Showing posts with label gelede. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gelede. Show all posts

Thursday, June 15, 2023

GELEDE ceremonies and Festival

GELEDE ceremonies and Festival

GELEDE ceremonies and Festival 

The ‘GELEDE’ Ceremony involves carefully choreographed dance, singing and music and especially drumming.  

The performances are given by men, wearing masks that feature sculptured images of scenes including animals and people or sewing machines and drums. 

The pairs of men masquerade as women to amuse, please and placate the mothers who are considered very powerful, and who may use their powers for good or destructive purposes.

 These powers are especially linked to childbirth. 

The abilities they possess may be activated either consciously or unconsciously.
History and Origin of GELEDE

History and Origin of GELEDE

History and Origin of GELEDE 

There are 256 ‘ODU IFA’ which contain a number of poems called ‘ESE IFA’. 

An ‘ESE IFA’ is typically a narrative about a person or animal with a problem, and the steps or path to follow to resolve that problem(s). 

In one of the ‘ESE IFA’ it  explained the origins of GELEDE as beginning with ‘YEMOJA’. 

Now ‘YEMOJA’ known to be “The Mother of all the Orisa and ALL living things.”  

‘YEMOJA’ governs on the birth canal on females, the stomach is ruled by Olokun and ‘YEMOJA’ and the Breast are also ruled by ‘YEMOJA’. 

YEMOJA nourishes and nurtures all living things. 

‘YEMOJA’ also governs salt water and beaches, while ‘OLOKUN’ governs the depths of things and spiritual aspects of evolutionary growths. 

In the beginning, ‘YEMOJA’ could not have CHILDREN and consulted IFA Oracle who advised her to offer Sacrifices and to also Dance with Wooden images on her Head and Metal Anklets on her Feet to appease and reverse this affliction on her.  

After performing this RITUAL, she became pregnant. 

Smiling! Her first CHILD was a boy, his name was ‘EFE” for short meaning the humorist. 

The ‘EFE MASK’ emphasizes SONG and just because of the personality of its name sake. 

Smiling again! ‘YEMOJAS’ second child was a girl, she was named ‘GELEDE’ because she was very obese like her mother. ‘GELEDE’ also like her mother ‘YEMOJA’ loved dancing.

Both ‘GELEDE’ and ‘EFE’ were married. Neither ‘GELEDE’  or ‘EFE’  could have children.

When consulted, the IFA oracle suggested they try the same RITUAL that worked for their mother ‘YEMOJA’. 

Not sooner when ‘EFE’ and ‘GELEDE’ performed these RITUALS- Dancing with Wooden Images on their HEADS and METAL ANKLETS on their feet- that they each started having children. 

These RITUALS developed into the ‘GELEDE’ MASKED DANCE’ and was perpetuated by the descendants of ‘EFE’ and ‘GELEDE’.

This narrative is one of many stories that explains the origin of ‘GELEDE’ .

An outdated theory also states that the Beginning of ‘GELEDE’ might be associated with the change from a MATRIARCHAL to a PATRICHAL SOCIETY.

GELEDE Spectacles

GELEDE Spectacles

GELEDE Spectacles 

The festival always begins with an ALL-NIGHT concert called ‘EFE’ which features the ‘EFE MALE MASK’.

The EFE MASK uses satire to entertain and educate. 

Given the concern of the ‘GELEDE SOCIETY’ which foster Peace and Social Stability, it is surprising that didactic themes recur in ‘EFE’ songs.

After the ‘EFE DANCE’, most of the attendees spend the morning sleeping in preparation for the afternoon dance which takes place in the market place. 

The dance features pairs of male dancers who perform the fast-paced music with a vigorous beat.
Importance of GELEDE festival

Importance of GELEDE festival

Importance of GELEDE festival 

Although the ‘GELEDE CEREMONY’ may be staged at anytime of the year.

The reason are the following : 

To better the life of an individual

To cleanse the Society of pestilence, 

To induce rain, 

To enrich human fertility, 

To enlist support of super natural forces, and the ‘POWERFUL MOTHERS’ in wartime and 


The most elaborate performance occurs during the ANNUAL FESTIVAL.
GELEDE mask and Costume

GELEDE mask and Costume

GELEDE mask and Costume 

‘GELEDE MASKS’ are worn with a costume consisting of layers of elaborate and colorful cloth. 

The ‘GELEDE MASK’ is more accurately a HEADDRESS, since it rests on top of the HEAD and the wearer’s face is covered by a cloth veil. 

The HEADDRESS takes the form of a HUMAN HEAD, on top of which are motifs that are intended to entertain out lookers but, in addition It usually address SOCIAL concerns that may also be expressed in SONGS that are part of the MASQUERADE. 

The HEADDRESS are usually brightly painted.

Individuals or families will usually go to any length to make their HEADDRESS as attractive and humorous as possible. 

The endless variety of the motifs and their combinations makes it difficult to typology of ‘GELEDE HEADDRESS’

Most of the HEADDRESS have facial adornments, ranging from lineage marks to decorative tattoos, which are either incised or painted.

The HEADDRESS is to the costume, whild the HEAD, ORI is to the HUMAN BODY. 

It is an index of identification and the essence of the maskers personality as long as he is inside the mask.  

In spite of the comical representations that often appear on the HEADDRESS, the FACE below the superstructure remains serene, as if stressing the paradox that is life–and the need to live life with special care.