26th of December every year is a date the Igbo nation keeps with the people of Anara Town, as the world celebrate boxing day, the Anara Town celebrate Anara day festival which is one of the biggest and oldest cultures been celebrated in the Igbo land. It was introduced by Oha Mmanwu Osuh and it is called “Ito ebele”.
The festival which is also known and referred by people as the festival of powerful Masquerades Starts in front of an old big tree called Atakwu, which is located in front of Anara central school compound. Immediately the ceremony is declared opened by the chief in-charge , the masquerades are seen parading and displaying some powerful acrobatic motion which gives people joy while watching the event.
In recent times, this yearly carnival has come under attack and as a result no longer interesting as it used to be, our correspondence who graced the occasion last year 2015 said that the carnival has become an avenue where boys and girls come to look for date, an avenue which is been described as a boy and girls party. In trying to understand why it has turned to be like this, we were made to understand the Christians in this town sees the carnival very demonic, and as a result of this decided to cut down the powerful Atakwu tree, after series of prayers by a well renowned man of God called Reverend Father No-Shaking.
This town called Anara is located in Isiala Mbano LGA of Imo State which is about 25km East of Owerri. The town is made-up of eight villages , which are Idem, Aguna, Umuneke, Duru Na Ezike, Umuoluwe, Umuehie, Umuagwu and Dialum.
Anara has a strategic position on the map as it is a junction town connecting four major roads, which are the Owerri-Okigwe road and the Orlu-Umuahia road. It has a big and popular market called Afor Anara where fresh fruits and other farm produces are traded by people from both Anara and neighbouring towns.
Anara was raised to a state of autonomy in 1981. From the time of autonomy till April 2007, the town was ruled by a traditional ruler-HRH Eze LAD Agbugba,who had the title ORJIWURUOBODO II after his late father Eze Agbugba, the ORJIWURUOBODO who reigned during the days of British rule in Nigeria. Since the year 2008 till now, we have not heard about his successor.