Eyo Festival is unique to Lagos area, and it is widely believed that Eyo is the forerunner of the modern day carnival in Brazil. On Eyo Day, the main highway in the heart of the city (from the end of Carter Bridge to Tinubu Square) is closed to traffic, allowing for procession from Idumota to Iga Idunganran.
Here, the participants all pay homage to the Oba of Lagos. Eyo festival takes place whenever occasion and tradition demand, but it is usually held as the final burial rites for a highly regarded chief.
Among the Yoruba, the indigenous religions have largely given way to Christianity and Islam, but the old festivals are still observed. The traditional leaders of the Yoruba are the Obas, who live in palaces and used to govern along with a council of ministers. The Obas' position is now mainly honorary, and their chief role is during the observance of the festivals.
Yoruban festivals honor their pantheon of gods and mark the installation of a new Oba. The Engungun ("en-GOON-gun") festival, which honors the ancestors, lasts 24 days. Each day, a different Engungun in the person of a masked dancer dances through the town, possessed by one of the ancestors. On the last day, a priest goes to the shrine of the ancestors and sacrifices animals, pouring the blood on the shrine. The sacrifices are collected, and they become the food for the feast that follows.
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