LITERARY AND ARTISTIC DIMENSIONS OF THE UDU FEMALE CIRCUMCISION FESTIVAL

Beauty Esiophunevu UMUKORO & Augustine Godknows ONOYONA
Keywords:
Journal of Inter-Disciplinary Studies on Contemporary Issues 2016 2(1), 1-10. Published: July 22, 2016


Abstract

Female circumcision as a practice has generated heated debates throughout the world. It is often criticized and opposed by many who have tagged it barbaric and inhuman. There have been varying attempts to outlaw the practice in different parts of the world, regarding it as female genital mutilation. However, irrespective of the foregoing controversies generated by female circumcision, it is still a practice among the Udu speaking people of Urhobo in Delta State of Nigeria. This is owing to the acknowledgement of the religious and artistic significance embedded in the practice. Among the Udu people, the female circumcision rite is a veritable festival with a religious undertone and it is celebrated amid much funfare. This paper explores the female circumcision festival described as “Orẹ Emetẹ Yawọn” as a dramatic art which provides avenue to showcase the rich religious, traditional and creative endowment of the Udu people. Dramatic elements such as costumes, props, make-up, dance, clapping of hands, singing, stamping of feet, characters, audience, stage or performance arena are resonant in the female circumcision festival of the Udu people. All these artistic elements enhance the realization of the theatrical and spectacular atmosphere of the performance. This paper reveals the artistic relevance of the Udu female circumcision festival and attempts a literary analysis of some songs rendered during the celebration. The literary and analytical methods are therefore adopted in this study.