• Short Summary

    For the past 200 hundred years the Abbey tribesmen who live about 62 miles ( 100 kms ) north of Abidjan have celebrated the yam harvest with a three-day festival.

  • Description

    For the past 200 hundred years the Abbey tribesmen who live about 62 miles ( 100 kms ) north of Abidjan have celebrated the yam harvest with a three-day festival.

    The festivities start at the beginning of October after the appearance of the new moon which marks the harvest.

    The entire festival is called Djidja and each of three day-- called Dje, Ekichi, and Ovo -, consists of the performance of different rituals. The yam harvest is celebrated by several of the Ivory Coast tribes but for the Abbeys the festival's purpose is twofold. In addition to being a celebration of the harvest, the Djidja is also a time for asking pardon of the gods and for receiving their blessing.

    The festival originated when the first chief, Abede Akossi, discovered yams about two centuries ago when he led his people into the region from Ghana. The yams were said to have magical properties, and they became the staple food of the Abbey tribesmen, who live in the village of Grand Morie founded by their original chief.

    The town of Grand Morie is made up of 12 clans, each of which has its own chief. The family chiefs are presided over by the village chief, Atte Nocho. The village also has a spiritual chief, Ngnamin Degbo, whom the inhabitants call Teko.

    The ceremony shown in this film took place on the third, or Ovo day. Before the actual ritual begins, all present are shown a picture of Abede Akossi, the original chief, and a stool used by him. An ancient war spear, said to have belonged to Abede Akossi, is placed against the painting. A Toby jug, believed to be vested with the power of providing enough yams to feed everyone, is set on the original chief's stool.

    Villagers occupy themselves while waiting for the arrival of their chiefs by playing games. In one of these a piece of palm tree is thrown and one or more people at the receiving end try to catch it one a noose. If it is caught, the thrower is whipped on the leg by the catcher with the palm branch.

    One of the tribal elders stand near the picture of the original chief and asks the spirits' blessing on the village before all the elders pay homage to the village chief. Traditional dances are performed before the arrival of the spiritual chief, who pours a libation of palm wine before the Toby jug while the villagers clap. Ceremonial yams are placed on the ground.

    After the pouring of the libation, the paramount chief of the village dances with a group of his people. Women with sticks perform the Aye de Grand More dance to mark the end of another year's festival.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVAEHTGEL9MW3CW2O9LA3RU6DQKL
    Media URN:
    VLVAEHTGEL9MW3CW2O9LA3RU6DQKL
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    05/10/1970
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:02:24:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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