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General News of Tuesday, 24 August 2021

Source: www.mynigeria.com

The new yam festival in Igbo land( Iri ji)

Iri ji Iri ji

Feature Article

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe emphasizes the significance of yams to Okonkwo's Igbo clan within Umuofia. Yams are the most important crop in Umuofia; they are a mainstay in the Igbo diet. The quantity of yams a man can successfully grow is a sign of his success.

The Igbo people's New Yam Event (Orureshi in the idoma area, Iwa ji, Iri ji, or Ike ji, Otute depending on dialect) is an annual cultural festival held towards the conclusion of the rainy season in early August by the Igbo people.

The Iri ji festival (meaning "new-yam eating") is celebrated across West Africa (particularly in Nigeria and Ghana) as well as other African countries and abroad, and it marks the end of one work cycle and the start of the next. The festival is primarily a cultural event, uniting various
Igbo groups as largely agrarian and reliant on yam, the king of crops.

Igbo tradition: Yams are the first crop to be harvested, and they are the region's most important crop.

The New Yam Festival is thus a commemoration of the importance of yam in the Igbo people's social and cultural lives.

All old yams (from the previous year's crop) are devoured or discarded the evening before the festival.

Because the event is indicative of the richness of the produce, only yam dishes are served at the feast the next day.

Though the festival's style and tactics may vary from one village to the next, the core elements that make it up stay the same.

The celebration may span an entire day in certain towns, whereas it may continue a week or more in others.

These celebrations usually feature a range of entertainments and ceremonies, such as rites performed by the Igwe (King), or the eldest male, and cultural dances performed by Igbo men, women, and children. Contemporary shows, masquerade dances, and fashion parades are among the festival's Igbo cultural festivities.

Ịwa-ji ceremony: The yams are usually offered to the gods and ancestors first before being distributed to the villagers at the start of the festival.

The rite is done by either the community's eldest man or the king or an outstanding title holder.

This guy also sacrifices the yams to God, the deities, and his ancestors as a gesture of thanks for God's protection and kindness in guiding them through lean times to times of abundant harvest without causing them to die of hunger.

They eat the first yam after praying to God in thanksgiving, as it is thought that their status grants them the privilege of acting as intermediaries between their communities and the gods of the land.

The rites are intended to demonstrate the community's thanks to the gods for making the harvest possible, and they are frequently observed despite more recent modifications brought about by Christianity's influence in the area.

As a result, the pragmatic, religious, and appreciative aspects of the Igbo worldview are explained.

The day represents enjoyment following the harvest season, and the bounty is shared with friends and well-wishers.

The eating of new yam is marked by a number of celebrations. The colorful celebration is a spectacle of demonstrated joy, gratitude, and community display; folk dances, masquerades, parades, and parties produce an experience that some participants describe as "art"; the colorful festival is a spectacle of exhibited joy, thanks, and community exhibition.

The yam is cooked in palm oil (mman nri). Iwa ji and the Asian Mid-Autumn Festival have certain similarities, as both are based on lunar cycles and are essentially community harvest feasts.

This is a significant event in the calendars of Igbo people around the world.

The yam harvest and the New Yam festival, which honors the land's God, are the apogee of the people's religious belief in the supreme deity. The arrival of the new moon in August heralds the start of the major "Iri Ji Ohu" festival, but the exact date and style of preparation varies each community.

The New Yam festival is an enthralling artistic event. The vibrant event is a visual extravaganza of cohesion, dancing, joy, and feasting, an annual show for community members to commemorate the end of the agriculture season, and a festival where the people express their gratitude to those who assisted them in reaping a rich harvest.

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