Homowo Chronicles

My Homowo Story

The Gas having migrated from ile ife in Nigeria (where twins were seen as bad luck and thrown away into the evil forest) decided to do away with such a practice by incorporating twin culture into the celebration of ‘hooting at hunger’ which is the actual translation of ‘homowo’ (shame to hunger).

During the festival times, twins are made to carry bowls or basins with twigs in it and libation is poured to the spirits to thank them for blessings and appease them for the wrongs the society have been done. The contents of the bowls usually include chicken feathers (the sacrifice), twigs and branches (the forest) and usually some money (high denominated shiny coins).
The twins are made to carry these things in a procession through the major streets of the community for all to see and then usually the contents of the bowl are dumped at a particular site designated by the festival just for that. Usually the twins were in a trance from spirit possession after the libation has been poured before the procession.

The interesting part of the procession is that when the contents of the bowl had been dumped, the spectators following the procession usually went and scavenged for the money (shiny coins) within the contents of the bowl. There were other family members of the twins (and people who just did for the fun of it) also carrying canes and branches making sure that the money remained intact and they would lash out at anybody who went to collect the coins from the debris of contents thrown by the twins.

They lashed out at the folk, usually children like me , rushing for the coins and to come out with a coin meant that you had cane marks on your back. Amidst tears we young boys raised their coins in triumph.

But the toffees, and the balloons we could buy with these high denomination coins made the pains felt later in the bath when water touched your wounds, all worthwhile.



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