It was a day of cultural display, affluence and colours last Saturday at the Riverplate Garden Abuja, when the second edition of the Usen Efik also called Efik Day, took place.
The event which is a festival celebrating the Efik culture and tradition also served as a reunion platform and a precursor to the annual month long Yuletide festivities which hold in Cross River State, in December.
According to the initiator of the event, John Offiong, there was need to create a forum through which Efiks in Abuja could relate with one another, celebrate their culture and expose their children and spouses of non-Efik descent, to the tradition.
Offiong said, “Many of us who are not married to Efiks tend to forget our culture and do not travel home very often. Some of us have wives who don’t really understand our masquerades and other elements of our cultures and festivities and therefore don’t let our children go near them. I felt such a platform would provide them an insight and understanding to what these things symbolise and their harmless nature.”
He added that the event holds on the last Saturday of November to usher in the Yuletide before people begin to travel home to celebrate. It is also an opportunity to let Efiks know one another, mingle and network.
The male folk showed off their dexterity in dance, theatrics and elegance as they entertained, while the women mostly cheered from the crowd as they watched the spectacle.
The crowd couldn’t contain their excitement every time the Ekpe masquerades came out to perform and the masquerades did justice to the excitement by giving them several nimble displays.
For Mayen Abi who learned about the event on Facebook, it provoked some nostalgia of her time in Calabar before relocating to Abuja.
She said, “I haven’t been in Calabar for about four years and I was so delighted when I saw the announcement on Facebook. Being here makes me realise how much I’ve missed in the last four years since I went home. But it was also a very refreshing feel to see the displays and cheer the performers in ways unique to us as Efiks. You can be sure I will be back next year.”
Usen Efik which began in 2016 is annual event which also serves as a teaser for what is to come as part of the Calabar festivals during the Christmas season.