… Harps on preservation of Igbo culture, tradition
It was an even to remember as members of Igboamaka Progressives Association, Igbolomu Chapter in Ikorodu area of Lagos gathered yesterday to celebrate the new yam festival.
Members of the association who comprised of Igbo indigenes living in Igbolomu, Ikorodu in Lagos state trooped to the venue of the event alongside their wives and children to thank God for a bountiful harvest this year and for enabling them witness a new year according to Igbo traditional calendar.
Speaking during the ceremony, the Secretary of Igboamaka Progressives Association, Igbolomu chapter, Mr. Amos Edeh explained that the association was an umbrella association for all Igbos living in Igbolomu which catered for the welfare of the Igbos in Igbolomu where they came together to take care of their problems and challenges as a people.
Edeh noted that they were people of the same race who migrated from the South Eastern part of the country to the place to earn a living adding that they would not because they sojourned in a foreign land forget that they were brothers, hence the reason they assembled themselves together.
According to him, “The new yam festival symbolizes what our forefathers used to do, where they mark new year in Igboland because the yam is the king of all crops. Once you harvest yam from the farmland, the farm will be so exposed. You may harvest maize, Okro and other crops but once yam is harvested, it means that you have harvested every crop in the farmland. So, whenever yam is harvested, we assemble together to appreciate God for allowing our farms to yield its fruits and for allowing us to witness a new year.”
He disclosed that the association had celebrated new yam festival for three consecutive years, even as he explained that “in the first year of our coming together, we couldn’t celebrate new yam festival but the following year, we were able to celebrate new yam festival and since then we have been observing it so that we would be able to teach our children that even though they are here, they should not forget our tradition.”
While expressing his gladness at the turn out of members at the event notwithstanding their various engagements, he prayed God to “help us so that our new yam festival next year will be greater than this year’s. We pray God to increase us in our different endeavours so that we shall give him better thanksgiving than we are doing this year.”
On his part, a former Chairman of the association, Chief Elias Omerenna pointed out that new yam festival was usually observed in the South East in the month of August every marking the end of planting season and beginning of a new year according to Igbo calendar.
He said, “Any Igbo family that you come across in the South East, it has a farmland and one of the commodities being farmed on the land is yam. In Igbo land, once it is the month of August, the yam will be celebrated. The new yam festival is to thank God who made it possible for what was planted to germinate and bear fruit because it is not by any man’s power that one will plant a seed and it will germinate and bear fruits and one goes back there to harvest them. We believe that it is God that makes this happen.
“When we assemble in our various families, we will thank God in a special way in thanksgiving. As we are doing this, we will be looking forward that the coming year will be better than the outgoing year. Whatever one does is farming; be it office work, teaching, banking or farming on your land, you are actually farming. Even if you are trading, that is your farm. And it is expected that when it is time, you assemble your relatives to thank God who made it possible.
“We understand that God mandated us to thank him in all circumstances. Maybe, in 2021, you planted four tubers of yam believing that you will harvest eight tubers but you ended up harvesting five tubers, you still owe God gratitude in a special way because if you don’t appreciate him, even the one that you think that you have will be lost and it will not be our portion because we are people of great wisdom and we believe that we will not forget our identity because he who forgets his identity has forgotten himself. He who forgets his tradition has forgotten himself and any tree you cut that has no root anymore, that tree will dry up and die in no distant time. That is how it is with he who forgot his tradition and identity of his people.
“But we are people endowed with wisdom such that wherever we find ourselves, we do come together and do what is expected of us. So, if you are in this Lagos and reside in the Igbolomu, we do assemble here every last Sunday of the month to discuss our welfare and the welfare of the Igbos and inform us about the happenings in the South East.”
He continued, “I want you all to know that the sun rises from the East, meaning that life starts from the East and permeates everywhere. That is why Igbos are indestructible because all trees need sunshine to do well. I pray that from today, if you have sojourned to the West, South, North and you forget yourself there, let it be known to you that if the sun does not shine on you, very soon, your life will be cut short. So, I am begging the Igbos residing wherever you are especially in this time, to always think home. Wherever you see your brother, welcome him and whatever he is doing, join him and if we continue like this, we shall progress.
“So, this is new yam festival but one needs to cut it first before eating it because if you eat yam the way it was harvested, it will cause you a great harm. So, you cut it and in no distant time, we will cut these yams so that we can afford to eat them. By the time we finished appreciating God today, whatever we set out to do will progress, all closed doors, God will open them. Anyone who partakes in eating these yams today will experience great turnaround in Jesus name. Amen.”
Highlights of the event were the breaking of kolanuts and the symbolic cutting of the new yam to the delight of everyone present and conferment of Patron of the association on the former Chairman of the association, Chief Elias Omerenna.
Also, the Ogene cultural dance was on hand to spice up the evening with their hilarious songs and electrifying moves with enough to eat and drink to mark the event.
Photo 1: Chief Elias Omerenna (2nd left), former Chairman, Igboamaka Progressives Association, Igbolomu, Ikorodu, Lagos performing the symbolic cutting of the roasted yam during the annual new yam festival of the association in Lagos yesterday.
Photo 2: Chief Elias Omerenna (2nd left), former Chairman, Igboamaka Progressives Association, Igbolomu, Ikorodu, Lagos during his opening speech at the annual new yam festival of the association in Lagos yesterday.
Photo 3: Chief Elias Omerenna (2nd left), former Chairman, Igboamaka Progressives Association, Igbolomu, Ikorodu, Lagos being presented with certificate of recognition as the Patron of the association during the annual new yam festival of the association in Lagos yesterday.
Photo 4: A cross-section of members present during the the annual new yam festival of the association in Lagos yesterday.
Photo 5: A cross-section of members present during the the annual new yam festival of the association in Lagos yesterday.
Photo 6: Members of Ogene cultural dance performing during the ceremony.
Send your news, press releases/articles to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow us on Twitter @ptreporters and on Facebook on facebook.com/primetimereporters or call the editor on 07030661526, 08053908817.