Masquerades are key figures during Nigerian festivities, and they have lots of admirers in the country. Several Nigerian cultures believe that they stand for ancestors, while others feel they are gods. Whatever the case, check out the Most popular masquerades from across the various Nigerian tribes:
12 to 15 ft tall, the Ijele masquerade is popular among Igbos. It is the biggest masquerade that is mostly found in Anambra and Enugu States, Nigeria. This masquerade comprises 2 segments: the upper and the lower segments, and it divides at the centre by a large python, mostly built with colourful materials and sticks. About one hundred men and sixty days are needed to prepare this masquerade for any appearance.
There are several forms of masquerades in South Western states in Nigeria, but this particular one is unique. Lagos State residents should be used to it, and it only comes out during the Eyo festival. They appear in groups, and they all move with a traditional iconic staff named “Opambata.”
These masquerades are believed to be spiritual beings that returned to the land of the living. Efik, Ibibio, and Anang people living in Cross River and Akwa Ibom should be familiar with it. They move with scary black face masks and a straw body. They are so terrifying that, at times, their faces are even as large as the body.
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This masquerade is popular among the Efiks. Not only because of its spiritual or cultic functions but also because the institution was a pre-colonial police and judiciary system. Its appearance is always colourful and memorable.
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