The city of Lagos holds on of the most fascinating carnival in the world, the Adamu Orisa play commonly known as the Eyo festival, the soul of the city traditional life.
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.
As news of the festival spread, citizens of central Lagos prepared for the time of their lives. Where as samba is to Brazil, the Eyo is to Lagos. It is one of the very few popular local customs not yet effaced by religions introduced to the African continent.
The Eyo festival is practiced by all religions. Besides, “it is intrinsically synonymous with Lagos that it can never fade out”. Importantly, the natives take the festival and their faith as one would two opposite pages of a book. As one leads to the next, and no one book can be complete without the other.
So when indigenous Lagosians speak of the Eyo tradition, they do so with pride and relish. Everyone from the most elderly to the 5-year-olds spend quality time preparing for the big day.
A full week before the festival (always a Sunday), the ‘senior’ eyo group, the Adimu (identified by a black, broad-rimmed hat), goes public with a staff. When this happens,
it means nothing can stop the festival from taking place on the following Saturday. Each of the four other ‘important’ groups: Laba (Red), Oniko (yellow), Ologede (Green) and Agere (Purple) in this order take their turn from Monday to Thursday without fail.
Friday, the eve, free for tourist seeking the true trill of the fanfare to come. That night, the Iga Iduganran, the permanent residence of the Lagos Monarch as well as whole area surrounding it, becomes an open-sky party.