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Transcript of Igbo Culture
Masked men at night would show up to a lazy or insolent member of the tribe’s house and be cursed out by said “secret societies”.
Masked men were used by the community’s leaders as a way to issue warnings rather than hand down punishments for infrequent or first time offenders.
Things Are Described :The Igbo Guide to Living
Igbo Social Structure
The village is the basic unit of Igbo social life.
Obi can have two different meanings.
The first is the literal house used to introduce guests and outsiders into the village.
The second meaning is more figuaritve- "Obi" can refer to a village leader. That is to say, he who is tasked with greeting an outsider is given the title of Obi.
Igbo Social Life (Cont.)
A village council, made up of rich men, tribal elders and those held in high regard, forms the local government.
The "men of high status" can include
The Okpara- The eldest son in a given family.
The Ezi- Men of the village who have developed large families.
many hand-made instruments made of clay and metal
to a guitar; triangular body with three pieces of wood strung together; played with vocal improvisation
Sports and Recreation
wrestling is very popular; contests are held annually to produce a champion
-The Ibo ,like many religions, have a force of good , the creator Chukwu, and the devil, agbara, the creator of all evil . They’re other more minor deities, called alusi.The conception of alusi as uncontrollable but petitionable forces was key to the Ibo religion .
A typical meal consists of a
starch and a soup.
Starches: Yams are the staple and are usually served as pounded yams. Cassava, taro root, maize, and plantains are also in the diet.
Soups: The soups contain a meat (goat, chicken, beef, fish, or sometimes shrimp) and a type of vegetable. Soups are typically palm oil-based.
Pounded yam and egusi soup.
Jessica Ding, Christian Frost, Emma Hoss, Nabiha Samad, and Zilan Tarif
Life in an Igbo Home
Igbo men practice polygamy. More successful men take multiple wives.
The entire family lives on a compound, and the man of the family provides the women and children with land to farm vegetables.
The homes are made of mud walls and thatched roofs.
ARTS & RECREATION
The Igbo people work on farms. Farming of root crops is particularly important.
Division of labor during farming:
Men clear the land plant the yams. The women and children assist the men with these tasks.
Smaller plots are allocated to the women and children to grow vegetables.
Trading is important to the people as well and occurs in the village marketplace.
An entire village, typically 5000 people, shares the same marketplace.
Men wear a shirt, a wrap or robe made of inexpensive cotton, and sandals.
Women wear a cotton wrap or robe and a head tie. The head tie is a cloth that can be styled many different ways.
The traditional shirt is called the danshiki - it is a loose, long cotton shirt.
traditional entertainment includes storytelling, dancing, rituals, and music making
Crafts are sometimes designated by gender
men practice carving things such as ceremonial/dancing masks
women practice pottery-making, spinning, weaving, basketry making, and grass plaiting
An Igbo Democracy
Immediate and distant family would hear the case first if the matter was private.
If the issue was still unsettled, it would go to the tribal elders.
System of direct democracy when making public decisions.
In times of crisis, a temporary dictator chosen by the people, such as the strongest man or a veteran of war, was tasked with leadership until the crisis was resolved.
Three important ceremonies in the Igbo culture:
The wedding ceremony is called Ikbankwu and the process usually takes years to complete.
There are four steps:
1. The male asks his future bride for her hand in marriage.
2. The groom and his father go to the bride's home and explain the the engagement to the bride's father.
3.The men discuss a dowry for the bride's hand. The dowry includes money, kola nuts, goats, palm wine, etc.
4. On the day of the marriage, the bride sits next to the groom's father with a cup wine in her hand. She is to search for her husband in the crowd while the guests distract her. After she does this, the bride offers the wine to her husband so that he may take a sip. This signifies their union.
Death is only considered to be a blessing in old age.
Within twenty four hours of death, the funeral procession and burial takes places.
For the funeral the body is dressed in his/her best garments and put in a seated position. Family and friends come and pay their respects.
The body is buried in grass mats and buried. The body was the head of the household then he will be buried under his house.
Eight days after the birth of a baby boy, he is prepared for circumcision.
A name ceremony takes place twenty eight days after the birth of the baby. The ceremony includes a big feast and lots of drinking.
Ibo Burial Rites
-Burial was a key rite in Ibo religion . Improper burial would condemn a soul to haunt the living. Sacrifices, especially human sacrifices were used to mark the burial of a prominent person such as a chief . Those that committed taboos , such as die in childbirth , being born twins or committing suicide, were denied burial.
The Role of ancestors in the Ibo Religion
-The Ibo have a great reverence for their ancestors, who they believed to always be watching over them . It was taboo to speak badly of a spirit. People who lived ,died, and were buried well went the world of the dead, and were often reincarnated.
A festival is held during the start of the new agricultural cycle and one at the end of the cycle. The festival is celebrated with a feast and some palm wine.
The most important festival is the harvesting of the yam. As an offering, fowls are sacrificed, and their blood is sprinkled on the farm. By doing this the people are blessing the yam spirit. All the yams are lined up together for the oracle. In the feast fowls are eaten along with everyone's share of harvest.
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When a guest arrives in a home, a kola nut is broken and the wife serves the visitor's favorite foods. It is disrespectful for a guest to refuse food.
The food is swallowed down by
palm wine. The guest is not supposed to finish his/her pate clean but leave a small bit. If not done so, the family will believe the visitor has been starved for days.
The Oracles: Super Important
Oracles were a kind of regional landmark who claimed divine knowledge. They were spread in groups.
Those most well off in the village would consult them on every matter, from family affairs to punishing a member of the clan. Their advice did not come cheap.
The reputation of an oracle mattered a great deal, as their cash flow would dry up if they were thought to be deceitful or untrustworthy.
The Ultimate Obi, Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan