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Ewere Leaves In Culture

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With ambrose ekhosuehi {Last update 25/09/ 2017}

EWERE leaves in culture signify joyfulness, revel, gaiety it is an embodiment of the Igue festival; a ceremony of joy, peace and social harmony. On the night of “Igue Edo hia” the day all citizens anoint and bless their Heads, the children in each quarter gather fire woods and make fire outside at the open compound for the night vigil.

In the morning just before dawn the children would rush out, each taking a touch of the firewood in hand chanting the intention to drive away ubi-evils, demons and all shrewdness in the society, saying Ubi rie, we re rie. “Shrewd go, let it go”.

When the children reach the outskirts, they throw away the sticks tourches of fire.

The Children then gather the Ewere Leaves. They dance back home, using the Ewere stalks as clappers. On their return, they present the leaves to their parents and other adults.

In the olden days, grown up children from every home pick up lighted wood and flick it to banish evil spirits of ubi, the shrewd, from home, from streets and from the entire community, chanting the song ubi irie, we re through Ubi, the shrewish are cast away.


Having cast away the ubi and all the demons, the children enter into the woods to collect the Ewere leaves and bounce out of the woods for joy, singing and chapping with the Ewere stalk — saying “Ewere dee kie ne Ewere” Ewere is coming open for Ewere.

The children dance from house to house, distributing the Ewere Leaves to every person. A token gift may be given to the children.

They would sing the song of expectation “Odibo ra kie aza. 0 Kie re neo, e ne Omo gha ru ne enren: A slash of the Ewere leave can be pasted on the forehead, symbolizing joy, favour and good fortune, expressing good wishes from the characteristic nature of the Ewere leaves which it possess as sacred medicinal plant.

Ewere is a lily of the Ivy specie. It is an evergreen plant that has a stem of straight stalk and a wide leaf resembling the true Ivy plant-Hedera Helix.

Ewere shrub is very common in Edo land but nowadays, township expansion and bush fire had destroyed much of the shrub. In the villages the lily still grows wild. It is hoped that the shrub can be preserved for its numerous uses.

Children and youths after the night vigil at Igue cast away ubi and collect bunches of Ewere plant for distribution to every home, persons on the streets and on the highways wishing them prosperous New Year, goodlucks, goodfortunes and God blessings, asking everyone to open the door for prosperity, longevity and Godliness. In song they sing “Ewere dee, kie n’ Ewere because Ewere brings good Luck and favour so the door should be opened as well as the heart of love.

In Benin City, the bouquets of Ewere Leaves are presented in beautiful manner to Omo N’ Oba N’ Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba of Benin. During the Ugie Ewere Ceremony the Ihogbe arrive carrying great bunches of Ewere leaves which they present to the Oba.

In the towns and villages, the bouquets are presented to Enigie, Dukes or the community heads in gorgeous ceremony.

The storekeepers are expected to open the granary with the song. Odibo ra kie aza, and while the granary is opened for the gifts, the song “0 kie re neo” is song followed by the song of acceptance and prayer.
“0 Kie re neo, E ne Omo gharu ne enren”.

The blessing of Ewere is climaxed with Oyoyo, who in the legendary brought complete satisfaction to Ewere. It is the hurb of concord, peace, love, health and prosperity. So the song is re-enacted as gifts and prayers pour in. A rhi Ewere gi Omo vbe ugha-o, Ewere ghe Oyoyo-O. Ewere Odafen Ewere Uyenmwen. Ewere ghe Oyoyo-O.

Ewere was pleased to see Oyoyo. They chatted and laughed together hence the festivity of Ewere Leaves in culture marks reconciliation, kindness, love, merry making and joyful co-existence.

The Festivity of Ewere Leaves is a ceremony of Joy, Peace and Social harmony. It is said to have been introduced by Oba Ewuare, the Great, in the first half of the fifteenth century. AD. Before the British expeditions of Benin Empire Lengthen and complex ceremonies were celebrated. Among the more important is Ugie-Ewere and have been performed in public.

The festivity of Ewere Leaves is ceremony that deeply express a strongly felt submission to superior cosmic order, which is portrayed by greater passion than obedience. This is seen in the casting away of Ubi the evil desires. The purpose is to subject all human beings and natural growth to a process of complete renewal of being. The rite is devoid of the worship of divinity, since the sovereign will are not evoked.

The deities or gods if mentioned at all are only model to experience the operation of the cosmic law of renewal. This asset that the Ewere festivity can profit deeply as in Christianity where the Holly bears a prickle as sharp as any thorn, a bark as bitter as any gall and a berry as red as any blood, but the ivy bear a savior to redeem us all. Ivy is sacred in song, in dance, or revel in honour to Bacchus. Both Holly and Ivy are much used for Christmas decorations.

Like Ivy, Ewere bears a crown, a king, climbs by roots on trees and walls, evergreen and at Igue or Christmas time is hung at tavern door and revel in honour of the Headship.

Ewere Leaves in culture bring Lily of Festivities, Joyfulness, rejoicing, reconciliation, love, peace and prosperity. Ewere Leaf is a billet to usher in the New Year. Iselogbee.

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