Ikate, a community situated on the Lekki-Ajah axis of Lagos state came alive on Wednesday for the celebration of the annual Elegba festival.
The week-long festival presided over by the reigning King from the, Elegushi royal family is always celebrated with so much excitement by the sons and daughters of the community from both far and near.
The annual celebration of the Elegba festival, is dedicated to Elegba or Esu Elegba which is regarded among the Yoruba as the deity that makes things happen, whether good or bad.
For this years’s edition, the festival kicked off at the Elegba shrine, a mini-stadium called Agbo Elegba where elaborate sacrifices were performed to appease the deities. Painted in glittering white colour, residents say the Agbo Elegba has been with the people of Ikate from time immemorial.
The long train of guests, priests and other participants which left the Elegushi Royal Palace for the Agbo Elegba to officially declare open this year’s festival were led by the Elegushi of Ikateland, Oba Saheed Ademola Elegushi Kusenla III.
While Oba Elegushi wore the ceremonial white clothes as required by tradition, all other sons and daughters of the community present at the event, left the upper parts of their bodies bare during the festival. The men came out with loin clothes around their waists, while the women tied theirs up to the chest.
The Oba was accompanied by visiting traditional rulers from far and near as well as many white cap chiefs from within and outside Ikate on the walk from his palace to the Agbo Elegba.
The ceremony started with the Ikunlepabi, as the rites were referred to, are very crucial aspects of the ceremony. The people believe the outcome of the breaking of kolanuts determines whether the deities are pleased with the people or not.
Among the items offered to the deities, were Lobes of kolanuts which were then broken and presented to the deities in sacrifice before being brought to the king, by a group of young men who acted as intermediates between the diviner, and he performed all the rites in the inner chambers of the shrine, while the king and his people who sat outside, were waiting patiently to hear from the deities.
Before the close of proceedings, the young men made about a dozen shuttle between the Oba seated at the open arena and the diviner concealed in his chamber.
Soon, the big gong was beaten to declare the rites for the commencement of the week long celebration, scheduled to hold from wednesday 4th of April to Tuesday 10th of April 2018 completed and successful.
At the sound of the ancient gong, the Oba and his people burst into songs as they danced in jubilation.
The rites over, the elated king and his council rose and retired to another inner chamber on the premises, to wait for the masquerades that came much later to celebrate with the people
Speaking to Happenings Media, the Elegushi of Ikateland, HRM Oba Saheed Ademola Elegushi, Kusenla III, explained that the essence of the festival is to bring peace and fortune to the people of Ikateland.
He further prayed for the participants, Guests, Lagosians and the Country at large.
Elegba festival is celebrated by the descendants of Olofin, the progeniter of the original founders of Lagos state, to mark the beginning of a new year and ensure peace in their community.