Ritual Contents in Ikwerre Wrestling Festival
An Example of Elimgbu Egelege
Wrestling is one of the most celebrated cultures of the Ikwerre people, especially in Elimgbu community of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State of Nigeria. Wrestling is dialectically known as “Egelege” both in Elimgbu and Otah and other parts of the Ikwerre communities. It is one of the physical calisthenics that tend to foster unity amongst the people. The idea is to situate the (Egelege) wrestling contest as a typical traditional theatre. This work goes into the study of rituals and wrestling festival in Ikwerre land, but with a focus on the theatrical dimension in Elimgbu wrestling festival in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State. The work looks at such relevant aspects as the performer and performing styles, dialogues, music, dance, movement, and performance area. The study identifies the problems and prospects of wrestling festival in Ikwerre clan and its attraction to tourists. The work concludes that there is a mutual relationship between ancestors and performers, and that ritual and performance are in harmony before metamorphosing into entertainment. Finally, it is recommended that the festival be given greater relevance as a tourist based project.