Before I continue in this discussion, I want you to know that I am Christian and one who appreciate the beauty of African culture. This piece was born out of the need to open our eyes to the beauty of our native Culture.
What is Culture?
Culture defined as the beliefs, values, behavior and material objects that constitute a people's way of life.
I have read all kinds of criticisms and condemnation of Masquerade entertainment as idolatry by some over zealous Christians. I see it as lack of understanding of what Masquerade is and entails. They are against the use of masquerade as they term it ungodly and fetish. I understand their fears.
But one thing I personally observe is they view anything cultural as fetish because there is no provision for it in the scriptures.
I want to let you know what Masquerade and idol worship is all about. Masquerading is a traditional way of entertaining people while idol worship is the act of worshipping an idol.
At this juncture, I can clearly say that masquerading and idol worshipping aren't the same. Masquerades are usually attired in native robes and masks made of wood and fabric.
Masquerades are good for d promotion of our culture because It brings unity and peace to the traditional Igbo society.
Idolatry is what the scriptures condemn, not masquerade.
The white men introduce their culture to us in the name of "FATHER CHRISTMAS" which was generally accepted but the fact still remains that it is not scriptural. Rather than condemning our own thing, why not we refine them and bring it up to modern standard in a way it would be appreciated by all?
The role of Masquerade in the Igbo Culture are:
1. Masquerade holds a huge tourism income potential and if tapped can bring increased foreign exchange returns. In the time past, masquerade help maintain law and order in the community.
2. Masquerades are used for cultural entertainment.
3. Masquerades adds color to ceremonies and also brings out the rich cultural heritage of a people. Some of the ceremonies masquerades are used includes; New yam festival, Burial, Ozo title taking, Traditional marriage, Coronation and Chieftaincy title ship.
It's about time we passed a message to the outside world through our culture and stop seeing it as inferior/archaic and idolatry.
It is high time black man begin to appreciate his culture, express and promote it.
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