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Popo Carnival 2024

Come celebrate the cultural heritage of the Abouré community

Dates: April 1–14, 2024

The Popo Carnival is a renowned cultural festival held annually in Bonoua. Taking place each spring around April, this event has become a beloved tradition, drawing nearly 100,000 visitors each year. It serves as a vibrant celebration of the rich traditions and customs of the Abouré people, showcasing their cultural heritage to the world.

Schedule of Events

The Popo Carnival kicks off on a lively note, commencing with a week-long commercial fair featuring brass bands, theatrical performances, and traditional dances. This bustling trade event adds to the festivity, attracting visitors from Abidjan and nearby towns to engage with local vendors. Following the fair is a spectacular parade showcasing floats and costumed participants parading through the city's main square.

The Beauty Contest

The highlight of the parade includes the crowning of the most handsome man (Ébe) and the most beautiful woman (Awoulaba), with the Awoulaba symbolizing the essence of the Popo carnival. Each edition of the carnival has its African beauty queen. The festivities culminate with a grand masked ball. On Sunday, the focus shifts to ancestral worship, fostering family and generational gatherings.

The Aboure King

The Aboure king acts as the chief of seven villages. The high point of the carnival is a parade featuring the arrival of the king, who wears a gold crown and a long robe. He is accompanied by men beating drums and blowing ox horns. The carnival also includes a football match, sports days, and cooking competitions. The performances are intended to keep the heritage of the Aboure people alive and remind them of what they have gained or lost.

History of the Popo Carnival

The Popo Carnival traces its roots back to 1946 when young Abourés in Bonoua modified the annual yam festival by introducing the "Popo," which means "mask" in the Abouré language. Over time, this tradition evolved, and the festival was officially named the "Popo Carnival," incorporating modern carnival elements into the parade, showcasing the region's vibrant culture. Since 1972, the Popo Carnival has become a cherished custom among the Abouré community, celebrated annually during the Easter period in April. It brings together people from all walks of life to partake in the festivities, marking a time of collective joy and jubilation.

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Authors: Sophia Andrus