Mystical festival celebrated in Ivory Coast marks new year in the Abidji culture

(15 Apr 2024)





Yaobou, Ivory Coast – 13 April 2024

1. Various chief initiator Koffi N’guessan looks on as a man plays a bell instrument at N’guessan’s home
2. Men prepare for the most important day of the Dipri mystic festival
3. SOUNDBITE (French) Koffi N’guessan, chief festival initiator:
“I was initiated by my father, who holds the power of his father. When you bring a child into the world, this power is already there, even down to the grandchildren. So today he is no longer with us, we are the initiators. My older brother was the initiator and now he has passed, so I’m the one who is here now.”

4. N’guessan washes himself before festival
5. Various chief initiator Koffi N’guessan looks on as men prepare for the most important day of the Dipri mystic festival
6. SOUNDBITE (French) Koffi N’guessan, Chief initiator of Dipri mystic festival:
“I was attacked right near my house, using their knife, they stabbed me here and here. I was admitted to the hospital where I remained in a coma for ten days. All the doctors said that I was not going to make it, since the knife had reached my liver. But thanks to the power that I have, I am alive today.”

7. Various men prepare herbs before the festival ceremony
8. Various festival attendants arrive for initiation rituals with chickens for sacrifice and liquor
9. SOUNDBITE (French) Koffi N’guessan, Chief initiator of Dipri mystic festival:
"I am asking the young people, the girls, to initiate themselves (into the traditional culture). You can still go to your church ! But initiate yourself here. That’s all that I ask. For the future. One day you could travel, today there is war everywhere. You can be saved from that if you carry your faith with you. You can be saved.”

10. People walk towards the sacred river (note – images of sacred river are forbidden)
11. SOUNDBITE (French) Christelle M’boua, Yaobou resident:
“We just got back from the sacred river, we will now go to the large public square so that everyone can show their power through demonstrations.”

12. Various people walk to area where there will be a ceremony of people symbolically hitting themselves with knives
13. Various drums during knife ceremony
14. Various men cut themselves lightly or symbolically with knives
15. Man rolls on top of a fire
16.SOUNDBITE (French) Father Marius Hervé, Catholic priest, from Yaobou:
“This is the national holiday of my village. Everything that is African is not satanic, everything that is African is not demoniac. The African himself must realize that he can believe in Jesus Christ while still being African.”

17. Various people walk in a procession during the festival


A traditional mystic festival takes place each year after the Christian festival of Easter in a village in the Ivory Coast.

Taking part in the Dipri festival is a way of being initiated into Abidji culture.

Locals believe that rituals, including one which involves participants symbolically cutting themselves with knives, impart strength and do not conflict with their Christian beliefs.


A hand bell rings out to mark the culmination of a mystic festival of the Abidji people in the Ivory Coast.

Here in the southern village of Yaobou, nearly 85 kilometers north of Abidjan, the yearly Dipri festival is celebrated in April.

The festival corresponds to the fourth lunar month of the Abidji calendar, which marks the new year in Abidji culture and initiates participants in Abidji culture.

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Author: admin