The word “Eyo” also refers to the costumed dancers, known as the masquerades that come out during the festival. The origins of this observance are found in the inner workings of the secret societies of Lagos. Back in the days, The Eyo festival is held to escort the soul of a departed Lagos King or Chief and to usher in a new king.
Also known as Adamu Orisha Play, it’s first procession started way back in Lagos on 20th of February, 1854 to commemorate the then Oba of Lagos, Oba Akintoye which normally involves paying homage to the reigning Oba of Lagos. The indigienes of Lagos are domiciled in Lagos Island, known also as Isale Eko. It is these indigenes, who celebrate the Eyo Festival, a cultural and traditional masquerade display, which emerges from the Iga (Palace) of the Oba or any of his cabinet members.
In modern times, it is presented by the people of Lagos as a tourist event and due to its history, is traditionally performed on Lagos Island, which is why your visit to Lagos is not complete without seeing the Eyo masquerades perform.
Only adult males may robe as Eyo; but sometimes, there may be a child Eyo in a group. The sons and daughters and wives, as well as friends and neighbours of the Iga follow the Eyo on a parade from one end of Lagos Island to the other. The route of each Eyo goes from the Iga, where the Iga’s Eyo leave en masse, and then on to the Agodo – the shrine of the Orisa Eyo.