Written by EKAI JAMES
Finally it was the morning of a day I was eagerly waiting. I was already in the show ground named Ekalees Centre meaning centre for ostrich. You can see people coming from all corners of venue dressed in traditional African attire. Master of the ceremony too had already arrived and traditional songs were already in the air. The guest of the day was abruptly received in midst of applause. He was solely riding a donkey, signifying a traditional mode of transport. He addressed the audience who were already calm in local dialect. From there the festival began.
First on the stage was traditional dance. I was amused to see ladies and gents of all ages storming the stage. The ladies were dressed in cow’s hide. This symbolizes the dowry they would be paid during their weeding. Gents on the other end were dressed in leopards skin to portray their courageousness and readiness to defend the community. Traditional was played whereby one man could hold hand to a woman and dance in a turnaround mode. I was not the only one in laughter but I saw the all auditorium in laughter tears. It was really entertaining. Guests including guest of honour joined dancers on the stage as in dance was so pleasing that can motivate one to join in. it took fifteen minute of fun then they left stage as anonymously clapping for them.
Next on the stage was traditional food making procedure. One family was already set on how to cook traditional food Nang’aria meaning semi-porridge ugali made from grinded millet. It is brown in colour. Mother started grinding millet by help of two flat stones. The millet now are grinded to produce millet flour. Two children were also busy washing cooking sufuria. After that they clean by wiping serving spoon and one dishing trough all curved from wood. Husband was engaged on fire production. He was already busy producing fire from rubbing two woods hardly. A hole in one wood in served with dry cow dug to contain fire when produced. Immediately sparks of fire and smoke was seen. Those who were visitors in the crowd wondered and some of them could even run away after seeing smoke. But for me I knew it was a day of such proceedings. By the time mother was done with making millet flour. Cooking started. Water boiled and millet flour was added. Mother stirred it gently till it was ready. She served it to her children after husband as priority with wooden plates respectively. Audience now begin jetting in to taste the food in the stage. I could not find the way to food since people were really crowded. The show left the stage as the audience noises of appreciation could not displace loudly played music.
Master of ceremony came to the stage dancing to the tune of the played music and immediately ordered silence of the music. He announced all audience including guest of honour would break for lunch. He highlighted jokingly that the lunch we were to break for was the one prepared on the stage. It was already cooked in large quantity; serving tools were enough and could sustain everybody present. He then assured audience after lunch break there would be closing event fair. Audience went for lunch. It was really delicious and all enjoyed.
After half an hour lunch break, audience converged back. Now I came earlier to secure the seat at the forefront. The guests were already settled by the time master of ceremony called on the stage elders of the community to end the festival religiously. It was not just mere prayers but regulation guided sacrament. Old men walked to the stage. They sat with help of wood curved stool famously known as Ekicholong’ traditionally. They slaughtered a goat and claimed that for their prayers to be heard there must be a bloodshed. The drunk the blood of the goat as youth were directed to roast the meat. As the meat was getting ready, they started shouting traditional prayers, praying for peace in the land, blessings for leaders and rainfall to the region.
The ceremony ended there and all people departed to their respective homes happily. It was a place that I enjoyed most!
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