Iwo Festival: The Ikale tribe age-long annual festival that must not be witnessed by women
Iwo festival is an annual celebration across the Ikale tribe of Ondo State and some part of Ogun State in Ogun Waterside Local Government. The Ikale people are the major inhabitants of Okitipupa Local Government, in Ondo State with more than 90% of the residents in the Local Government.
The Ikale people are famous for their distinctive dialect, unique tradition, and agricultural skills. They are popular for production of Palm oil and latex rubber from their large plantations scared across the local government and beyond.
The most popular festival in Ikale land is the Iwo festival and it comes up once annually around June and July. The festival has become so popular that people from outside Nigeria, far and wide come home during the period to witness it.
The festival is celebrated simultaneously in all the towns and villages under the Ikale tribe. When it is time for the celebration of Iwo Festival proper, females are to remain indoor as the festival must not be witnessed by them.
On the days set aside for the celebration of Iwo festival, the people see it as public holiday as nobody will be working on such day. Families will gather with their friends to merry and celebrate during the period. The popular food for the occasion are Pounded Yam and the famous traditional black soup(Marugbo).
The Head of each family will invite their friends and well-wishers to their homes to celebrate with them. Kids will play around on that day and enjoy their one day holiday.
After the eating and drinking, the community leaders will signal to the town criers to signal the gong when its almost dusk for ladies to retire early into their rooms. The females already knows the message and they will retire to their rooms with their daughters as its the traditional for many years.
Minutes after the ladies have gone indoor, men will be told to go inside to ascertain whether the female members of their family are indoor and fine. After the confirmation, the men will then head to the community’s river to appease the gods as its the tradition.
After the successful completion of the rite at the rivers, the men will proceed to the communities dancing and singing in celebration of another year, the town criers will sound the gong again and the females can then step out of their rooms and the celebration will continue until the next day.
Social Life of the Ikale People
The Ikale tribe is one of the most accommodating tribes in Nigeria with people from all parts of the country and neighboring Benin Republic and Ghana working and marrying their sons and daughters in the tribe.
They have different socio-cultural groups which bring the people together and strengthen their relationships from generation to generation.
The major source of income for the Ikale people is farming as they are blessed with very good and fertile land for farming. The Spirit of hardworking is in every Ikale man’s gene and stealing, laziness and every form of social vices are frowned on by the elders and parents in Ikale dominated communities as they try to preserve the tribe’s culture, value, and traditions.
Okitipupa Local Government,the home of the Ikale people is one of the six local governments that made up the Ondo South Senatorial District.
The Ikale people are known for their tactical involvement in political participation and they have produce House of Representatives Members, Senator, Ministers, and Governor in Ondo State.
The most popular towns dominated by the Ikale people are Okitipupa, Erinje, Ilututun, Igbotako, and Irele.