ỊGBA NKWỤ NWAANYỊ AND SYMBOLOGY OF PALM WINE IN EASTERN NIGERIA

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We have conventions, customs, traditions and culture all in one bed among us. Human beings are on earth for development, nothing else. The duality of a human being lies in the physical and spiritual. Physical is the cloth, spiritual is the living force, the driving force. Without the spiritual to invest “life” on the physical, the physical is “dead”.

Spiritual produces culture, physical through the intellect gives us technology. Today, we will peep a little into an aspect of Igbo culture with reference to an aspect of marriage.

One little observation is that most times when we do not understand an aspect of a culture we resort to the clause: “culture is dynamic, culture is evolving”. It is when our understanding of what we have increases then, but only then can we extend in an uplifting manner our culture.

The other point is that Igbo’s sovereignty is at community level and it is this level of decentralisation that frustrated the colonists into Paramount/Warrant Chieftaincy system among Igbo. In this regard we must spiritually listen to one another.

To get a hint of how the name Ịgba Nkwụ arose among Igbo just consider it’s brother Ịgba Akwụkwọ. Ịgba Nkwụ arose out of the necessity to have a common name for an aspect of Igbo marriage in contradistinction to the English marriage, Ịgba Akwụkwọ.

Nkwụ was adopted because in most Igbo communities there is mmanya in describing that aspect of Igbo marriage, such as ibu mmanya nwanyị; ịpa mmanya nwaanyị; ịlu mmanya nwaanyị; mmanya okputukputu, etc.

Palm tree just as cola nut as well as yam remains a very significant plant with equally significant products among NdịIgbo’s recognitions. As another hint, remember the Palm Sunday. Compare it to what Ọmụ nkwụ represents in Igbo; what do you do when you meet a man with ọmụ nkwụ in his mouth?

In my community, to name a child three key items must be available; palm wine, cola nut and cola nut leaf. They have deep meanings. I hope we may talk about child naming someday.

Palm tree is very unique, and Igbo recognizes and identifies with palm tree in its every respect. And the most sensitive fruits of palm tree is palm wine, and this forms a key reason for its adoption in such a solemn occasion as marriage.

Palm wine is white, symbol of purity. The bride offering the groom palm wine is offering her purity, to unite her purity with the resourcefulness of the groom to bloom and blossom as palm tree does.

The natural alcohol in palm wine is meant to embolden and sober the two as they take the bold step into independent man and woman united as palm tree and the soil…

If we understand the deep meaning of our cultural heritage, we will indeed storm the heavens in gratitude and confidence!!

By: Sir Uchenna Nnadi


 

 

Palm tree just as cola nut as well as yam remains a very significant plant with equally significant products among NdịIgbo’s recognitions. As another hint, remember the Palm Sunday. Compare it to what Ọmụ nkwụ represents in Igbo; what do you do when you meet a man with ọmụ nkwụ in his mouth

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