- Takes note that Nigeria has nominated Eyo masquerade festival (No. 00679) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:
The Eyo masquerade festival of Lagos is celebrated in honour of the deity Adamu Orisha, regarded as the conduit through which departed souls may enter the spirit world. The festival is considered an important rite of passage and is usually held to mark the burial rites of a prominent chief. It is opened by a notable public figure carrying a white pigeon in the hand. Eyo costumed dancers then parade through the city, attired in flowing white gowns that symbolize purity and represent the spirits of the dead. All the dancers carry a staff for magic prayers and wear a large, decorated, fully veiled straw hat whose colour and design indicate the extended family compound to which they belong. The festival brings the community together, integrates all strata of society and pays obeisance to the ruling Oba (king) of Lagos. All adults belonging to Eyo households can be bearers of the masquerade and each compound or group is duty-bound to transfer and improve the intricate designs of staff, straw hat and clothing. The poetry recited during the festival is also particular to each compound or group and is handed down through the generations (both orally and in written form), with modifications and improvisations.
- Decides that, from the information included in the file, the nomination satisfies the following criteria for inscription on the Representative List:
R.1: Rooted in the social and cultural fabric of Lagos and passed on from generation to generation, Eyo masquerade festival is an event expressing profound spiritual beliefs that integrates all members of the community;
R.2: Inscription of the Eyo masquerade on the Representative List could promote dialogue between Eyo communities and others, as well as foster cultural appreciation and mutual respect;
R.4: Eyo groups and custodians of the festival participated in the nomination process, represented by the traditional Prime Minister of Lagos, Head of the Adamu Orisha in Council, as well as the Lagos State Council for Arts and Culture and the Oba (king) of Lagos, who gave their free, prior and informed consent;
R.5: Eyo masquerade festival is included in the National Inventory of Oral and Intangible Cultural Heritage, maintained and regularly updated by the National Committee on Oral and Intangible Cultural Heritage for Nigeria.
- Further decides that the information included in the file is not sufficient to allow the Committee to determine whether the following criterion for inscription on the Representative List is satisfied:
R.3: The nomination describes no concrete safeguarding measures at the community or State level to ensure the viability of the element, particularly in the wake of inscription.
- Decides to refer the nomination of Eyo masquerade festival to the submitting State Party and invites it to resubmit the nomination to the Committee for examination during a following cycle;
- Commends the submitting State for putting forward this nomination, which may contribute to intercultural dialogue, and invites it, should it wish to resubmit the nomination, to include well-drafted descriptions with better argumentation, taking full advantage of the word allowances, while avoiding misplaced information and unnecessary repetition, and to provide a high-quality video recording;
- Further invites the submitting State to consider elaborating measures aimed at mitigating the risks of possible over-commercialization.