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CULTURE

THE CULTURE OF THE EGBEMA PEOPLE IN IMO STATE

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THE CULTURE OF THE EGBEMA PEOPLE IN IMO STATE

Growing up, I was told to be an indigene of Imo State by birth, culture and citizenship.   Imo state one of the south eastern state in Nigeria with a total population of 4, 978,758 owerri being its capital and one of the populated towns.

These are several towns in Imo State which are Oguta, Orlu, Obowo, Mbaise and Okigwe. Imo state lies between latitutde 5o 30-5o 57 N and longitude 7o 04 – 7o 26E Covering a total land area of about 1,824km2

The major occupation of the people is agriculture and palm oil is their major product and the primary source of government revenue. The adapalm is the place where palm oil is processed by the native of Ohaji / Egbema

Imo state have several rivers which are Imo river being one of the major river in the state, got  its source from Okigwe and runs through Abia state, where it joins the Aba river from the north and Akwa Ibom state into the altantic ocean.

The Otammin river got it’s source from Egbu Owerri north with 9.2 km length tributary within the federal university of Technology Owerri (Futo) to through Nworie River in the state. The Ohaji/Egbema also have some rivers in it which includes the orashi river, onas creek and so many rivers in the state.

The Culture of Imo State.

The major languages spoken by the people of the state are Igbo and a little bit of English. Imo people have rich cultural heritage in their festivals (like the masquerade days) music, dance, dressing, arts and crafts.

The festival days are saccade days that ancestral things are celebrated.

Music: the people uses talking drum, and other native things to produce a lovely source to their visitors.

Dressing: The women tie two wrappers on the waist and wear a blouse that will bring out the beauty of the wrapper.

Food: the people of  imo state have a popular soup call the ofe owerri

 

 

EGBEMA

 

EGBEMA is a Clan/Kingdom that have it’s communities both in the Imo State and Rivers State parts of Nigeria.

In brief summary of their origin, the Egbema  people migrated from the Kingdom of Benin during the Exodus of the 16th century.

Today, they’re scattered and settled in various parts of the mid-west state and integrated with the Local society.

 

In 1702, The main stream of the Egbema people led by Orji settled in a place now known today as Umuorji. The entire settlement and farm lands where then called & declared ALINSO (Sacred Land) as they regard their people as Sacred, a name still held up with dignity till date and well known by their Neighbors.

 

In 1931, however the name of the land was changed to Egbema during a census to depict the true settlers and not the name given to the settlement. From Umuorji various farm settlements and villages emerged and grew into their own, in which at the dusk of 1931, only Sixteen of these villages survived and have remained till present day.

They were in two groups namely the ORU & ELUALI  groups. They villages are below in their various groups:

Abacheke, Mmahu, Okwuzi, Oborottu are the ORU group because they were all fishermen, hunters and farmers as well, while

Abaezi, Aggah, Etekwuru, Ekugba, Mgbede, Mgbara, Obiakpu, Obeakpu, Obokofia, Oforola, Umudike and Umuorji are the ELUALI group, as they were predominantly Farmers and Hunters.

They Egbema Clan is on the forefront of the Oil producing areas of the Country.

 

THE EGBEMA ECONOMY

They’re rich in agriculture, where you have Fishing, Forestry, Agro-Allied Industry, Petroleum Industry, and Quarrying.

THEIR SIGNIFICANT GREETING

The Egbema people have a greeting that is said to accord respect to elderly people, but in some cases are said to younger by the elder based on maternal origin of the elder, where the elder’s mother was born in the kindred of the younger one’s kindred. They greeting and response:

Younger/Greeting = Madoo.         Meaning (Peace be unto you, May you live long)

Elder/Response = Nmazhi (for male) or Ezenwanyi (female)       meaning (Accolades)

Younger/Greeter responds = Eyeeh  (yes, it’s me)

And so on as the elder hails the greeter.

 

IGWAJI FESTIVAL 

One major traditional and cultural event of the Egbema clan is the popular IGWAJI festival, it is as old as Egbema itself.

It is observed every year by the Egbema people when the New Yam (Ji Ofuu) are harvested. It is proceeded by a number of cultural activities, notably among them include: Inwu Miri Ijie, Ihu Aku, Igwaji Nze and Igwaji.

The Mgbede community sets the date for commencement as they starts first each year. About sixteen days after completion of festival by Mgbede community, Okwuzi and Abaezicelebrates theirs. About eighth days of completion by Okwuziand Abaezi communities, Obiakpu, Ekugba, Oforolla, Aggah, Mgbara and Obi-ibi festivals takes off. Mmahu, Abacheke, Obeakpu, Etekwuru, Umudike and Umuorji celebrate next, while last to celebrate are Obokofia and Opuoma.

