A couple of weeks ago I went to take pictures of the Ite festival in Isiopko. Well, not the whole festival, just one day. The festival usually starts in the first week of June and lasts for ten weeks.
Isiopko kingdom is made up of nine villages (Omueke, Adanta, Ogbodo, Nkarahia, Okpirikpi, Agwara, Nmbo, Nmbuohara and Alimini) and each village gets a Saturday to host the festival. Although Nkarahia gets two Saturdays.
The first Saturday of the festival is called Ite Ebulia and it is always hosted by Nkarahia. There has to be rainfall on Ite Ebulia. This is supposed to be a sign that it is the right season for the festival and that the gods approve. On the contrary, there should be no rainfall when it is the turn of the other villages to host the festival. It is supposed to be embarrassing for a village hosting the festival if it rains so rainmakers are commissioned to make sure it doesn’t rain.
Although each village gets to host the festival, the whole village fights as one against opponents that have been invited by the host from other Ikwerre kingdoms. At the end of the days wrestling, the invited communities are entertained with cultural activities, food and drinks by the host village.
I am not sure how or if scores are kept. The only score I seemed to notice people talk about was the score for bouts between champions. Fights between champions appear to matter the most.
The pictures below are from the festival day hosted by Alimini. I hope you like them.