VIRGINS FOR SALE!! Inside The Iria Festival Of Nigeria Where Young Girls Dance Half-Naked And Display Their Virginity To “Attract Potential Husbands”

As we all know, culture and traditional customs are the heart of Africa. Long before Europeans settled on the coasts of the African continent, there were coming of age or puberty rites boys and girl had to undergo to become adults.

These rites usually performed by elderly men and women of an ethnic group focused on men becoming warriors to help defend the state in times of war and, for the women, to master domestic responsibilities including cooking, shedding s3xual naivety and bearing children.

For Okrika, a town in Rivers State, Nigeria, the Iria Festival is one such occasion that prepares young girls and boys to become knowledgeable adults.

It is staged in December and January by the various communities in Okrika but in the last decade, out of the 10 Okrika communities that participated, only two communities including Ogu, take the festival seriously partly due to the invasion of the Christian religion.

Parents advise their 16 and 17-year-old virgins and enter them into the Iria ceremony. Older women called ‘Gbenerime’ expel pregnant girls allowing yet-to-be s3xually active girls to proceed to be camped for 30 days in a fattening room. As part of the grooming process, the maidens go to the waterside to bathe at dawn.

They are also fed with the typical Okrika food of pounded yam and plantain with fresh fish. The meal is to help them become well endowed, agile and delightful.

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