The Igbo tribe of Nigeria are one of the three major tribes available in the country. Rich in cultural diversity, the Igbos are known to have a very deep and unique history and tradition. True, modernization has taken a toll on some of these traditions, little wonder one barely hear about them anymore.
However, we have brought you 7 interesting facts you have never heard about the ancient Igbo tradition.
- There is an Igbo Calendar called ‘Iguafo Igbo’, with four market days, known as Eke, Afor, Nkwo and Orie. Here, four days make a week, seven weeks make a month and thirteen months make one year.
- The Igbos have a savings and loan system known as ‘Isusu’. This system is still being practiced among some of their settlements till this day. Surprisingly, the Caribbean Island also have a similar practice called the ‘Susu’.
- A certain writer, who was a free slave at the time and documented his experiences as a slave, in a bid to support Britain’s movement to end slave trade, called Olaudah Equiano, is from the Igbo tribe and is actually named Olauda Ikwuano.
- Igbos revere the earth goddess. The traditional Igbo culture does not take ‘Ala’ or ‘Ana’ for granted. More so, they hold their deities dear, as they believe the gods protect the living and that the will of these God’s must prevail. The Ala deity encompasses all aspects of the society, including a blend of custom and ethics (Omenala).
- The ancient Igbo tradition values the ‘Ofo’. In this case, whosoever is empowered with the Ofo, gets to interpret the will of the gods, as the Ofo represents Truth, Justice and Authority.
The Ancient Igbo Tradition recognizes the living and the dead. Ancestors, who led lives considered worthy of emulation were enshrined and praises and tributes paid to them during sacrifices; as it is believed that they watch out for the living.
- Back in day, children who were sickly were called Ogbanjes. It was believed that they died and returned to the same mother, to torment her. This was even more so considered when mothers keep loosing their children at infancy. Back then, a distinctive mark would be put upon the corpse of the child in order to identify that child if he/she returns.