Ipe Akoko community in Akoko South/West Local Government area of Ondo State on Wednesday celebrated Chegba Festival in commemoration of women who had their first birth without any complications.
The festival is as old as the community which is dated back to the 13th century when aborigines community were said to have migrated from Ile Ife in Osun State.
Highlight of the event was the presentation of what is called the largest bean cakes in the universe by the women being celebrated.
Speaking to newsmen, Oba Francis Apata, the traditional ruler of the community, said that the festival was meant to celebrate women who had given birth to their first children successfully..
Apata explained that it was a way of checkmating women from indulging in promiscuity that could lead to unwanted pregnancy and abortion.
“This Chegba Festival, which started from time immemorial, has been in practice since the origin of this community, and it has always been done primarily by those women who had successful first birth.
“That is, those who did not have stillbirth and abortion, and people would rejoice while their relations would celebrate with them.
“This year, they have invented a traditional bean cake which is the largest and widest you can think of in the whole universe and it can stay for nine days without getting decayed.
“The festival is a celebration of joy with people and we are expanding its scope this year with the introduction of the unique bean cakes,”he said.
The monarch added that the ingredients were sourced locally,saying ‘one wonders how the beans cake could be that large and wide in diameter’.
The monarch, who encouraged indigenes of the community to support the festival, said it was a celebration that brings indigenes together “because something good and attractive is happening in the community”.
Mr Adeniran-Ayodele Balogun, convener of 2018 Chegba Festival, said the festival was historic in the life of Ipe Akoko.
“Today, we are showcasing real, unique and the widest bean cakes in the world and it is the maiden edition of such.
“The cakes which are fried by women with successful first birth, was borne out of contributing my own little quota towards uplifting our cultural heritage,” he stated.
Balogun added that the implication of the festival was that it brought joy to the women world.
He called on government and private organisations to sponsor and support the festival, like other known festivals in the country, saying it would attract foreigners and as well improve the economy.
Mrs Victoria Adeola, an 80 years-old indigene of the community, disclosed that no ‘unclean’ woman was allowed to go near where the bean cakes were being fried because it might have negative effect on their formation.
The octogenarian said that another high point of the festival was the ‘Uge’ virgin dance.
The fried bean cakes were in three categories, with the first measuring 22 inches in length, 22 inches in breadth with 66 inches diameters in circumference.
The second one measured 18 and half inches in length, 17 inches in breadth with 59 inches diameters in circumference.
The third one measured 18 inches in length,17 inches in breadth with 56 diameters in circumference.