Egungun Masquerade of Nigeria

May 20, 2017

The spectacle of the Egungun festival of Nigeria is a cultural event you must witness at least once in your life.   Beautifully draped devotees of the fabled and esoteric Egungun secret society come out in full regalia representing the ancestors.  The word Egungun come from the Yoruba language of the Yoruba people of the southwestern region of Nigeria and means ancestors or ancestral masquerade.  Egungun festival represents the festive return of the ancestors to the physical realm.  


They dance, perform, pray for the public and generally great positive pandemonium.  During my visit, an Egungun prayed for me.   The masks which includes the complete outfit, is considered a sacred empowered source of ancestral energy. Families have Egunguns consecrated for their own family ancestors.  


The consecration, organization, and donning of the Egungun masquerade is a highly guarded secret controlled by the powerful and mysterious Egungun society. 


My journey  into the secretive world of Egungun would culminate years later when I would join the ranks of the Egungun society myself resulting in the consecration my own Egungun masquerade.  How cool is that?   This journey in modified form is captured in the Egungun video below.




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I'm Jamel.  After 15 years of working in HR, I quit my day job to pursue my passion of traveling the world with my camera and exploring the spirituality, food and culture of people in exotic and not-so exotic places.

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