The Mmanwu(Masquerade) are seen as entities in the Igbo ethnic group (Eastern Nigeria).While the are souls of death individual who once walked the cities.They are spirits which from time to time visit the living in times of celebration like the "New Yam festivals"-a successful cultural harvest(as in the picture with the 3 Mmanwu).The Igbo culture contains a longing for deceased.While an individual may have died-he/she still longs for fun and remembrance from the society.The Mmanwu come to tell stories,educate the people, entertain-dance and celebrate with their communities and may sometimes come to issue punishment.The Mmanwu wears masks(sometimes of 'passed away' individuals) are come in different colors.They Mmanwu may be visible or invincible.They are basically 3 different Mmanwu
Mmanwu Ocha ( the white masquerade): As show in the above picture to the left.Shows a deceased individual visiting and entertaining his family,friends and community.
Mmanwu Ojii( the Black one):Is invincible and comes to scare people of the village.They protect the village.
Mmanwu Agu (the Tiger masquerade):This one is known to make loud noises with the face of a Tiger, frightening people away to only stare at them from inside their homes or a window.
Young kids(like myself) feared to approach the Mmanwu's dancing as i was told horrific stories of kids who disrespected them and paid dearly.It was funny because I actually thought they were spirits.It was not until later I learned they were just like "mascots" .This added to my fear as a child.Members of the Mmanwu are secret society members.