Thursday, March 23

The Magnificent And Colourful Ijele Masquerade

By Ikenna Okolo (Umunna TV)

The Ijele is a revered masquerade in Igboland. It is probably the largest in size and commands great respect.
It is often said that the Ijele and another masquerade do not appear at the same time at an arena. This is to show the deep respect accorded the Ijele masquerade. It is also said that once the Ijele masquerade appears at an event, then it is time for other ‘smaller’ masquerades to make way for it to perform.

The Ijele masquerade does not appear at every event. In traditional Igbo societies and ceremonies, the appearance of Ijele masquerade signifies the importance of such an event.

The Ijele masquerade can not perform alone. It is led by a male -only group who help prepare its appearance at any event. It is often a bad omen when the Ijele masquerade falls while performing, maybe as a result of ‘attack’ by another masquerade that may possess more potent ‘aju’.

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