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Even if the youth of the nearby big city of Abidjan appropriated the event, making the ABISSA one of the most popular West African festivale,
the upholders of the NZIMA tradition succeeded in keeping the essence of this major cultural and religious event:
The NZIMA people's NEW YEAR....
"ABISSA" means "the Question",
It correpsonds to the two last weeks of the AKAN calendar, approximately end of October begining of November.
During this period life is suspended to let place to a long process of rituals
which final purpose is to receive from "NYAMIE", the allmighty, absolution for the misdeeds of the ending year,
and blessing for the upcoming one.
During the Abissa, most of the human activities stand by. No work, no wedding, no funerals, no baptisum...
The 14 days are fully dedicated to communicate with the ancestors, the community's advocates to NYAMIE,
AKAN name of GOD....
To achieve this puropse,
every individuals has to repent publicly after the community may have pointed out his misdeeds for the elapsed year.
This accusation-repentance ritual is a highlight of the ABISSA where people disguised into their relatives
and mimic their flaws and vanities.
This masquerade that turns the streets of BASSAM into a giant costume bal stage,
is undoubtly the ancestor of the Carnivales celebrated by our cousins from the Caribbeans or from New Orleans.
The ABISSA is also the opportunity for the NZIMA community to honour its worthiest childrens,
those who have contributed to its pride during the finishing year. They may be Artists, Scientists, Politicians, Business men or women.
Whatever, women being considered in AKAN culture like the mainstays of the society are celebrated during two days every year.
The procession of the 7 families founders of the NZIMA kingdom, the ritual dance of the NKOMYAN (priestesses), the MPAE ritual (libation),
the AHENFIE (Royal court) procession and the public appearance of the King of the NZIMA KOTOKO are among the highlights of the ABISSA.
But the most important event is the appearance, the last day of the Abissa at 5am, of EDO GBOLE, the Great Talking Drum,
bearer of the Soul of NZIMA people.
And once he appears EDO GBOLE replies to the "ABISSA", the "Question", which is:
Does the NZIMA people deserves to enter the NEW YEAR?
If EDO GBOLE answers YES!!! BASSAM becomes ECSTATIC....
Beside all religious ceremonies, the ABISSA is a very popular festivale, when the quiet and small city of BASSAM
becomes the heartbeat of la CÔTE d'IVOIRE.
Thousands of visitors coming from all the Country and especially from the nearby big Metro of ABIDJAN invade the city.
Typical Ivorian Barbecues, Beer, Concerts, Beach Bashes, this is another aspect of the ABISSA.
In the midst of this endless party, a special event is held: The WOODY (Warrior), celebrating Male Physique beauty.
Who better than the NZIMA could celebrate that?
Aren't they those that European navigators discovering the West African Coast in the 15th century baptized APPOLO?