Chegba festival: Ipe-Akoko showcases widest beans cake

By Victor Akinkuolie
The annual “Chegba” festival is one of the annual festivals usually celebrated with pomp and pageantry among the people of Ipe-Akoko, an agrarian community in Akoko South/West Local Government Area of Ondo State.

The celebration of Chegba festival is always delight to witness as the festival usually attracts personalities from all walks of life to the ancient community, the celebration also featured public display and showcasing of the world largest beans cake popularly called ‘Akara’ in local parlance.

Community Hope learnt that the age-long annual festival celebrated amidst dancing and singing among the people of the agrarian community dates back to the 1300 century when the main aborigines of the town who were said to have migrated from Ile-Ife in Osun State settled down in the town.

Speaking with Community Hope during the celebration, the traditional ruler of the community, Oba Francis Apata, said the festival which is one of the popular traditional festivals usually celebrated in the town is significantly to celebrate women of the town who have just given birth to their first child successfully.

The monarch  noted that the festival is aimed at checkmating women and young girls in the town from indulging in abortion and other premature sexual activities during their virginity period.

According to him, “Chegba festival started from time immemorial and it has been in practice since the origin of this community and it has always been done primarily by those women who had successfully gave birth to their first child.

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“That is, those who did not have stillbirth and abortion immediately after they might have attained the age of puberty, people will rejoice with them while their relatives and friends will celebrate with them.

“At this stage of the celebration, the celebrants will then invent the traditional bean cake and it is the  widest you can think of globally and it can stay for nine days without decaying.

“That is the origin of the beans cake. It is a celebration of joy with people and we are expanding its scope this year, we are planning to repackage it to international standard  that would attract more people from far and near to the community,” he stated.

The community leader explained that other  ingredients for the bean cake were sourced locally which cannot be disclosed publicly.  The monarch noted that ‘one would wonder how the beans cake can be in that large and wide diameter.

Oba Apata encouraged indigenes of the community to continue to support the celebration of the festival, saying that the celebration of the festival  is also an avenue to bring the indigenes of the town at home and in diaspora together and those who have long ago seen each others.

Also in his remarks during the celebration of the festival, Mr Adeniran-Ayodele Balogun, an indigene of the town and  the convener of the 2018 edition of  Chegba festival beans cake, said the festival is historic in the life of Ipe Akoko.

“Today, we are showcasing real, unique and widest beans cake in the world and it is a maiden edition of such, it is attached to the women with successful first birth.

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“It is borne out of contributing my own little quota towards the upliftment of our cultural heritage,” he stated.

Balogun added that the festival was meant to pray for the uplift and wellbeing of women folk in the community and continuous peace and harmony within the people of the ancient community.

He called on government at all levels as well as private organisations to come to the aid of the community by supporting and sponsoring the festival, like other notable traditional festivals within the Yoruba speaking communities in the country, saying that this would further improve the economy of the country.

Similarly, in her own contribution, Mrs Victoria Adeola, an 80 year-old indigene of the community, noted that no ‘unclean’ woman was allowed to go near where the beans cake was being fried because it might have negative effect on its formation.

The octogenarian said  the festival is laced with ‘Uge’ virginity dance, prayers for the wellbeing of the town and other traditional rites.

She also added that the fried beans cakes which were in four categories were measured: 22 inches in length, 22 inches in breadth with 66 diameters in circumference, while the second one was measured 18 and half inches in length, 17 inches in breadth with 59 diameters in circumference.

The third one was measured: 18 inches in length,17 inches in breadth with 56 diameters in circumference

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