Ojionu Masquerade: Spirit Incarnate in Performance

L. O. Molinta Enendu


This paper examines one of the most fascinating social masquerade institutions in Igbo culture, in Nigeria. The masquerade institution is seen as an anthropological continuum, manifesting in the people’s long tradition of developed performance and festivities. The Ojionu masquerade, as an example of one of such numerous dynamic and virile masquerades, is studied as a spirit incarnate. The essence and spirituality of the masquerade; the masquerade’s physical being and aesthetics; the thrilling, exciting and vibrant performance of the Ojionu masquerade, supported by pulsating rhythmic music; the organization and management of the Ojionu masquerade, as an example of an indigenous communal cultic institution, are studied and delineated upon. The research adapts and benefits from a “source study” based on personal interviews and the writer’s privileged eye-witness account. It is significant to note that, the Ojionu masquerade, is often seen, perhaps, as the highest realms of entertainment for social occasion from a spiritually profound incarnate. The popularity and acceptability of the Ojionu masquerade remained stubbornly insuppressible aspect of the people’s cultural entertainment despite the eroding and crushing influences of foreign cultures and, the unpopular and obnoxious anti-masquerade legislations by local and municipal governments and, above all, that of the orthodox foreign Eurocentric religious doctrines who refer to masquerade groups as “a congregation of Satan”.


Spirit incarnate; Masquerade institution; Spirituality; Cultic institution; Cultural entertainment; Religious doctrines; Cultural art and performance medium

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/%25x


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