The city of Lagos will come alive this Saturday 20th,May. The 2017 Eyo Festival is organized to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Lagos state tagged Lagos@50 and also the passing away of His Royal Majesty Late Oba Alayeluwa Yekini Adeniyi Elegushi, the 20th Oba Elegushi Of Ikate Land.
The word “Eyo” also refers 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 is held to escort the soul of a departed Lagos King or Chief and to usher in a new king. It is widely believed that the play is one of the manifestations of the customary African revelry that serves as the forerunner of the modern Carnival in Brazil.
On Eyo Day, the main highway in the heart of the city (from the end of Carter Bridge to Tinubu Square) is closed to traffic, allowing for procession from Idumota to the Iga Idunganran palace. The white-clad Eyo masquerades represent the spirits of the dead, and are referred to in Yoruba as “agogoro Eyo” (literally: “tall Eyo”).
The first procession in Lagos was on the 20th of February, 1854, to commemorate the life of the Oba Akintoye . Here, the participants all pay homage to the reigning Oba of Lagos. The festival takes place whenever occasion and tradition demand, though it is usually held as part of the final burial rites of a highly regarded chief in the king’s court.