Many of us are so attached to the Western Culture that we do not think it is important to get accustomed with ours. But like it or not, it is who you are and no matter how much you try to imitate the Europeans, you will still remain an Igbo person.
By reading books like Chinua Achebe's Arrow of God or Things Fall Apart or by watching movies, you could learn quite a lot about the Igbo tradition. But unfortunately, many of us prefer watching Bollywood and Hollywood movies as well as reading foreign novels.
Well, it's not too late. You can try to make some research and find out some truths about the Igbo people and their way of life. Maybe some of the information contained here could be of help.
1. Igbo Proverbs
Chinua Achebe defined proverbs as "the palm oil with which words are eaten." I know some of you know a lot of English proverbs, but you should also be familiar with Igbo proverbs too. See the Igbo proverbs displayed in the above pictures? Can you explain their meaning?
2. Igbo Calendar
There are a lot of differences between the Igbo calendar and the normal calendar you are familiar with. According to the Igbo calendar, a week consists of just four days, which are Eke, Orie, Afor and Nkwo. Consequently, a month consists of seven weeks, meaning that there are 28 days in a month. And also a year consists of thirteen months.
3. Igbo Music
As a fan of music, you should be familiar with the traditional Igbo music style associated with instruments like the oja, ichaka and igba. You should also listen to songs by Igbo highlife legends like Chief Osita Osadebe, Dr. Sir Warrior, Oliver De Coque, Prince Nico Mbarga and Bright Chimezie.
4. Igbo Mythology
I know that in these modern times, majority of Igbos are Christians and so do not believe in Igbo religion otherwise known as Odinani, which they probably see as evil. However, as an Igbo person, it is only wise that you have some knowledge of it, instead of depending totally on foreign religious beliefs.
In the Igbo religion, Chineke is the Supreme God, who created everything. This mythology has four parts, which you should get accustomed with.
The first is Okike (Creation). The second is Alusi (Deities). The third is Mmuo (Spirit), while the fourth is Uwa (World).
5. Traditional Igbo Wears
Students wear suit and tie for project defense. Pastors wear suit and tie every Sunday. Lawyers wear their coat and wig to the court. Bankers wear shirt and tie to work, except maybe on Fridays. And most people seem to prefer white wedding to traditional marriage, so it won't be really surprising if you don't know much about Igbo attire.
But you should try to familiarize with traditional Igbo wears like the Isiagu. Buy them, put them on, be proud of them. You certainly look good on them. Don't be deceived to think that you only look good when you're putting on a shirt and tie.
6. Igbo Art
You should familiarize with the wide range of arts of the Igbo people. From figures to mask carvings to bronze arts to anklets.
7. Igbo Festivals
I'm sure you celebrate Christmas, Easter and Valentine. But what about Igbo Festivals like the New Yam Festival or Iri Ji Ohuu, the Mmanwu or Masquerade Festival and the Ofala Festival? Do you see them as "fetish" and evil because foreigners told you so?
You probably don't like kolanuts because you think they are bitter. But do you know what they synbolize in Igboland? It is commonly known as oji and is usually served before the commencement of an important function like a marriage festival.
9. Chieftaincy Titles
Accomplished and respected people in the society are often given Chieftaincy titles like Ozo and Nze, which helps maintain their high status and gives them more recognition.
10. Igbo Traditional Marriage
This is commonly known as Igba nkwu. It is a traditional Igbo way of getting married and it usually takes place at the bride's family compound.
This is commonly known as Igba-boy. Here, a family or community member, usually a male, is sent out to another family to work for them as an apprentice. After his period of apprenticeship there, the head of the family, whom he has worked for gives him money or establishes a business for him.
So there you have it. I'm sure I must have missed out some other important aspects of Igbo tradition. Kindly remind me in the comment box below.
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