The people of Ukpogo Ogwa, a community in Esan West Local Government Area of Edo State, are getting set for the celebration of their annual festival called IHUEN.
The Ihuen festival has been celebrated by the community for over two hundred years. The main components of the festival include dance, social visits and paying homage to in-laws, friends and families.
One of the major attractions of this festival is the dance, called Iganede. It is a 24 hours, non-stop dance. It starts by 9.00pm and ends 9.00pm the next day.
The dance starting point is the compound of the Odionwele of Ukpogo, Pa Afred Imhansemhonboh, and ends in predefined venue where a large crowd of people from all works of life and neighbouring communities gather to enjoy the peak of the dance.
This dance has been a tourist attraction for decades to neighbouring communities.
Participants in the Iganede festival dance are dressed in a special dress code of skirt (like Irish skirt), T-shirt and or cap. The venue of the final Iganede dance that draws a large crowd is called Egounokhua and the host or the compound the dance ends which is called Egounokhua is the compound of Pa Joseph I. Okpebho.
The colourful event which commences on Sunday, January 1st comes to a close on Wednesday, January 4th, 2023. Sons and daughters and neighbouring towns all visit during the event.
The festival is a time of Thanksgiving to God for the gift of life and abundant harvest received during the year. It is also a time for family reunion and get together.
The Programme of Events as made available to the media is as follows: (a) Ist January – The commencement of the cooking of traditional black beans and all night music.
(b) 2nd January – House to house dancing (Iganede) by Ukpogo Troupe starts from the Odionwele house to culminate in Eguonokhua
(c) 3rd January – Rounding off of Iganede and the Eguonokhua (the great dance) hosted by Pa Joseph Okpebho.
(d) 4th of January – In-laws homage, presentation of gifts within families. Feasting house to house by different clans. Igbabonelimhin (acrobatic dance) in the evening.