On Tuesday, May 11, 2021, the villages of Elibou and Sahuyé, in the department of Sikensi, celebrated the annual Dipri festival, punctuated by scenes shrouded in mysteries. All-white Cloaked Villagers with kaolin painted faces, roamed the village streets, chanting and uttering incantations to ward off bad luck and bring happiness to families.
Others proceeded, to the sound of drums, to demonstrations of mystical prowess, in particular piercing their stomachs with knives; fits, which only the initiated can comprehend, could be observed in the public square and various other locations.
According to the Elibou village chief, Nanan Abro Baka Corneille, the Dipri is in its essence a “ festive moment for rejoicing which coincides with the beginning of the big rainy season (April-May), the period in which we cultivate yam ”.
Dipri, or Kpon, commemorates the sacrifice made by an ancestor to save the Abidji people from famine, also known as the "feast of blood". For blood flows from the wounds inflicted by men in a trance. This celebration is characterized by ritual animal sacrifices. The initiated, after a purifying bath, "prick" themselves with a knife.
The Dipri is also a moment of sharing and reconciliation in families. During the festival, villagers offer food to everyone, especially foreigners, and conflicts are settled in the family, we were told.
The Dipri celebration calendar follows a very specific one in the Abidji country. In April, it begins in the villages of Gomon, Yaobou, Sikensi and Katadji. In May, it is the turn of Elibou and Sahué, and in June, Badasso ensures the closing ceremonies.