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I. Coast: Baulé communities travel to celebrate 'Paquinou'

Mask Goly show and traditional dancers during the Paquinou celebration on April 9, 2023 in Sakassou, central Cote d'Ivoire.   -  
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Ivory Coast

Wearing masks which represent spirits and ancestors and performing dances: Sunday (Apr. 9) was a feast day for the Baule people in the centre of Cote d'Ivoire.

Some gathered in their village of Sakassou to celebrate "Paquinou" or Easter.

Speakers of Baulé are part of the ethnolinguistic grouping of peoples of the Guinea Coast who speak Akan languages.

"Today Paquinou has become a holiday for the Akan people", Evangeliste Gibet explains.

"It is during this holiday that the family gathers, parents come, cousins, sisters, nephews and aunts, everyone comes for family reunions."

To mark the occasion, the Baule people also celebrate with dances, a traditional alcoholic beverage prepared by distillation of palm, called koutoukou and Christian mass.

The festival is also seen as a way to connect with the spiritual world. The mix of traditional and Christian customs during Easter brings together the community and the different groups and believers.

"Paquinou for us, the Baule, is the great moment of reunion to settle our conflicts and think about the development of our villages," local resident Richmond Kouassi says. "So here is why we have chosen Easter and we say Paquinou, which means Easter for Baule."

To keep their tradition alive, people from across the Baulé Kingdom work hard to make the journey home and celebrate Paquinou.

East of Sakassou,the Kingdom's capital, an international festival in Daoukro celebrate the Baulé heritage.

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