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The annual yam festival is generally applied in communities in Enugu state of Nigeria though at different intervals, usually during harvest period (between July and November).
It is celebrated in appreciation to Chukwuobioma (gods of the land) for his protection all through the farming year till the harvest time.
The celebration is widely believed to open ways for good health and a better farming year ahead. During the new yam, friends and families exchange yams that they harvested and also other agricultural products like livestock.
The new yam festival in communities in Enugu state is largely associated with masquerade display, feasting, dancing and other cultural performances. It is expected that an indigene of Enugu state should not eat yam prior to the new yam festival of his community.
The traditional rulers of various communities will first appease the gods and then offer the new yam to them before he and other members of the community will then begin to eat the new yam in their respective homes.
Leboku New Yam Festival - Yakurr
This is a three weeks new yam festival celebrated by the people of Yakurr, Yakurr is a local government inCross River State of Nigeria and comprises of villages such as Ugep, Idomi, Ekori, Mkpani, Nko, Nyima, Agoi and Asia.
It is celebrated to appease the goddess and the ancestral spirit of the land and also to pray for a productive harvest.
The Leboku cultural fiesta offers a refreshing and interesting experience to both participants and spectators.
The cultural festival takes off with a public parade to the Yakurr ancestral home from mid-August to mid-September. During this festival, people are not allowed to go to the farm. They are expected to exchange visit with one another.
The second day is the women’s festival day popularly known as (Janenboku). Women and loved ones receive gifts from friends and well-wishers. Cultural dances of various kinds are presented during the festival to usher in the Ledemboku (the male’s festival) which is commonly held in the playground or the Miss Leboku Beauty Pageant which is held in one of the hotels in the town. Women competitive activities are performed on this day.
The third day is the male festival (Ledemboku) and it also involves the presentation of gifts to male loved one’s and also a display by the Etangala masquerade who is known to be appearing only once in a year andonly on the festival of new yam.
After this follows the day of rest known as Nkokeboi, which is the day the maidens and young men are opportune to see and make new friends and then Leteboku which is a poetry contest among the ladies or maidens of the community which is accompanied by a dance with the rhythm produced by the leg-banglesworn by the maidens.
A couple of days after the Leteboku is the Yekpi, this is a day when boys and the maidens parade the town in a ceremony believed to usher in peace and prosperity. The Yeponfawa follows the Yekpi and the ceremony is reserved only for initiates of the Libini group, to declare the first phase of the Leboku over and it takes place during the night.
After the Yeponfawa, young boys and girls participate in a 7days music and festival through their dance,Egbendum (for boys) and Oka (for girls). Every neighbourhood has its own group, which is directed by an adult, who also teaches them songs and dance steps
This festival rounds off with heavy merriments as parents, youths and well-wishers are entertained with freshpalm wine and porridge yam.

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