In most African tradition, masquerade is an integral part of its social activities. The emergence of masquerade predates the Industrial revolution age.
Its place, functions and season are clearly spelt out according to peculiarity of its host community; depending on traditional calendar
In the Eastern part of Nigeria for instance, masquerade appears only within the period of May through July.
It is used to check ill behaviours, implementation of council of cheifs’ orders and also serves entertainment purpose.
Like other African traditional conservatives, Owukpa district of Ogadibo Local Government Area, Benue State is not left out.
In Owukpa, the masquerade generally symbolises and ushers in new farm products.
More so, it is poised to correct juvenile delinquencies and its functions in a burial ceremony of elderly people is better experience than imagined.
Annually, the Owukpa traditional Santa clause performs its rites popularly known as ‘Akitakpa Ó R’Aho’.
This simply means the masquerades feasting and shopping the community markets, displaying their dexterity, ingenuity in dancing and varieties of masquerade to the ambiance of spectators.
This practice over time, has turned into a tourist attraction that magnets Owukpa sons and daughters in Diaspora as well as foreign visitors to its rich cultural display.
The deal day for this year’s festival has been scheduled for first Saturday of October 2021 which will take place right in the heart of Owukpa ancestral home, Ipole Edeh — Owukpa, after which all other community in owukpa can have theirs.
Though, masquerade in Owukpa and of course; in many African society have been ascribed to wizardry, Witchcraft and voodoo by our contemporaries, but like the Pass Over Feast in the Bible(Agricultural feast) Its practice still thrives in the social lives of traditional Conservatives.
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