Abidji peoples mark founding in southern Ivory Coast, also known as Dipri festival

Abidji peoples mark founding in southern Ivory Coast, also known as Dipri festival

Every year, Abidji people who live in the southwestern Ivorian village of Yaobou commemorate the foundation of their community.

The celebration is known as the dipri festival.

In the local language,’ di’ means water and ‘pri’ means the taking off.

The role of leading the Dipri ceremony is handed down through families.

Koffi N’guessan was chosen this year.

“I was initiated by my father, who holds the power of his father. When you bring a child into the world, this power is already there, even down to the grandchildren. So today he is no longer with us, we are the initiators. My older brother was the initiator and now he has passed, so I’m the one who is here now,” he says.

The Abidji people of Yaobou belong to the Akan ethnic group. They originated from today’s Ghana.

Fleeing the war of succession of the Fantis in Ghana, the Abidjis found themselves in front of the Comoé River. One of their own sacrificed in order for the rest to cross.

The festival is the commemoration of this founding event. Abidjis wear white garments which symbolize purity and apply their faces with kaolin which represents meekness and peace.

During the Kpon, representatives of families who have been initiated challenge each other to showcase their mystical power.

Other Abidjis only take part in the cultural section of the event.

“This is the national holiday of my village. Everything that is African is not satanic, everything that is African is not demonic”, Father Marius Hervé, a Christian Catholic priest says.

“The African man and woman must realize that he can believe in Jesus Christand remain African.”

The festival which was celebrated in early April this year also coincides with the fourth lunar month of the Abidji calendar, which marks the new year in Abidji culture.

Additional sources • La Croix Africa

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