WITH machetes, pomp and animal sacrifices, people of Eku in Ethiope East Local Government Area of Delta State, Nigeria, have celebrated their annual ritual festival known as Echeroko.
Stonix News reports that Eku community is among the six sub-clans that make up the Agbon kingdom in Ethiope East Local Government Area.
The Echeroko festival primarily entails the celebration of the victory God gave the people over their enemies during their sojourn to different places till they finally settled in what is today known as Eku community.
The ritual Founder’s Day festival usually lasts for one week and this year’s own ended on Thursday September 21.
For six days in the morning and evenings, female singers and dancers and masquerades had embarked on singing while marching through major streets of the town wielding sharp machetes.
The seventh day, which is the grand finale of the festival, started with selected people going to the shrine of their deity called Echeroko to perform sacrifices of animal and other necessary rites.
Youths of the community, both boys and girls, embarked on a ritual performance on the streets armed with mud and machetes waiting for the return of those who went to the shrine.
Youths armed with the machetes engaged in the ritual of striking machetes for machetes which sometimes can be fatal. In such a display, a young man saw his nose slashed.
Their return from the grove was greeted with jubilation while different groups of both old and young, men and women, danced from adjourning streets to the main street housing the community town hall also known as the Ogwa.
They took turns to pay homage and get blessings from the Okarorho of Eku also known as the oldest man in the community, Chief Williams Okparume.
He, in turn, prayed the gods and ancestors to make the festival bring progress, peace, unity and love among the people of the community.
The festival ended with much conviviality of eating and drinking.