Festivals & Events in Ivory Coast

IVORY COAST – FESTIVALS

The best way to understand the ethnic groups of Côte d’Ivoire is to witness the initiation ceremonies and ritual celebrations, animated by dances to the beat of drums, flutes and pumpkins used as instruments, such as:

Goli mask dance

Attending by the Baoule peoples. At the Goli mask dance you may attend a ceremony where two types of masks appear in the village, human face masks known as “kpan” and disc-faced masks known as “kple kple”. Their performance is theatrically managed for the greatest effect. The women start to dance and sing some time in advance to beg the masks to come. The women then welcome the masks as beloved personages, fanning them with scarves and dancing joyously behind them. Kple Kple masks – in particular – are called in time of danger or during funeral ceremonies. They are believed to connect people with supernatural powers and gods, which may have a good or bad influence on their lives.

Dance of the knives

The dancers make children fly through the air, exposing them to the risk of falling on knives, but the strength and skill of the dancers, on the one hand, and the imperturbability of children, on the other, is beyond all imagination. Few foreign visitors have witnessed these amazing dances.

The country has two practices included in the “representative list of intangible cultural heritage of humanity” of UNESCO.

Dance of the Young Virgins

This dance called Kgoro is part of the Senoufo initiation rites, and regards the village women.

Dance of the Panther

This dance is quite famous and it is performed by the men of the Senoufo peoples upon return of the young initiates after a period of isolation.

Guéré masks

Famous for their beautiful forms in wood. All these masks come from a sacred forest, where only the initiated may enter. Some of these masks dance on stilts. Other people do stunts.

Yacouba Masks

These masks are known as Gle Gben or Kwuya Nyon. They are three meters high and the dancers perform acrobatic gestures that excite the public. Despite its theatrical appearance, the masks are surrounded by secrets known only by the initiated men and never by women.

Gbofe of Afounkaha, the music of the transverse trumps of the Tagbana community

Gbofe is mainly practised in the village of Afounkaha, within the Tagbana community. The term Gbofe refers to both the instrument, the French horn, transverse and the associated music, songs and dances.
The horns are made of roots coated with cowhide and can reproduce words in the Tagbana language, which are then “translated” by the choirs of women. The horns and the songs are accompanied by drums that set the pace and give structure to Gbofe. It is performed during rituals and traditional ceremonies.

Dan and Guere Mask

Cultural practices and expressions associated with the balafon of the Sénoufo communities of Mali, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast

The balafon of the Sénoufo of Mali, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast is a pentatonic xylophone known locally by the name of “ncegele”. The ncegele livens up parties, accompanies prayers in churches and sacred forests, encourages industriousness, accompanies the funeral music and supports teaching the system of values, traditions, beliefs, common law, ethical rules that govern society and the individual in everyday acts.