The Obudu New Yam Festival

Obudu Local Government Area is one of the eighteen Local Government councils in Cross River State, located in the northern flank of the state. Agriculture is the major activity of the people with the cultivation of yam, cassava, rice, oil palm, cocoa and groundnuts. The Obudu Ranch Resort, an internationally acclaimed exotic tourist Resort is located within the fringes of Obudu Local Government, there by increasing human traffic and socio-economic activities in the area. The people are highly receptive and accommodating as could be witnessed in the relative peace and security prevailing across the entire local government area.

Obudu is bounded on the north by Tsar Local Government of Benue State, on the east by neighboring Obanliku local government area which was formally part of Obudu and on the south and west by her sister local government areas of Boki and Bekwarra.

Obudu comprises five tribes by name Bette, Utugwang, Alege, Ukpe and Ubang with strongly staged cultural affinity and speak slightly variant language.

The Obudu New Yam Festival is an annual event celebrated by the Obudu people in commemoration of the arrival of the New yam, considered to be king of all crops, which accounts for why traditionally, Men are rated according to the size of their yam farm as well as the size and number of yam tubers they can boast of.

This annual celebration, traditionally known as Bipam Bifife predates several centuries and was handed down by our forefathers and has undergone several innovations, but still preserving the customary rites which are a spectacle to behold. The festival is celebrated on the first Saturday of September yearly, with this year’s own being marked today, 5th September 2020.

Melon Cake

The celebration is occasioned by abundance of pounded yam with different variety of native soups.

As a sign of womanhood, it is usually a thing of pride for married women to prepare melon cake known as “Bikem” in Bette language for consumption, accompanied by the drinking of palm wine made sufficiently available by the men.

There are also different groups and types of traditional dances such as Ikpatem’ana, Angyor’isom, Ijegè amongst others performed for the entertainment of the spectators drawn from within and outside Cross River State.

As we commemorate this year’s celebration, I heartily wish the peace loving people of Obudu a bountiful harvest and a memorable New Yam Festival.


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