Africa

Eyo festival in pictures: Celebrating a king's life

Updated 1903 GMT (0303 HKT) May 22, 2017
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The 84th edition of the Eyo Festival took place on Saturday at Tafawa Balewa Square in Lagos. Kelechi Anozia
'Eyo' refers to the dancers who take part in the festival, they are also known as masquerades. The festival started at 5 am as different Eyo groups started their procession around Lagos island. The Eyo groups danced, beat drums and sang as they made their way through the streets. Kevin Asaju
There are around 70 Eyo groups in Lagos and five major ones, each one represents a Lagos chieftaincy house. Kevin Asaju
The Eyo wear white, but their hats are colored to differentiate between groups. Eyo's also wear a veil to cover the face, an agbada (robe) to cover their bodies, an aropale (cloth) is worn under the agbada and wraps around the legs. It stretches up to three feet behind the Eyo to sweep away evil. Kelechi Anozia
The staff carried by the Eyo is also an important part of their attire. It can either be used to bless people or to chastise them if they break any of the rules associated with the festival. Kevin Asaju
Festival goers must abide by a set of rules that include: no shoes, no caps or headgear, no smoking, no bikes or motorcycles and no 'shuku' hairstyles (a style that is braided upwards). Kevin Asaju
Only the Oba of Lagos can authorize a festival and the last one was held in 2011. Flourish Chukwurah
Only men and male children are allowed to dress as eyo dancers, women are prohibited from performing in the parade Kevin Asaju
The festival is held to commemorate the death of an Oba (king) or a well respected and prominent Lagosian. This year's edition commemorated the death of Oba Yekini Adeniyi Elegushi. Kevin Asaju
Statues of the Eyo masquerade at the entrance of Tafa Balewa Square, the venue of the 84th Eyo festival, Yemisi Adegoke