Happy Paquinou

Easter weekend takes its own Ivorian twist here with the festival of Paquinou among the country’s largest ethnic group, the Baoule. For the last couple of centuries the traditional Baoule lands have been in what is now central Ivory Coast, but Baoule farmers are found throughout the southern forest zone having migrated to new forests where they frequently became cocoa and coffee farmers.

Taking advantage of the long Easter weekend (Paque in French), the community have made this the traditional weekend for Baoule to return to their home villages for community meetings and a good dose of partying. For the past few days the bus stations in Abidjan have been packed with hundreds sleeping out in an effort to get a seat on buses heading up country. Huge amounts of beer and palm wine will be drunk and in nine months time expect a glut of new borns. Last year’s festival was muted due to it coinciding with the post-election violence, so this year is expected to be bigger than ever. One cultural entrepreneur is even trying to profit from the event by organising a ‘Paquinou in Abidjan’, for those not willing to travel.

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