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Igbo Masquerades

Mmanwu is a traditional masquerade of the Igbo people of Southeastern Nigeria. They are performed only by males in exclusive secret societies and involve the use of elaborate, colorful costumes that are meant to invoke ancestral spirits.
What is the meaning of Ijele in Igbo?

A submission from Nigeria says the name Ijele means “Ijele in Igbo land refers to one of the greatest masquerades, well-known for its dignity and grace. It is highly respected and adored. Conotatively, we use Ijele to refer to a person of honour and dignity”.
What masquerade means?

a party, dance, or other festive gathering of persons wearing masks and other disguises, and often elegant, historical, or fantastic costumes. a costume or disguise worn at such a gathering. false outward show; façade; pretense: a hypocrite’s masquerade of virtue.
What is a masquerade festival?

Masquerades (Mmanwu) are held in accordance with the community native calendars during festivals, annual festivities, burial rites and other social gatherings. The masquerades are geared in colourful robes and masks made of wood or fabric. Some masks appear only at one festival, but the majority appears at many or all.

What is a masquerade in Africa?

Masquerades are multimedia events that often include not one but several masked dancers embodying various spirits. For example, annual Egungun masquerades bring the ancestors back to town dressed in sumptuous cloths.
What is masquerade in Yoruba?

Egungun, (egúngún with Yorùbá language tone marks) in the broadest sense is any Yoruba masquerade or masked, costumed figure. More specifically, it is a Yoruba masquerade for ancestor reverence, or the ancestors themselves as a collective force.
What does Ijele Nwanyi mean?

Ijele-Nwanyi Is An Igbo-Priestess Who Is On An Infinite Journey. Ije Means Journey, Ele Means Infinity, And Nwanyi Is A Woman.
What’s the purpose of a masquerade?

Masquerades include lots of music and dancing. They are used for entertainment purposes as well as in celebrating rituals, such as the rites of passage and speaking to the dead as in the African tradition and cultural heritage.

What is Egungun dance?

Egungun is a visible manifestation of the spirits of departed ancestors who periodically revisit the human community for remembrance, celebration, and blessings. … The appearance of Egungun in a community is invariably accompanied by pomp and pageantry, drumming and dancing, singing and celebration.


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