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Benin Popular Destinations

Public Square Zanvali Houngbè Atè Ahito

Public square Zanvali Houngbè Atè "Formerly called Ahito because facing a market, zanvali houngbéaté square is dedicated to zangbeto.On space, we see a shed painted ocher yellow lime, whose roof rests on 06 poles It is a building with two small entrances and a cement bricks base, and inside there are statues of a man and a woman sitting opposite. Also note the presence of a zangbeto mask Public place dating from tè-agbanlin (founder of the kingdom of xogbonou porto-Novo towards the XVIIth century) "

Seme Kpodji, Benin

Zangbeto, Masks Society, Cultural Areas

Zangbeto is a mask of the region of Oueme. It is responsible for unmasking thieves, thugs and foreigners likely to bring the danger in the city of Aïnnonvis (the inhabitants of Porto-Novo). It is a police mask that watches over the population and controls all the activities of the night. In goun, Zan means night and Gbeto means "man" or "hunter" according to the pronunciation. The Zangbeto is mandated by the King to ensure security and public order during the night.

Porto-novo, Benin


Bliguede is a secret society. This company is very discreet and its actions seem more and more rare. It is a company representing the police. She is the night incarnation of Zangbeto. However, the initiates of one do not have access to the domain of the other. It seems that the practices differ somewhat.

The Bliguede is the customs officer of the night. It can only be seen by insiders. Its purpose is the protection of society against theft, hence the systematic control it performs on the people it encounters at night. It is not revealed during the day, unlike the Zangbeto. It is a very secret society that some say will not tolerate bad character and punish it with death.

Ketou, Benin

The Gelede Mask Practice

The city of Kétou is considered by all known sources as the birthplace of the Gelede mask practice. The origins of this mask practice would also go back almost as far back as the foundation of Kétou's kingdom.

In Kétou, the Gelede is a secret society to which one adheres to protect oneself from the death, from the disease, to ensure its blossoming, the wealth and the fertility. The Gelede appears as society's response to witchcraft, causing calamities such as epidemics or drought according to local beliefs. The woman is the key that opens the door to the understanding of the symbolic and ritual context of Gelede. Indeed, in [Yoruba] society, the woman is supposed to possess a vital force that presents two facets: the positive one, as creator and protector of life, endowed with the knowledge of the curative powers of plants, regulating force guaranteeing social and moral order; the other negative, destructive, responsible for infertility, drought, epidemics and death. The Gelede would be the tribute to pay to the mystical powers of women, which must be protected and must be appeased in order to transform them into a beneficial power for society. To appease "mothers" as it is customary to call them, men put on their heads the mask. With a light scarf and a dress with long sleeves, they hide their physiognomy; they tie bells on their ankles and dance.

Ketou, Benin

Nonvitcha Party

Irony of fate or mere coincidence. The idea of ​​organizing such an event sprang up just after the end of the first world conflagration. Referring to the history course, this initiative took shape after the crossing of some countries bordering Benin of a national Xwéla named GNANSOUNOU AKPA in 1919. The latter, having noted the lack of brotherhood between the peoples Xwéla and Xwéla living abroad decided, on his return, to organize a series of meetings with the dignitaries of the Xwla community in order to promote a spirit of brotherhood between the two communities. Thus, after various consultations, the first edition of Nonvitcha took place in 1923. The descendants, anxious to preserve the fraternal bond established by their ancestors have dedicated the Pentecost Sunday as official day of celebration of Nonvitcha.

Over the years, several touches of modernity have been brought to this ceremony. A place was chosen to house the various official events. Formerly celebrated in one day, the feast of Nonvitcha in recent years takes place over several days. Communications, dance parties, sports competitions and many other activities complete the festivities of Nonvitcha. 

Grand-popo, Benin

Twins Celebration

The place Agondji in Ouidah was crowded on Sunday, October 8, 2017. A great event drained this incomparable crowd of people from all walks of life. This is the Twelfth Festival of Ouidah. Celebrated since the 1940s in Cotonou, it is indeed, that in 1951 that Cosme Domingo established in the historic city of Gléxwé (Ouidah) this festival.

Ouidah, Benin

Traditional Struggle

The fight, traditional sport, is a hand-to-hand fight between two men. The first to overcome his opponent is the winner.

Sport reserved for men (60Kg junior to 80Kg, senior 65Kg to 120Kg).

We have three phases of 3 minutes each interspersed with a minute of break with the presence of a referee.The fight is done on a (circular) area of sand called wrestling arena with a diameter of 11 meters delimited by bags filled with sand. The wrestlers are barefoot, bare-chested, wearing leather breeches or a loincloth wrapped around their hips, wearing talismans on their arms, hips or necks.

This individual sport was practiced once in the clear moon in northern Benin, after the harvest of yams or initiatory ceremonies (passage of young people to adulthood for example).

Savalou, Benin

Hill Walking Tour

Hill Walking Tour
Initiative born in 2014 of the Sports Association, the doves based in the municipality of Dassa-Zoumé with the technical support of Sport Consulting Agency, specialist sports events, the tour brings together the best runners and all those who have the desire to test their ability on the 12km road race. It is also planned a 5 km walk to give everyone the chance to take part in this annual sports festival. Both events take place around the chain of hills that extends from the village of Gankpétin to Egbakokou place where is the common finish line.

Dassa, Benin

Kaleta Dance

Kaleta is a person dressed in a clown and wearing a mask during a dance event of the same name, usually performed on holiday evenings by young children reminding everyone of the impending festivities.

A Kaleta group is made up of several actors each playing a very specific role. The success of the show depends on a good coordination between the said actors grouped into 3 categories:

- The kaleta. Wearing a suit made of straws, gloves, and torn fabrics, he wears a mask in his face and is the main dancer of the group.
- The chorists. These are the singers of the group. The leader of the Kaleta group very often also plays the role of choirmaster.
- The instrumentalists. They play the musical instruments namely tam-tam, gon, kpanou etc.

Some well-organized kaleta groups have their own musical instrument manufacturer or costume designer for making accoutrements. Moreover all these elements can easily be bought on the market. Although kaleta is now a custom in Benin, it must be said that neither the ceremony nor the mask is sacred.

Cotonou, Benin

Horse Race

Horses race

Horses lined up for an epic race in Djougou. About 70 competitors to conquer the trophy estimated at 1,000,000 CFA francs.

The horse race of Djougou has gathered the lovers of this discipline around the organizer Nouhoum Bida, deputy native of the locality. A 1000 meter circumstance racetrack has been set up to house this competition.

The 2016 edition of the equestrian race was attended by riders from Togo. This situation did not leave indifferent the organizer who said he was satisfied with the good running of this competition. He promises to work even harder to make the other editions a race on a continental scale.

Djougou, Benin