 

The fixing of the date for the festival commencement by Mgbede is done in an orderly and customary manner, following procedures laid down by their fore-fathers.

 

In summary, These are they key activities that grace the IgwajiFestival:

 

  1. IKA-AGBE OF IGBUYI OLU IGWAJI

This marks fixing of the date for commencement by the oldest men of the communities led by the Mgbede people.

  1. IMA EKWE

Official and customary announcement of the fixed date.

  1. ISU UZO

Clearing and tidying of roads leading to farms and shrines, this is done by all communities.Masquerades play an active role in this activity.

  1. IHU JI

This takes place on Nkwo-Ukwu day whn members of respective families gather and entertain themselves marking the ushering in of the Igwaji festival.

  1. ICHU-AJA

This marks a period of sacrifice to deities, shrines and dead ancestors, in Abacheke community, the Oche-Ose ceremony is very popular. with the advent of western religion, Christians now say special prayers in churches in praise to God for the Igwaji festival.

  1. ORI-IJE

These includes all the songs and dances performed the Igwajifestival. Traditional instrument used include: Mkwa, Ugele, Ekwe, Awanaka, Odu and Udu. Among the most significant to the youths and people is the Egwu Oje, it was introduced like 30yrs ago from Ishaka. The lyrics and utterances of the EgwuOje are Profane, vexatious and utterly indecent but the sounds and dance steps appeals greatly to the youth.

  1. IGBU EWU

This is more social than cultural. However, during the IgwajiFestival, groups (age-grades, clubs, associations) pull their resources together with the view to entertain themselves lavishly. It provides a forum for the fraternizing members to commune with each other.

  1. IGBUBI-OMU (ICHU MMUO)

This is peculiar to the Igwaji festival period of the Mmahu. The ceremony marks the final clearing of community of all devilish influences.

  1. IRI AGA

This is peculiar to the Obokofia igwaji festival, it is celebrated by the Bride. Here the bride accepts or rejects the Bridegroom.

It is a period where relationships are strengthened, reconciled and made.

The Iri Aga marks the end of Igwaji Festival in Obokofia.

  1. IGWAJI EZE

This was a novel idea initiated by the Late custodian of Egbema tradition and culture, His Royal Majesty, Eze S. N. A Uzor, The Nze-Obi Of Egbema Kingdom.

It was a bold attempt to bringing modernization and far wide spectators to the famous Igwaji.

 

SIGNIFICANCE OF IGWAJI FESTIVAL

 

  1. It marks a period of Thanksgiving to the Almighty God for a bounteous harvest and appeal to Him for peace and harmony in Egbema Land.
  2. It’s a period of peace and reconciliation.
  3. Marriages are contracted and any discord reconciled during Igwaji.
  4. It marks a period of sober reflection and stock taking.

 

The Egbema Clan and it’s people have a very hospitable reputation and treatment in terms of taking care of strangers, visitors and external in-laws, in which their reputation have never be over emphasized.

Their famous service of kola-nut with dried fish, pepper and garden-egg all in one dish for full lavishing comfort of the visitor/stranger.

 

They are blessed with all the resources a place, state, country can have to be called a wealthy Nation.

Egbema is indeed a SACRED LAND with SACRED PEOPLE.

 

WRITER : Nwangwu Uchechi Maryanne

PHONE NUMBER : +234 810 091 2881

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CULTURE

The Igbo Traditional marriage

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  The Igbo Traditional marriage

 

As an igbo girl, I have experienced different types of traditional marriage including my elder relation traditional marriages. The best igbo traditional marriage i cherish most is the one i experienced under Ogburu Obu.

The Ogburu Obu is an ancient tree with lots of branches and enough capacity to accommodate 1,000 people under it. The igbo traditional marriage is traditional rite practiced by the igbo people in the southeastern part of Nigeria.the Southeastern Nigeria includes

  • Imo
  • Anambra
  • Enugu
  • Abi
  • Eboyi

This lovely people’s traditional  marriage is considered as one of the best, colourful and entertaining marriages in Nigeria. Once an Igbo man is ready to marry an Igbo lady, just know that he is embarking on the Igbo traditional marriage rites which includes

  1. Iku Aka(Introduction)
  2. Iju Ese
  3. Ima ebe di
  4. Igba Nkwu

 

  1. Iku Aka

The iku aka is known as introduction which involves the groom being accompanied by his relations to the woman’s home to declare his intentions.

Declaring his intentions could be in form of a riddle or straight to the point

In a riddle like form start with him saying that he saw a flower in the family and he has come to pluck it. The lady’s will ask him her name and if she agrees he will move to the next rite.

 

  1. Iju Ese

The iju Ese is known as asking questions.

