Okanga Royal Drum: The Dance for the Prestige and Initiates Projecting Igbo Traditional Religion through Ovala Festival in Aguleri Cosmolgy (Published)
No literature I have found has discussed the Okanga royal drum and its elements of an ensemble. Elaborate designs and complex compositional ritual functions of the traditional drum are much encountered in the ritual dance culture of the Aguleri people of Igbo origin of South-eastern Nigeria. This paper explores a unique type of drum with mystifying ritual dance in Omambala river basin of the Igbo—its compositional features and specialized indigenous style of dancing. Oral tradition has it that the Okanga drum and its style of dance in which it figures originated in Aguleri – “a farming/fishing Igbo community on Omambala River basin of South-Eastern Nigeria” (Nzewi, 2000:25). It was Eze Akwuba Idigo [Ogalagidi 1] who established the Okanga royal band and popularized the Ovala festival in Igbo land equally. Today, due to that syndrome and philosophy of what I can describe as ‘Igbo Enwe Eze’—Igbo does not have a King, many Igbo traditional rulers attend Aguleri Ovala festival to learn how to organize one in their various communities. The ritual festival of Ovala where the Okanga royal drum features most prominently is a commemoration of ancestor festival which symbolizes kingship and acts as a spiritual conduit that binds or compensates the communities that constitutes Eri kingdom through the mediation for the loss of their contact with their ancestral home and with the built/support in religious rituals and cultural security of their extended brotherhood. It is a three day festival. This festival is usually an occasion for jocundity and thanksgiving; people appear in their best and give of their best. Such occasion serve as a catalyst in cementing people’s solidarity, and in other words making Aguleri as a community of ‘one people – one destiny’
Ancestor-ship (Igbo forebears) charged with intercessory of the living are once humans before admittance after death into the comity of ancestors. It is one of Igbo expositors that life is not terminated after death and that their dead exist in another spiritual realm mirroring the activities of the living and determining their fate. The Igbo ancestors are always remembered in every Igbo religious rituals and worships while they are also presumed to be present in meals with the living. The admittance into the ancestral cult is not automatic as several criterions are first put in place and considered: living a good life and dying at a ripe old age. For the Christians, sainthood is conceived and used as a title of apostles of Jesus Christ having acknowledged as holy and virtuous during their lifetime. Today, churches still practice the canonization (official declaration) of their dead clergies as saints. The Christian saints believed to be in heaven after death having lived a pious life also serve as an object of veneration and worship. This paper Igbo Ancestor-ship and Christian Sainthood: The Bigotry brings to bear the attributes/making of Igbo ancestor, their roles and place in the Igbo cosmology. It further looks into the Christian saints, what informs ones canonization, their roles and place in Christian worship. This work at the end establishes paradoxical of the Igbo ancestors denigration by Christians despite sharing the same attribute. It further notes that the condemnation and Christians denotation of Igbo Ancestor-ship to paganism amounts to religious bigotry. It suggests for neopaganism approach to some Igbo beliefs and practices that share the same values and attributes to that of the Christians as in the case of Igbo Ancestor-ship and the Christian Sainthood.