Tribal Life: Ibo/Igbo tribe By: Jonathan V, Brayan D, and EmanUel L.
Masquerades and Festivals
Igboland perform many festivities and cultural performances, most notably the masquerades and the new Yam festivals.
Masquerades (Mmanwu) are held according to the community native calendars during festivals, annual festivities, burial rites and other social gatherings. The masquerades include colourful robes and masks made of wood or fabric. Some masks appear only at one festival, but the majority appears at many or all. Masquerades are associated with spiritual elements, according to Igbo belief, masquerades represent images of deities or sometimes even dead relatives. The identity of the masquerade is a well-kept secret and performed exclusively by men.
In the past, masquerades were utilized as a way for maintaining peace and order and were primarily used as law enforcement agents. The whole village would come out for the ceremony to watch the colourful masquerades. While entertaining through dances and displaying non-human features, the masquerades would walk up to certain individuals and loudly expose any bad habits, crimes or misbehaviour of that person. As people would always redeem and make sure to abstain themselves from those negative acts, the masquerades were effective in keeping up with traditional norms and values in the communities.