It is also widely celebrated in most states in Igbo land (South Eastern Part of Nigeria). It is celebrated in the first month of the New Year. It is a lively cultural festival that attracts people from in and outside the various communities within the states.
The èkpo festival has existed for millenniums and involves many kinds of masquerades performing different kinds of cultural dance. Its roots are deep in Igbo traditions and rituals.
It is only a tragic event such as the death of a village hero or king, or permission from the gods that can stop the staging of the festival. During the festival, all males and females (old and young) of different age groups (grades) dress in their cultural attires, the male must tie a piece of wrapper (Akwa jọj) to make up for the cultural attire.
Male children who have been initiated into the ekpo masquerade, and are skilled in playing the cultural music, the performances masquerades are appreciated while performing the dancing by donating money to them while the music is on, by the people.
The apex of this cultural festival is the moment when the masquerade will use a cutlass and behead a goat at a strike. It is worthy to point out that èkpo should not be confused with Ékpè.
The latter is a secret society that is exclusive to men, and which is also called Okonko in many parts of Igboland. This society is equally popular among the Efik and Annang people of Nigeria.