowl, kolanut, white chalk, coconut and other items depending on the patient’s social status. The person could serve his own Head or have a native doctor perform the ritual. Sacrificing or serving the head was a ritual practice that involved a series of steps.
According to Rosen, one of the sacrifices that the native doctor would perform included taking a spotted pigeon or white hen, white or red kolanut, and white chalk (Galembo 1993: 34-35). The native doctor would cut the white coconut flesh into thirty strips and one round piece. The native doctor would place the round piece on a white plate with the strips circling it similar to a sunburst.
The native doctor would wash the ground beneath the plate and allow it to dry. After the ground dried, the native doctor would draw four parallel lines with chalk and enclose them in a circle. He then placed some chalk on the client’s forehead, at the base of the back of the neck, and in front of the ears and had the client pray to his Head while splitting the kolanut. The client then placed the kolanut on his forehead. Subsequently, the client repeated the process with white coconut flesh. T
he native doctor would proceed with touching the fowl to the client’s head, sacrificing the fowl, and placing its blood on the forehead (Galembo 1993: 34-35). The Edo believed that a sacrifice of native chalk to the Head brought rich blessings and was a sign of ritual purity. The blood sacrifice was also a vital component to worshipping the Head, for the Edo believed that the blood sacrifice brought vital force to a person. The patient making the sacrifice would pray for divine wisdom, knowledge and power for the New Year.
While making the sacrifice the patient would pray “to hear good news through his ears, to see good things with his eyes and to have power, strength and zeal to go through all odds through the New Year” (Ero 2003: 46). There were also other annual festivals for the Head. One of the public festivals in which the Head was worshiped was
called Igue Oba. The word Igue had multiple meanings including, sacrificing to the Head, to give thanks for successes in the past and to wish for success in the New Year (Ero 46).
The Igue Oba festival involved making sacrifice to the kings’ Head. The king appeared in public to celebrate the Igue Oba festival with his chiefs. Igue Oba was an annual festival where the King of Edo (Benin) made sacrifices to his Head in order to become blessed, renew divinity, and secure the well-being of the nation (Ero 2003: 26). Native doctors fortified the king with protective medicines to ward off evil spirits. The Edo completed Igue Oba festival by joyously dancing, singing, glorifying and praising God Almighty and the king’s Head for blessings in the upcoming New Year.
It was also paramount for the king to have a good Head in order to rule effectively. The other festival was for sacrificing to one’s personal Head (Igue Edohia). The Edo people performed the more personal Igue Edohia festival in their homes at the end of the year (Ero 2003: 60). They believed that performing Igue Edohia would bring prosperity to their individual lives. While at home, they would go through the failures of the past year and ask the Head to dispense with the bad karma and begin the New Year aright with good energy.
The supplicant would make “fresh vows for success, wealth, good health and longevity” (Ero 2003: 48). The supplicant would pray for “foresight, foreknowledge, predetermination and vision to solve all problems”. The prayer would be extended to his wife, children, relatives and friends (Ero 2003:48). According to Ero, the family members would sing a song that stated “The Igue of my father is a blessing, the Igue of my mother is a blessing, the Igue of the Edo people is a blessing” (2003: 61).
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