The Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe, will this Saturday, August 13, flag off the 2016 edition of Ofala with the traditional Umato festival. Ofala, the biggest festival in the South East, is sponsored by the grandmasters of data, Globacom.
According to Onitsha tradition, Umato is held by the people of Onitsha kingdom to mark the end of the planting season and the beginning of the harvest period.
The highlight will see the Obi performing the traditional rite of declaring that “the period of dryness has ended and that the harvest season has commenced.”
Palace sources said the Umato festival will be performed at the King’s Palace, otherwise called the Ime Obi, where the palace chiefs and guests at the ceremony will be personally served the traditional corn meal by Igwe Achebe himself.
This symbolises the beginning of the good season of harvesting. The Umato will thereafter be replicated by other key families in their homes.
Ofala, also known as the New Yam Festival, is celebrated yearly by the Onitsha Kingdom to commemorate their victory over the Yam crop.
Globacom has been the main sponsor of the festival since 2011. This is, therefore, the 6thin the series since the company took over the sponsorship.