In a couple of days, the Americans will start beating their masquerades all around the cities and towns. The small children are allowed to be in the lead and they’ll go from house to house, seeking either a trick or a treat.
They call it “Halloween”.
I actually do not want to make this about Halloween; so let us leave that trash for LAWMA. But before we waka pass to our own bus stop, let me just add that their masquerades celebrate the gory and the somewhat bizarre.
Death masks are an acceptable costume and you can dress as ghosts or zombies or any other scary creature that your mind can conjure up.
I remember a couple of years ago when my daughter came back from school with a letter from the administrator.
The letter stated that they would be having a Halloween party and wanted the children to come in their costumes and do some trick or treating.
I came outside and gauged the temperature just to be sure that we did not ‘miss road and suddenly landed in the abroad’ without my knowledge. No we didn’t, we were still in Nigeria.
Naija sun was still hammering us and we were groaning under the twin devils of long queues for indecently priced petroleum products, and a Minister for Darkness who was living up to the dictates of his portfolio.
Then this full-fledged African school was trying to add to my myriad of issues.
Not today, Satan.
I returned the letter to my daughter and told her to ‘epp me and inform the school that whatever they were high on, they should please excuse me from the effects of it.’
Any day they wanted to hold a Nigerian cultural festival complete with Atilogwu and Bata dancers and masquerades, they should please let me know.
If memory serves me right, that year, Halloween balls trended very well in Nigeria.
The same people who could not tell you the names of at least one of their village masquerades and who perhaps thought that celebrating masquerades was satanic, were all happily getting into the spirit of Halloween – literally and figuratively speaking.
The irony of it all is sadly lost on most people. Condemning one while whole-heartedly embracing the other, is a little bit like camping out on threads and cursing out Tiwa for being the red hot pepper in the feverish pot of stew Wizkid served up last week.
99.9% of the curses were because she is a mother of one who ought to behave responsibly. Of course 99.9% of the people cursing out Tiwa seemed to forget that Wizkid himself is a father of three.
One. Two. Three, yes o, three shildren! From different women, I should add.
So, in the scale of equity and fairness, who should be expected to exhibit more decorum and fairness? Someone who is a direct ‘road modem’ to one abi someone who is a direct ‘road modem’ to three?
Use your tongue and count your teeth.
Celebrating Halloween while turning up your noses at masquerade festivals and celebrations is a bit like those shidrens of (h) angar who turn up their noses at traditional African marriage ceremonies – (bride price is evil; I will not kneel to give my husband wine, hoohaahoohaa yadayadayada; but will roll themselves in the mud when a random boy like that with sagging jeans goes down on one knee to propose to them.
Said proposal is done most times without any of the two families being aware that their sheedren are planning official fiki faka o. No family meeting, no investigations, no commitments, just a ring.
And some buffoonish friends will just be taking videos for social media.
“She said yes,” will then become the song.
Until you discover there are 13 of you under the same parole. Wetin concern the guy man? All of you can say yes if you want and collect his shalanga ring; when he is ready to marry, he will carry his relatives to go and meet her relatives and pay her bride price and do all the other omenaala.
Most times, those buffoonish friends recording proposal videos for social media trending jagbajantis sturvs are not even allowed within 10 miles of serious minded marriage discussions.
Such is life.
Perhaps some Nigerian schools are going to send their charges home with letters asking parents to provide Halloween costumes and maybe some candy for trick or treat this year.
If your child comes home with such a notification, biko feel free to ask the school when they will celebrate a Nigerian masquerade festival.
The response is bound to shock you into realizing how the work of colonizing and ‘white washing’ the African brain is a continuum. It is never done.
Nigerian masquerades are evil. Nigerian masquerades are demonic. This and that. This and that.
Brethren, it is a part of our culture that we should uphold and promote.
Let us not allow civilization and rabid Pentecostalism mislead us into standing by and folding our hands while our masquerade grottos and shrines are burnt down by Christians who, with their mouths, confess how strong their God is, but in their heart of hearts, fear the ‘strength’ of lifeless carved pieces of wood even more.
There is an Igbo proverb which summarizes how ‘demonic’ masquerades are, and I’ll drop it here for those who can discern: a short man enters the masquerade grotto and a short masquerade emerges from the land of the ancestors.
‘A ga eji Igbo kowara ya onye ocha?’ Will you use Igbo to explain that occurrence to a white man?
So biko, quit romanticizing and helping the West ensure their cultures stay alive while slowly helping to kill ours under a wide array of guises.
All these cultures you are fighting, and slowly eroding is actually your identity you are slowly discarding. One day, you may wake up to find yourself translucent. See through. A chameleon. Neither here nor there.
A strong advocate and acolyte of a culture you don’t fully understand, while you have conditioned yourself to demonize the one you should understand and promote.
ALSO READ: Oya, see how I became a witch – Viola Okolie
Celebrate your marriages the old, time tested and trusted ways. Challenge the humans who abuse our beautiful cultures and traditions and not the cultures themselves.
Maybe if you researched a bit into the ones you adopt and uphold more than yours, you will discover that Halloween and masquerade festival na the same boat the two both of them dey.
The biggest difference is that the masquerade festivals are richer, more colorful, and suffused with a lot of tradition and reverence for a way of life.
Celebrate your own – you no go die.