Adamawa: Cultural Melting Pot Of The North East

 meltingpotAdamawa is a melting pot of cultural diversity. The over 70 ethnic groups in the state exhibit numerous cultural festivals which are mostly celebrated to mark harvest, memorials and initiation ceremonies.

Other festivals usually performed are the installation of new chiefs, entertainment of august visitors, marking the end of rainy seasons etc. among such festivals are the following:

The Phuki Festival

The Phuki festival as it is known by the people of Yandang, signifies the celebration of the ‘New Crops’ that are yet to be harvested. It can therefore be known as, the ‘New Crop Festival’ of the Yandang tribe of Kudaku.

The provenance of this annual festival according to tradition is not precisely known, because it is one of the oldest traditions whose origin is immemorial. The festival usually comes up between the end of September and the beginning of October (every year). This inherited tradition, according to the belief of the people, must be performed yearly in order to avert bad omen from the gods of the land.

During the festival, the community uses the opportunity to pray for a bumper harvest, peace and stability for all, and plenty of rain and strength for the next cropping season. All these prayers are manifested in the rituals and celebration during the festival.

Vunon Cultural Festival

The Vunon Festival dates back to about three centuries ago. It is celebrated by the Bachama, Batta and Mbula people for the first rain of the year. It usually takes place at Farai, the village of Nzeanzo. The three-day cultural/religious ceremony is to recall the death of Vunon, Nzeanzo’s mother, whose hut is kept as a shrine, attended by a priest and priestess in the spirit groove near Farai.

The first day begins with wrestling and dancing at the spirit groove (Wodi Khake). This normally ends up with a procession from the spirit groove to one of the festival grounds (sites) situated at Farai. Here, well dressed women in traditional costume, entertain the spectators with a spectacular dance (Bwe Pule).

Aside wrestling and dancing, artefacts or crafts like pots, calabash, wooden spoons, hoes, and other goods are sold to spectators, visitors and tourists. Beverages of all kinds and food are sold to guests in what could be called a picnic sitting arrangement.

The Farai cultural/religious festival is an annual event. It is a celebration of demigods believed by Bachama people to have been real people at one time.

Nzeanzo is the youngest of these demigods worshiped annually at Farai village. During this festivity period, fighting and stealing are taboos. The Bachama/Batta men or women are perceived to be culturally tolerant or socially notorious; morals are decidedly lax during these days.

Njuwa Fishing Festival

Njuwa is an annual fishing festival performed by the Buatiye (Bata) people of Rugange, Njoboliyo, Dasin, Dulo, Bagale, Dagri, and Vunoklan villages of Adamawa Emirate. Though there is no fixed date for the festival, it usually takes place when the level of the water in the lake subsides.

In most cases, it comes up in the month of April. The fishing festival attracts many people from within and outside the state. It is one of the numerous festivals in the state that attracts milling crowds. Some of these festivals include Kuchichep in Takum, Ibi fishing festival in Ibi, Vunon wrestling in Farai near Numan, Yinagu near Gulak and Kilashe feast at Mbulo near Ganye.

The Njuwa fishing festival used to be a two-day occasion, which is normally marked by a lot of performances, ranging from traditional dances to competitive running, tug-of-war, boat riding, swimming, fishing, etc.

The festival, like other fishing festivals in the country, attracts many fishermen with different kinds of style and skill in catching fish. While some make good use of their bare hands and gourds to catch fish, others make use of nets to do so.

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