Festival, Identity and Social Integration
A Study of the New Yam Festival in Otun-Ekiti, Southwest Nigeria
Keywords:culture, identity, kinship, ritual, social relations, sovereignty
This study examines the “historical” role of the New Yam Festival in the social integration of Moba people over time, aiming to supplement the dearth of scholarly work on the festivals that had fostered inter-group relations through cultural identity among the Ekiti-Yoruba people of southwest Nigeria. Using a hybrid historical and anthropological research method, which includes oral interviews, participant observation, photography and video and tape recordings to document and elicit data, the study discusses the political and social interaction of the EkitiYoruba social group through the New Yam Festival. The study reveals that the New Yam Festival is traditionally rooted in kinship culture, and is motivated by social and political integration and enhancement within a socio-political space. The festival demonstrates how ritual can promote and enhance peace, cooperation and stability among the different ethnic groups in Nigeria. It is a long-standing festival that renews and celebrates kinship, identity and social relations, and could be used in significant new initiatives to promote national integration and unity among the diverse ethnic groups, promoting social integration in Nigeria, where inter-group relations have tended to become group competition, even among ethnic groups that have historical ties.
Anwar, Muhammad 1980 Religious Identity in Plural Societies: The Case of Britain. Journal of the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs 2(2): 110–21. https://doi.org/10.1080/02666958008715818
Atolagbe, D. 1981 Itan Oore, Otun ati Moba. Ibadan, Nigeria: Omolayo Press.
Beech, Nic 2011 Liminality and the Practice of Identity Reconstruction. Journal of Human Relations 64(2): 285–302. https://doi.org/10.1177/0018726710371235
Beier, Ulli 1959 A Year of Sacred Festival in One Yoruba Town. Nigeria Magazine (special edn). Lagos: Marina.
Burton, Richard F. 1991 Wanderings in West Africa. New York: Dover Publications Inc.
Durkheim, Emile 1966 Changing Patterns of Social Integration: A Prehistoric Example from the American Southwest. American Anthropological Association 68(1): 94–102.
Falassi, Alessandro 1987 Time Out of Time: Essay on the Festival. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press.
Getz, Donald 2005 Event Management and Event Tourism, 2nd ed. New York: Cognizan.
----- 2010 The Nature and Scope of Festival Studies. International Journal of Event Management Research 5(1): 1–47.
Gordon, Milton M. 1964 Assimilation in American Life: The Role of Race, Religion, and National Origins. New York: Oxford University Press.
Greil, Arthur L., and Lynn Davidman 2007 Religion and Identity. In The SAGE Handbook of the Sociology of Religion, edited by James A. Beckford and N. J. Demerath III, 549–65. London and Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781848607965.n27
Idowu, E. Bolaji 1962 Olodumare: God in Yoruba Belief. London: Longmans.
Kinser, Samuel 1990 Carnival American Style: Mardi Gras at New Orleans and Mobile. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Lawrence, Elizabeth A. 1982 Rodeo: An Anthropologist Looks at the Wild and the Tame. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Lucas, J. Olumide 1948 The Religion of the Yorubas. Lagos: CMS Bookshop.
Mol, Hans 1976 Identity and the Sacred: A Sketch for a New Social-Scientific Theory of Religion. Oxford: Blackwell.
NAI (National Archive Ibadan) 1933 Intelligence Report on Otun Ekiti, Prof 1/1, file 392, 470/777.
NPC (National Population Commission) 2006 Ekiti State population commission publication (booklet).
Nketia, J. H. 1995 Birth, Puberty, Death. Christian Council of Gold Coast Conference on Christianity and Culture, Accra, 2-6 May. Accra: Christian Council of the Gold Coast.
Oore of Moba 2000 A Glorious Dawn: Coronation Ceremony of Oba. A. Oladele Popoola, the Oore of Mobaland.
Ogunbameru, O. A. 2008 Sociological Theory. Ibadan: Penthouse.
Oke, Kolawole 1979 Ekiti Theocracy as a Cultural Expression of its Topography. Unpublished Master of Arts dissertation, Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan.
Olupona, Jacob K. 2011 City of 201 Gods: Ilé-Ifè in Time, Space, and the Imagination. Oakland, CA: University of California Press.
Olusiji, S. A., and S. A. Akinyemi 2015 Water Quality Assessment of Otun and Ayetoro Area, Ekiti State, Southwestern Nigeria. Advancement in Sciences and Technology Research 2(1): 8–18.
Popoola, James 2000 Pamplet for the coronation anniversary of Oore of Otun, Oba Oladapo.
Pfeiffer, John E. 1971 The Emergence of Society. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Pieper, Josef 1965 In Tune with the World: A Theory of Festivity. New York: Harcourt.
Turner, Victor W. 1969 The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure. Chicago, IL: Aldine.
Ucho, Peter J., and Gerald W. Dimbleby (eds) 1969 The Domestication and Exploitation of Plants and Animals. Chicago, IL: Aldine.
Van Gennep, Arnold 1960 The Rites of Passage. Translated by Monika B. Vizedom and Gabrielle L. Gaffe. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. See also “Rites of Passage,” International Encyclopedia of Marriage and Family. Encyclopedia.com, 3 March 2017. http://www.encyclopedia.com.
Aladejare, the Alaaye of Efon 2013 Personal interview at his palace, Sunday, 6 January 2013.
Lawuyi, O. B. 2015 Personal interview in his office, 25 June 2015.
Iyaloja and Babaloja of Mobaland 2012 Personal interview, 7 July 2012.
Okinin, Ifa 2012 Personal interview at the Oore Moba palace, 6 July 2012.
How to Cite
© Equinox Publishing Ltd.
For information regarding our Open Access policy, click here.