New Yam Festival (Iri Ji) Of The Igbo People

New Yam Festival or Iri Ji Festivals, which are normaly held during August are one of the signature festivals of the Igbo people. To the Igbo people, yam is their traditional first harvested crop. So, a festival is held to thank God for a successful ‘farming season’ and yam harvest. It is akin to Thanksgiving Day of the Americans. Read this educative write up below about the Iri Ji Festival. It tells a lot about Iri Ji, including the fact that it has been adapted in some cases to accomodate Christian or secular realities. Enjoy:

by Anthony-Claret Onwutalobi

Emume Iwa Ji na Iri Ji Ohuru – Across Igboland and among the Igbo of Nigeria in the diaspora, the month of August, as it is now, is gladdened with the celebration of New Yam called iwa ji and iri ji ohuru. This is best pictured in the framing of the ceremony by Chinua Achebe’s work as far back as in the 1950s.
As Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart (1958) describes: “The pounded yam dish placed in front of the partakers of the festival was as big as a mountain. People had to eat their way through it all night and it was only during the following day when the pounded yam “mountain” had gone down that people on one side recognized and greeted their family members on the other side of the dish for the first time.”

This brief submission explains the significance of the celebration of new yam festival in Igbo society and among the Igbo wherever they may live outside of Igboland. It answers the question, what is new yam and why is new yam such an important ceremony and identity of the Igbo of Nigeria? Why are Igbo children particularly ritually cleansed before partaking in the eating of new yam? The essay adopts a straightforward approach drawing from experience and participation in new yam festivities at home and in diaspora.

New Yam festival in Igboland of Nigeria or among the Igbo and their friends in Diaspora is always marked with pomp and pageantry. The occasion of Iwa Ji and Iri-ji Ohuru or new-yam eating festival is a cultural feast with its deep significance. The individual agrarian communities or subsistence agricultural population groups, have their days for this august occasion during which a range of festivities mark the eating of new yam. To the Igbo, therefore, the day is symbolic of enjoyment after the cultivation season. Yam culture is momentous with hoe-knife life to manage the planting and tending of tuberous requirements. Yam farmers in Isu Njaba of Igboland know this well.
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Chimamanda Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus, Very Interesting- Try It

Before now, I used to postpone reading Ngozi Adichie’s books Half Of A Yellow Sun and Purple Hibiscus for ‘later’, but I decided to start reading Purple Hibiscus this weekend, and my o my, the book is so interesting…

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Reading the book is just like watching an interesting Nollywood film. Very entertaining. Very African.

From page 1, I started laughing, and the book deepened my interest in Igbo Language. Chimamande paints words into videos page after page and the video she paints comes to life in your mind.

Because I find Purple Hibiscus so interesting, after I finish it, I will pick up Half Of A Yellow Sun.
Umu Igbo, Chimanda Ngozi Adichie is a rare gem, and a worthy successor to Chinua Achebe, and I like the fact that she starts Purple Hibiscus with a line that reads, “Things started to fall apart when…”

How Igbos Can Profitably Divest From Nothern Nigeria If Need Be

Hello Igbo Defenders,
As Nigeria swims in uncertainty following the quit order given to Igbos in the North by some Northern youth groups, a Nairalander with the moniker perfectchoice made a suggestion on how Igbos can avoid financial loss by getting the money’s worth of their properties. See below:

Igbo Investment in Northern Nigeria and the way forward.
Igbos in Northern Nigeria should not sell their properties to [any greedy person wanting to cash in on anti-Igbo hatred] instead this is what they should do to get value for their investments.

1. Approach any bank in Nigeria (East, West, North or south) and take an equivalent loan using you properties or investments as Collateral.
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The Igbo Cultural Perspective On Truth

The Igbo word for truth is ‘ezi okwu’. Ezi here is the shortform of ezigbo, which means good. Okwu means talk. So Igbos believe that what makes a talk good is not how good it sounds, but whether it is the truth.

The thoughtful Igbos furthermore believe that eziokwu bu ndu, meaning Truth is life. From this, it is clear that the Igbos value truth. They don’t want to hear lies that sound good. They want to hear the truth.

And we shall know the truth, and the truth shall set us free.

Another reply we will give Macof on Obatala being Igbo

Macof also said, ‘So you Igbos don’t really have history? This is sad’

To which we will reply, On the contrary, Igbos have a rich history. Only the surface of Real Igbo History has been scratched. That Obatala, the Osere Igbo, the Oba Igbo, the aboriginal King of Ile Ife was Igbo,  is indeed something to be proud of.

Obatala (read all the Obatala rulers) was indeed a very organized man. That is why his descendants are today very organized. And he forgave his enemies. That is why he reconciled with Oduduwa The Great, and even helped him to rule Ile Ife in later years.
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