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Official at Egungun Festival: All African people should pay respect to ancestors

News day / He made the call following the conclusion of this year’s annual Egungun Festival held at the Queen’s Park Savannah, opposite President’s House in Port-of-Spain yesterday.

In an interview with Newsday, Folami said, “It is important that we celebrate the ancestors because without them there is nothing.” Folami also added that he hoped within the next five years, attendance at the event grows to 10,000 people. The festival was held between 6am and noon yesterday.

The event saw its members forming a circle and chanting and singing as the Egunguns (Yoruba masqueraders connected with ancestor reverence, or to the ancestors themselves as a collective force) danced around the circle, stopping at different people who then touched the ground in their honour.

Baale Agogo Ifa Osemeji of Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria delivered the feature address.

“Every year each family should do this,” Osemeji said. “If African people were doing this in Trinidad, we would have been flying high. But I guess we all became Christians, Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims,” Folami said.

A group of approximately 27 people turned out to pay homage to their ancestors. This year’s festival was done in honour of late pioneer of the tradition in TT, Iya Omi Yemi Aina Olomo.

The festival, it was said, was done in remembrance of the ancestors, “in a quest to synchronise the future and the past to harmonise our present.” “We are making sure on behalf of the African people of TT, whether they like us or don’t like us, that we do what we have to do to bring alignment and balance from the east, the west the north the south, from the earthly realm to the cosmic realm. Mother earth is the key,” Folami said.

He said because the family structure was destroyed, people were now having family reunions to rediscover lost family ties. This, he said, was one of the most important things happening within the African community in TT at the moment.

Lost family ties, he said, could be found when African people go for divination (the practice of seeking knowledge of the future or the unknown by supernatural means).

“We expect the Savannah to be filled one day, maybe next five years, with 10,000 people,” he said.

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