The Eyo Festival

The Eyo Festival, otherwise known as the Adamu Orisha Play, is a Yoruba festival unique to Lagos, Nigeria.The word “Eyo” is also sometimes used to refer to the costumed dancers, known as the masquerades that come out during the festival. The origins of this observance are found in the inner workings of the secret societies of Lagos. Back in the days, The Eyo festival was held to escort the soul of a departed Lagos King or Chief and to usher in a new king.The white-clad Eyo masquerades represent the spirits of the dead, and are referred to in Yoruba as “agogoro Eyo” meaning Tall Eyo. A full week before the festival which is always on a sunday, the ‘senior’ eyo group, the Adimu who are identified by a black, broad-rimmed hat, goes public with a staff. When this happens, it means the event will take place on the following Saturday. Each of the four other ‘important’ groups — The Laba (Red), The Oniko (yellow),The Ologede (Green) and The Agere (Purple) — take their turns in that order from Monday to Thursday. In modern times, it has been presented by the people of Lagos as a tourist event and, due to its history, is traditionally performed on Lagos Island.


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