Ofala Festival, the yearly celebration of the rich cultural heritage of the Onitsha people of Anambra State, began on Friday with a Youth Carnival in the city.
The kick-off of the annual festival sponsored by total telecommunications solutions provider, Globacom, the Youth Carnival, organized by the Onitsha Ado Youth Council (OYC), was a spectacle of colours and variety.
Globacom explained in a press statement that the Ofala celebrations will continue with the Iru Ofala on Saturday, October 14, and the Azu Ofala on Sunday, October 15.
The youth carnival had participants including Youth cultural groups such as Agbalanze (Ozo title holders), Egbenuoba (warriors of Onitsha), Egwu Edo (girls dance group), Di Okpa (family heads), Omu (bearers of children) and Otu Odu (women title holders)They danced through the streets of Inland Town, Onitsha, in celebration of the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe.
The youth seized the opportunity to celebrate Nigeria’s diverse cultures with representations of the cultures of the Yorubas, Fulanis, Edos, Igalas, Ijaws, etc. There were also youths dressed to depict the royalty of the “Obi of Onitsha”, “Oba of Benin”, and “Ooni of Ife” in the processions.
Ofala Festival is an avenue to display the rich cultural heritage of the Onitsha people and is also a time set aside for the revered ruler to perform some traditional obligations.
It also serves as a celebration by the Obi of Onitsha and his subjects consequent upon his annual emergence from seclusion, during which period he successfully negotiates the fortunes of the kingdom. It is also a re-enactment of the joy which the traditional ruler shared with his subjects at the discovery that yam is non-toxic, and is a valuable source of nutrition.
Globacom has also scheduled a Royal Banquet in honour of the Obi of Onitsha on Tuesday, October 17. The banquet will be held at the Golden City Events Centre, Residency Drive, Onitsha.