Gelede

The Yoruba people live in the southwest of Nigeria and the southeast of Benin. At the end of dry season, which is the period between March and May, they held the Gelede festival. The local people say that the festival is dedicated to “our mothers” (in Yoruba language "awon iya wa"). It honours the spiritual role of woman in the Yoruba society.

Gelede
Gelede

The central part of the Gelede festival is the performance by men wearing special costumes and carved masks. The characters in this show are women, animals etc. They are accompanied by a group of singers and drummers. During the day performances are done at local markets. In the night people can also see the special Efe ritual which includes elements of social humour.

Ceremonial dances of the Gelade festival can be performed in any difficult situation like death, drought etc. There is a traditional belief that these problems can be caused by the witchcraft.