Igbo Peoples - Weebly

Igbo Peoples - Weebly

Igbo Peoples History and Art The first Igbo in the region may have moved into the area before the emergence of sedentary agricultural practices. As this early group expanded, so too did the Igbo kingdom. The earliest surviving Igbo art forms are from the 10th century, and the fine quality of those copper alloy castings suggest that Igbo society had already achieved a level of technology rivaling

contemporary Europeans. Economy The majority of Igbo are farmers. Their staple crop is yam, and its harvesting is a time for great celebration. They are able to produce yam efficiently enough to export it to their neighbors.

With the assistance of migrant labor, they also harvest the fruit of the palm tree, which is processed into palm oil, and exported to Europe in large quantities, making it a fairly profitable cash crop. Yams in a Lagos market Nigeria is by far the worlds largest producer of yams, accounting for over 70% of the worlds production. Yam is in the class of roots and tubers that is a staple of the Nigerian and West African diet. It also has an important social status in gatherings and religious functions, which is assessed by the size of yam holdings one possesses. Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil derived from the reddish pulp of

the fruit of the oil palms, primarily the African oil palm. Palm wine, sometimes called toddy, is an alcoholic beverage created from the sap of various species of palm tree. One taps the tree to collect the sap, and this practice stretches from Africa to India. Above is an Indian Toddy drawer from a picture drawn in 1870. Kola Nut The seed kernel of a large African tree, whose fruit is pod-shaped, and each pod contains about a dozen roundish shaped seeds or cola nuts. The kola nuts may

be red, white, or pink. The nut contains caffeine; its aroma is sweet, and the first taste is bitter but sweetens upon chewing. The origin of our word Cola Kola Nut Ritual and Significance As a symbol it is used in West Africa by the Igbos to grace social rituals of hospitality as welcome offerings to guests; as sacred offering in religious rites and prayers; in ancestor veneration; and in important life events such as weddings, naming

ceremonies, funerals and memorials. As a mark of respect the kola nut is broken with knife. Prayer follows the presentation of kola nut immediately, which in traditional pattern is libations (taking one drink). In the prayer the forefathers are beaconed to come and

participate in the eating of the kola nut and to guide and protect in the mission that brings the people together. After the prayer, the kola nut is broken, shared, everybody eats and the ceremony begins. Kola Nut Ritual and Significance The presentation of the kola nut is crucial in that even when a visitor comes to someones home, the guest will not say his mission until after the kola nut has been presented to him.

Traditionally kola nut is regarded as a sacred nut, which is used to communicate with the gods. It was chosen by the elders as the head or king of all seeds. Elders being presented with kola nuts at a wedding Political Systems

The Igbo are a politically fragmented group, with numerous divisions resulting from geographic differences. They have no centralized chieftaincy, hereditary aristocracy, or kingship customs, as can be found among their neighbors. The responsibility of leadership has traditionally been left

to the village councils, which include the heads of lineages, elders, titled men, and men who have established themselves economically within the community. It is possible for an Igbo man, through personal success, to become the nominal leader of the council. Portal of a domestic compound belonging to a man of Ozo title. (ca. 1966. Photo by Herbert M. Cole) Religion

Before the influence of Europeans and Christian missions, most Igbo practiced some form of ancestor worship, which held that in order to gain success in this world, one must appease of the spirits of the deceased. This might be accomplished in any number of ways. One of the primary ways of showing respect for the dead was through participation in the secret men's society, Mmo, which is the name used only in the northern part of Igbo land.

In other parts, similar societies exist under different names. The second level of initiates was responsible for carrying out the funeral ceremonies for the deceased and inducting the departed spirits into the ebe mmo, so that they would no longer cause mischief in the village.

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