One of the most important celebrations in Ishan land is the Ighele festival. It is celebrated in Ewu every year in June and is significant to the people of Ewu because they believe Ighele brings peace and prosperity.
In addition, the celebration honours Ewa’s forefathers and mothers.
The historical background of Ighele is largely unknown. The sole mythology accessible is based on Ewu’s traditional legacy, which states that the festival has been held for years by Ewu’s forebears, and that the current generation must continue to celebrate it in order to maintain Ewu’s cultural history.
The event used to be a big deal, but with the advent of Christianity and other religions the festival’s vibrancy is dwindling. There are fears that the festival will be abandoned someday.
About a week before the celebration, the shrine’s surrounding area is cleansed and beautifully decorated in the Ighele custom.
The celebration begins with a stunning outfit. Both young girls and grown-ups look their best. The wearing of gold trinkets is prevalent, and those who can buy coral beads do so as well. This young girl dances around town with the adult women.
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Some of Ighele’s songs sound a lot like Okere (warriAwankere )’s festival song and Uzairue’s Agiele festival song (Etsako).
Some women purposely display their attractiveness while the dancers trot along in procession. According to Ighele tradition, men are not permitted to challenge women. This ‘women’s day’ tradition is not new in many parts of the country or the world.
Men, in most situations, enjoy such Ighele songs and, to show their traditional appreciation, the men folk of the society give out gifts. The second day of the celebration is designated as ‘men’s day’ in order to restore balance to human nature.
On this day, males of all ages who are physically capable dance about the town, displaying their attractiveness while they do so. The festival comes to a close with a dancing scene and a collective dance procession to Ighele’s shrine. All participants pay a special tribute there.
Thrashing is also a part of the Ighele event. During the occasion, there is sumptuous feasting, and males who believe they are pain-proof offer themselves for thrashing. At a certain point during the festivities, those who participate in the celebration smear themselves with charcoal.
Though there are numerous interpretations of charcoal smearing, it is a symbol of men’s vanity. Because Ighele is also a celebration of “evergreen memory.” The smearing of charcoal on the dancers’ bodies suggests that they are probable ancestors.