Sango Festival

Sango Festival

Early November
Sango has an extremely prominent cult among the Oyo people of Nigeria. Because Sango, a former Oyo ruler, is identified with thunder and lightning, the festival held in his honor takes place toward the end of the rainy season in early November and features various ceremonies connected with rain magic.
On the first day of the seven-day festival, women form a procession to the river, where they sink a hollow calabash gourd filled with special medicines to mark the beginning of the dry season. The Timi, or king, meets the worshippers at a place near the river, accompanied by drummers, trumpeters, and a huge crowd of onlookers. The women of the palace put on a special musical performance praising all the tribe's rulers throughout its history.
The remainder of the week is devoted to similar performances of music and dance before the Timi, although their real purpose is to please and entertain the god Sango. The main performer each day dances in a self-induced trance-like state, during which it is believed that he speaks with the voice of Sango and is impervious to pain. The festival concludes on the seventh day with a procession of fire in which a worshipper carries a large pot containing a sacred flame that brings blessings to all parts of the village.
CONTACTS:
Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
3519 International Ct. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
202-986-8400; fax: 202-775-1385
www.nigeriaembassyusa.org
SOURCES:
FolkWrldHol-1999, p. 624