Culture And Traditions Prevalent In Ekiti State

Ikogosi Warm Spring

Ekiti State (Fountain of knowledge) was carved out of the former Ondo State, which itself came out of the old Western State in 1967.

Ekiti State is made up of Ekiti Central, Ekiti North, Ekiti South and Ekiti West Divisions. The word “Ekiti” as we know it today denotes a “mound.”This is derived from the rugged mountainous topography of the State. Ekiti which is one of the many Yoruba states in Nigeria was an independent state prior to the British conquest and the introduction of Indirect Rule. Ekiti, a nation of the Yoruba people had her progeny in Oduduwa, the father and progenitor of Yoruba race. Other important cities and towns include Ado-Ekiti, Ikere, Efon, Ikole, Aramoko-Ekiti, Ode, Ijero, Ise, Ilawe, Omuo, Igede and many others.

The state is largely agrarian. Agriculture is the mainstay of the state economy. It employs 75% of the state working population. The State is one of the largest producers of Rice, Kolanut, oil palm and cocoa in the country. They also produce crops like cassava, yam, cocoyam, maize, cowpea, citrus, plantain and fruits like cashew, mango and orange.

The people of Erijiyan-Ekiti apart from farming engage in trading activities, selling farm products like yams, rice, vegetables like tete, ila, amunututu, adodo, odu, sokoyoto, ebolo, ewuro, tomatoes. They sell aso ofi, agbada, gbariye, kembe, dandogo, fila gobi, abeti aja, kente, dye cloths like adire of all shades and colours. The people also sell cash products like cocoa, coffee, rubber, palm tree etc. These are sold in large quantities to the visiting traders from Ado-Ekiti, Ilesa, Ibadan, and Lagos. Their trading activities take them beyond Erijiyan-Ekiti frontier especially on town’s market days.

Tourism is another aspect which will become a veritable source of income for the state. Notable among its tourist attractions are the Ikogosi tourist centre which are referred to as the haven of tourism in Nigeria.

At Ikogosi, the warm and cold water oozing out from different sources from the earth crust flow separately to meet in a pool each retaining its thermal identity. However there are other tourist centers such as:

Raw Material Display Centre
Arinta Waterfall at Ipole-Iloro
Ero Dam at Ikun-Ekiti
Fajuyi Memorial Park at Ado-Ekiti

The state also has rich cultural carnivals like Iwemo and Udiroko in Ado-Ekiti; Ogun in Ire-Ekiti; Ijesu and Egungun which continue to attract people to the state. Tourism plays major role in relaxation of the people especially during festivals such as Erin Ayonigba, Igbo-Owa, Olookun; Ijopa and odun Oba.

The state is highly rich in culture. They have their own unique traditional way of: Dressing, Dancing, Festival, religion and other ways of life. As enumerated below: The rulers of the Towns are Obas like other Yoruba Towns. Traditionally, the natural rulers in Ekiti State, whose people are Yoruba, are usually described as sacred or divine kings. Their installation and coronation are performed with solemn and lengthy rites which set them apart, thereafter living an ordered ceremonial existence, secluded in their palaces, subjected to the many rituals of court and approached only with infinite respect. They rarely appear in public, except on ceremonial occasions.

By ancient customs, the Obas are not only the heads of their towns and kingdoms, but by their personifications, reincarnating also all their ancestors back to the origin of the dynasties. They are also the titular heads of all religious sets in their kingdoms. Their appointments are, partly by divination, made by the king makers who are invariably the high chiefs. They are appointed from among the children of past rulers. The ceremonies between their appointments and coronation are elaborate. The sacredness of their offices was neither empty nor nominal; they are regarded by their people as divinity with whose well being, their own conditions are bound. They are the sources of honour, able to bestow titles and chieftaincies. The Obas are also the fountain of justice.

During leisure or relaxation time, people play arin and ayo games, dancing, flogging (ijopa) and so on. In the nights, especially during the moonlight children are assembled in patio and are told ancients folktales usually centre around the legandary Tortoise (Ijapa tiroko oko Yanibo). There are traditional drums such as bata, agere, gangan, sekere, obele, emele, which people play at festivals and burial ceremonies with difference melodious tones.

During the British colonial administration, many Ekiti people travelled to various parts of Nigeria: Lagos, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Ilesa, Ondo etc to learn various trades, such as dispensary, tailoring (fashion designing), carpentry, bricklaying, etc. Some


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Written by PH


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