AN INVESTIGATION INTO PUBERTY INITIATION OF YOUNG GIRLS INTO WOMANHOOD ( EDUCATION PROJECT TOPICS AND MATERIALS)
BACKGROUND STUDY, PHYSICAL AND HISTORICAL DESCRIPTION OF OKPEMERI
“Okpemeri” is a term, which denotes oneness in other words the term “Okpemeri” means “we are one” the group of people “Okpemeri” who are identified with this name are those that sphere the same cultural historical and linguistic attributes the towns are situated in the northern part of Edo State specially in Akoko Edo Local Government Area. The towns are:
The languages of these twenty-two communities are quite similar, hence the term “Okpemeri” was been adapted to represent all that the communities stand for. Among the various ceremony and festivals of the communities the initiation of young girls into womanhood is one of the most important. This ceremony is generally called “Oviliok”. The term ovilivia represent the initiated. This festival takes place once a year in each of the villages mentioned above. Ovilivia is a festival of initiation of young girls of marriageable age into womanhood. It is a revered culture, which upholds the moral purity of the “Okpemeri” communities. That the festival has to do with both morality and religion is only to be expected. According to Idowu in his book the “sociology of education (1978)” said “morality is basically the first of religion and that to begin with, it depend upon it”. The ovilivia festival is not a festival of mass wedding rather, it is a festival which declare young women mature, qualified and old enough to marry. In some areas initiating maidens could be interms of circumcision but the “Okpemeri”, it is not so. During the ceremony, young girls are decorated with “Elopo” (beads), which is worn round the waist, her neck and hands to identify that they are undergoing the festival. This could also serve as a medium to show that they are eligible for marriage. The parent distributes sugar, Ahu (local beer brewed at home). There is also the shooting of guns to signify that there is a festival going on. (J. O. Odutola, 1963) in terms of customs during the Olivia festivals the maidens usually dressed with Ojah (woven cloth) tied around their waist but decorated with beads and bangles both on their hands and necks.