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The festivals of Ivory Coast: the ceremonies between dances and music

Ivory Coast.

The festivals of Ivory Coast: the ceremonies between dances and music

Ivory Coast.

The festivals of Ivory Coast are the better way to get to know a population. With our tours to Africa, we also do this: to understand the ethnic groups of Ivory Coast it is absolutely necessary to attend the initiation ceremonies, the ritual parties, animated by dances and the sounds of percussion, flutes and calebasse used as musical instruments .

The festivals of Ivory Coast

The dance of the Goli masks is performed by the Baoulè ethnic group. During this dance two types of masks appear in the village: human-looking masks called “kpan” and disk-faced masks called “Kple-Kple“. The performance is very theatrical to obtain the maximum effect. The women sing and dance advancing towards the men and inviting them to come closer, welcoming the masks as if they were their lovers. Joking themselves, they dance joyfully behind the masks. Kple-Kple masks, in particular, are invoked in case of a danger or during funeral ceremonies: it is believed that they have the power to connect people with the world of spirits and the supernatural and that they can influence for better or for worse their lives.

The dance of the knives, on the other hand, involves dancers who make the children fly in the air exposing them to the risk of falling on the knives: the strength and skill of the dancers on the one hand, and the imperturbability of the children on the other hand, go beyond any imagination . The dance is rarely performed in the presence of foreign visitors.

Abissa is the main festival in the N’zima calendar, celebrating the time of renewal and forgiveness. It is dedicated to Nyamie, Akan name which designates the supreme deity. The party lasts 14 days and throughout the period the work activities or social ceremonies such as weddings and funerals are suspended. The Abissa festival is animated by percussionists who guide the dances and rituals at a frenetic pace. The beat of the cosmic drum frees the N’zima from all the usual restrictions and allows them to speak freely to the leaders and to each other. It is the moment of collective catharsis that leads to the renewal and rebirth of the entire community. Another peculiarity is that during Abissa men dress as women and vice versa. At the time of the accusation-repentance ritual, people disguise themselves to identify themselves with those they have wronged. At the end of the ritual everyone is forgiven for their mistakes.

Dances and festivals of the country

The dance of the Young Virgins is also called Kgoro and is part of the Senoufo female initiation rite. While the Panther dance is performed by Senoufu men once they return to the village after the initiation rite that force them to the isolation.

The Festival du Pagne Baule is a multi-ethnic festival where people from different parts of West Africa display their traditional fabrics. Performances of masks of different origins accompany the entire festival.

The country has two practices included in the “Representative list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity” drawn up by UNESCO.

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