Before paying the lady’s brides price, the Iju Ese is very important in the igbo tradition where the two families goes to know about themselves.

Which the result can be negative or positive result.Once it’s a positive result, he starts the Ime Ego rites

 

  1. Ime Ego

Ime Ego is known as the pride price. It involves the both kindred where they will sit and negotiate the bride price and a traditional list will be given to them by the bride’s Umunna to the groom’s Umunna.

 

The traditional list.

The traditional list is a list for the bride’s groom preparing for her marriage. This list contains all the information he would need to know and budget for all the expense of the traditional marriage. This also contains all the request from the Umunna, Umu Ada and parents of the girl. Example of what you will see in list includes

  • Orji (kolanut)
  • Ewu (goat)
  • Nmayi ngwo(palm wine)
  • Akwa (wrappers)
  • Ichafu (scarfs)
  • Nnu (salt)
  • Ji (yam)
  • Ego (money) e.t.c

 

The Umunna(Elders of the community )

The Umunna are the palliative who gives out this wonderful list to the bride’s groom family.Everything in the list will be shared among the elders and their requirements varies from village to village

 

The UmuAda(Daughters of the land)These lady play a major role in Igbo traditional marriages. The are in charge of everything about women in the marriage.

With all these being explained to the man.The bride performs her own rites

 

Ima ebe di (To the man’s family)

The bride visit the in law’s home and spends few days with them to know the in laws more and proceeds to the Igba Nwku.

 

Igba Nkwu (the bride carrying wine day).

It is a colorful day and the traditional marriage proper. This is the final stage of the process of Igba nkwu nwanyi in igbo culture. It is known as a celebration day. It marks the customary wedding party, which is usually done at the bride’s family. Cards are printed to invite people, the bride’s family decorates their compound and the seats meant for the couple. The couple’s seat is always traditionally decorated with palm fronds, wrappers, and gourds. The bride’s family cater for food, and might even call live bands as well as traditional dancers to make it more entertaining.

If the bride price and marriage requirement is paid this day it is done before the wine carrying. The wine carrying is the major part of this event where the father of the bride pours wine in a cup called “iko” gives it to her to give to the man that she agreed to marry. Her husband to be is hidden in the midst of the invited guest. She dances beautifully holding the cup of wine with smiles on her face as she searches for her husband. During this process the invited guest and husband’s friends beckons at her to bring the drink to them but she knows who her husband is so she searches until she finds him and kneels down to serve the drink to the groom. If the man drinks it then that signifies he is the one. The groom puts some money in the cup, dances with the bride to receive blessing from their parents. After the blessing there comes a lot of feasting and dancing with gifts being given to the couple by friends and family. At the end, the bride goes to her husband’s house.

 

With my lovely experience on the Igbo traditional marriage, I understood the traditional rites performed by a man and a woman.

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CULTURE

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT IMO STATE

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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT IMO STATE

Imo state is one of the southeastern states in Nigeria with a total population of 4, 978,758. Having (3) geopolitical zones which are Orlu, Owerri, and Okigwe with 27 local government’s e.g

  • Aboh Mbaise.
  • Ahiazu Mbaise.
  • Ehime Mbano.
  • Ezinihitte Mbaise.
  • Ideato North.
  • Ideato South.
  • Ihitte/Uboma.
  • Ikeduru.

Imo state lies between latitude 5o 30-5o 57 N and longitude 7o 04 – 7o 26E Covering a total land area of about 1,824km2

Imo state has several rivers which are Imo river being one of the major rivers in the state, got  its source from Okigwe and runs through Abia state, where it joins the Aba river from the north and Akwa Ibom state into the Atlantic ocean.

The Otammin river got its source from Egbu, Owerri North with 9.2 m length tributary within the federal university of Technology Owerri (Futo) through Nworie River in the state.

The Ohaji/Egbema also have some rivers in it which include the orashi river, onas creek and so many rivers in the state.

The Culture of Imo State.

The major languages spoken by the people of the state are Igbo and a little bit of English.

Some of the culture in Imo state has now been passed to the younger generation. from the time of ancient creation are some celebrated festivals are Udi festivals which is celebrated by the mbaise people, the Igwa Ji festival celebrated by the Egbema people and The Ikeji is an annual festival of thanksgiving, merriment and propitiation, which comes up either in the month of March or April every year.

Music: the people uses talking drum, and other native things to produce a lovely source to their visitors.

Dressing: The women tie two wrappers on the waist and wear a blouse that will bring out the beauty of the wrapper.

Food: The people of imo state have a popular soup call the ofe Owerri.

 

WRITER : Nwangwu Uchechi Maryanne

PHONE NUMBER : +234 810 091 2881

 

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