The origin and development of Amassoma Seigbein can be traced to Oboro the founder of Amassoma. After his death, that attracted physical condolences, the community was influenced to contribute into a common treasury so as to take care of visitors and sympathizers. Coincidentally, it was a period of harvesting new yam. Thus women donated baskets of yam while the men donated palm oil. Fish was need for the diet to be complete. As a result men and women of the community decided and went for a successful fishing expedition at “Oubulu” a long narrow lake located at southeast of Amassoma. The situation culminated into a colourful feasting ceremonies.
After the death of Oboro the founder of Amassoma (somosomo-Ama) his children led by Alomu Oboro gathered other children of Oboro to discuss what to remember their Oboro the father yearly. They concluded to perform yearly activity, which they called it seigben to celebrate the period. This yearly operation started from Oubulu canal which opposite Amassoma where fishing was done for the occasion later on Ogugubulu canal also opposite Amassoma took place for the occasion, The meaning of Seigbein is “Throne away evil”.
A second fishing expedition was carried out in honour of Oboro in a wonderful second burial without a common treasury. Owing to its success, the people believed the spirit of Oboro and Oyein (literally our Mother-God the creator) blesses their harvests. Thus the practice of animal fishing expedition and feasting was established. Further, the festive period also coincided with a period of purification, a period of nesting after intensive farm work, a period of forgiveness and a period of marry making.
This is an age-long annual tradition held at the Seigben Ogugu Lake in Amassoma, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. It is usually graced by beautiful dance performances of the Egbelegbele dance troupe among others. Other major activities that accompany the festival include a ‘Love Boat Party’ and singing. The festival is held every year on the 30th of May . The carnival nature of the celebration attracts people from all walks of life.
During this period, all citizens of Amassom will be intact at home until the occasion is over. It took complete four days. During these days free drink, eating and various dances of different kind, displayed by musicians all, towards the honour and remembrance of the founder, Oboro, Izon
The follow-up performance of fishing and feasting festival.
This operation is performed in order to wipe away badly, abnormally and wizardly died people who were buried according to their bury ground who came for the fishing and feasting festival to go back to their proper destinations.
The mood of performance, guns were shot within town streets without wounding any persons. This just to tell the aforementioned died people that the occasion is over.
Amassoma was not originally called this name; was known as Somosomo-Ama because of its swampy nature.
However, the white traders who came to trader in the deltaic region were unable to pronounce the name correctly and in its place they called the name Amassoma
During the Seigben Amassoma fishing and feasting festival, slaughtering of live animals and even buying of the dead bodies are prohibited during this period. It was believed that all ancestors where around for merry making to influence good
As a result of certain physical and socio-economic factors affecting fishing expedition in the Oubulu, the festival site was relocated to the present lake called Ogugubulu (creek) directly opposite the community. The Ogugubulu including its inlet and outlet area is usually reserved for a reasonable period with community restrictive laws. This prevents people from tempering with it. A date is fixed or set aside for the festival after traditional rituals. On the day of the festival, either ends or outlets of the Ogugubulu are blocked with mats weaved or made of bamboo and raffia. Every interested member of the community, residents or visitors alike prepares, their fishing gears and get set in their canoes at the community, ready to take-off to cross in a very colourful competitive race to the lake. A first canon shot signals the take-off. Thereafter participants take positions at strategic places in the lake fishing commences with a second canon shot. Other participants as well as observers get into the lake and adjourning island with colourful dancing parades, fanfare and pick nicks.
The festival proper takes place in the months of May to June but mostly in the first week of June and spans for a period of one of two weeks due to its added and colour activities. The festival is usually organized by each compound on rotating basis. Highlights of the festival include fishing, harvesting of new yams, feasting and exchange of gifts and visits other activities which make the festival elaborate include traditional dances such as Egbelegbele, Okesonomo, Agene, Anyanma, Adita, Masquerades, Wrestling, Swimming competition, firm shows and soccer. The last day of celebrations at the festival is rounded up with gun shots by men toward the down stream of the community. Women on the other hand round houses with flames and burning embers of fire thrown into the river at dusk – throwing away evil”.