What You Need To Know About The New Yam Festival Celebrated By The Igbos
The New Yam Festival is an annual tradition observed by the Igbo People of Eastern Nigeria. In some Igbo communities, the celebration lasts a day but in some other communities, it usually takes a week.
This festival is core to the ancient Igbo culture as the Igbos see yam as the king of all crops. To depict its prominence, The Igbos observe this festival to thank the gods of a good harvest.
Being an important event in the calendar of Igbo people all over the world, the festival usually begins with the roasting of whole yams.
This is done by the king or titled elders of the community. Afterward, portions of the yams go to ‘Ahijoku’ (the yam or earth gods)
It is to show gratitude to God for his protection and kindness in leading them from lean periods to the time of bountiful harvest.
Meanwhile, the rest are shared and the community can then feel free to consume new yam without incurring the wrath of the gods.
Despite the fact that the style of celebration usually differs from one community to the next, the essential components that make up the festival remain the same.
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The celebration also includes a variety of entertainment. First, the performance of rites by the Igwe (King), and cultural dances by the men, women, and their children.
It also features Igbo cultural activities in the form of contemporary shows, masquerade dances, and fashion parades.
Celebrated between August and October, the renowned festival is as old as the tradition of Ala Igbo ( Igbo land) itself.
The festival is not only a time to call home sons and daughters abroad to reaffirm the bond of brotherhood. It also brings a sense of belonging.
Furthermore, contrary to religious belief, the new yam festival has nothing to do with diabolic practices. It is simply the Igbo traditional way of thanking God for giving them the opportunity to cultivate enough yams.
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