Newyam festival shows Igbo culture, tradition not going into extinction - Monarch, others

Newyam festival shows Igbo culture, tradition not going into extinction - Monarch, others

Newyam festival shows Igbo culture, tradition not going into extinction - Monarch, others

By Chinwe Nwacha, Onitsha

The traditional ruler of Abatete, Idemili North Local Government Area, Anambra State, His Royal Majesty, Igwe Engr. Emeka Efobi,  (Ezeogu 11), and some of his cabinet Chiefs,, weekend disagreed with the speculation making the round that Igbo culture and tradition are going into extinction.

Reacting while marking his 2023 newyam festival in his Ezimuku Agbaja Abatete community, the monarch, who was ably represented by his Onowu, ( Prime Minister),  Chief Pius Ezeigwe, who is the Obi of Agbaja village, reiterated that newyam celebration, traditional wedding, among others, were still in voke to show that Igbo culture and tradition remained intact.

"You will even find culture and tradition in the Holy Bible, so it is not fetish or satanic, the newyam festival is rather an age long  rich cultural heritage of not only Abatete  people but the entire Igbo race," he affirmed.

On why the monarch was not physically present, Onowu said that it was because of unexpected exigency adding, "Igwe asked me to represent him, he has emergency  that he could not be present.

"We call this newyam festival 'Alo Mmuo,'  and the monarch eats the new yam first, followed by his cabinet Chiefs who will do theirs the next day in their respective villages and then the entire Abatete community.

"As the Obi of Agbaja village, I will also preside over the cutting of the newyam by cutting it and eating before any other person in the area. New year festival is an annual event that is the period of thanking God for bumper harvest and also preparation for next farming season.

"During this period it is used for uniting amongst friends, in-laws, well wishers, it is time of mass return. A period of merry making," he stated.

He used the occasion to advise the youths to be of good behavior, engage themselves in legitimate business and avoid acts capable of dragging their image and community to the mud 

"The youths should focus on education and emulate the elders, listen to them and engage in legitimate business
 The only way to succeed is through hard work," he stated.

In his speech, the Obi of Ogbu,  Chief Edwin Enyokwa, said that, "It is not true that Igbo culture and tradition have gone into extinction. Every year we celebrate Alo Mmuo, ( new yam festival). After the monarch had celebrated first, we, the Obis in the four villages, will then perform ours and the entire community follows suit.

"So, newyam is not a fetish thing but age long tradition, we use it to display our rich cultural heritage. Those who say it is fetish or that it is going into extinction do not understand what tradition is all about," he stated.

In his speech, a Chieftain and member of the Igwe's cabinet, Chief Ifeanyichukwu Okoyearo, said that, "Western education/civilization came and we abandoned our culture. I don't buy yam during the festival but rather harvest the one I cultivated in my farm.

"Those who buy yam in the market to celebrate the new yam are not doing what the culture said. Our forefathers will not be happy with such people because when you sow seed you pray for abundant harvest to the gods.

"We have our gods before the coming of the missionaries, it is those with little mind that say newyam is fetish or that is going into extinction," he further explained. 

The Chieftain who is a linguist , and can speak five languages that include, Latin, french, English, Igbo Hausa,  stressed the need for all to embrace Igbo culture and tradition.

Earlier, the President General of the community, Chief Lawrence Okoye, stated that the monarch eats first before any other person adding that after him the cabinet members follow suit.

"The new yam festival is not fetish, it is the culture of our people irrespective of the religion you worship. It is a yearly event when people come together to interact", he said.

The President General urged the State government to come to the rescue of the community by providing roads hinting that it is waiting for the #25,million choose your community project from the government.

"We have been told to submit the project which we want from government and we have done so but we have not received the money. We need work to be done on our roads. We are preparing to build big hospital, courtesy of our sons and daughters based in US. We need roads most and government to assist us," he pleaded.

onowu speaking to newsmen during the newyam celebration


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