NDIKELIONWU AND THE CELEBRATION OF NEW YAM FESTIVAL

0

 

Many present day Nigerians may find it difficult to believe that Ndikelionwu attained the status of a kingdom at the peak of its power in the 19th century, the influence of its kings stretching from Ndieniasaa in the present Orumba North Local Government Area to the banks of the River Niger at Onitsha, cutting across much of Anambra State. With the entrenchment in Eastern Nigeria of the Royal Niger Company and British Colonial rule, the political power of Ndikelionwu and its ruler was drastically cut. The town, however, assumed a new relevance and significance by opening its gates to an entirely new and foreign religion-Christianity-and committing its human resources to the propagation of the Good News of Jesus Christ far and wide.

Referred to at various times as Umuchukwu, Ndi-Ikelionwu, Aro Ndikelionwu, Ndikelionwu, Ndikerionwu or Ndike (for brevity), Ndikelionwu was founded by Ikelionwu Ufere or Ikerionwu Uvere, depending on your Igbo dialect. Ndikelionwu has emerged as an autonomous community within Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra State of Nigeria. Its principal organs of governance are the Eze-in-Council and the Town Union, the latter run by elected officers, and the Age Grades, the Youth Movements, the Okoroakwukwo Women’s Meeting and the Umuada Ndikelionwu.

With a large population, Ndikelionwu situates along the Ekwulobia-Oko-Ufuma-Ajalli-Umunze road, six kilometers from Ekwulobia and seven from Ajalli. To the North of Ndikelionwu are Ndiowu and Oko towns; to the South is Awgbu, separated by Odo River; to the East is Ufuma, and to the West is Nanka separated by gullies.

Having placed high premium on education over the years, the town has produced many qualified men and women in the arts, sciences and the various professions. The preponderant number in the early years joined the teaching profession, where they attained the highest levels. Ndikelionwu citizens have also made significant contributions in business, the oil industry, banking, insurance, legal and medical professions, and in engineering design and fabrication.

The Anglican Church has continued to serve as a bond of unity, growing from strength to strength in spite of the emergence of other protestant denominations within the town of eleven villages which include: Amagu/Eziagu, Aronota, Arogwe, Eziokwe, Ndikpa, Ndinwedo/Ndiufele, Nkwu-Obinikpa, Obinagu, Okpunifite, Umudim and Umuochu. On 9 May 2003 the soil of a Diocesan Church Centre was turned at Ndikelionwu.

In November 2008, the Christian community of the town celebrated 100 years (centenary) of Christianity in the Town.

The community is home to beautiful sceneries and tourist attractions. With her vast arable and fertile land, hospitable, peaceful and resourceful people, Ndikelionwu undoubtedly possesses the enabling environment for investment, especially for those interested in agricultural processing ventures. Rice, corn, cassava, yam, vegetables and palm produce are the major crops produced in Ndikelionwu. There are many processing plants that process these crops as they are harvested from the farm. Traders from within and outside the state come to the town to purchase these crops which are sometimes resold at city centers. This has undoubtedly positioned this ancient community as one of the Food Baskets of the State. Apart from farming, the people of Ndikelionwu also engage in business and trading. Some of the tourist attractions in Ndikelionwu include the Obutu Lake, Nama River, Odo River and other small streams with green vegetations.


In addition, Ndikelionwu is known for her rich cultural exhibitions like the popular Ikeji masquerade festivals which come up every third month of the year, the Iri-Ji-Ndikelionwu (New Yam Festival) which holds every first week (Saturday) of the ninth month.

Deeply rooted in ancient Igbo culture, is the belief that yam is the king of all crops and to depict its prominence, “The New Yam Festival” is celebrated to thank the gods of good harvest.
Being an important event in the calendar of Ndikelionwu indigenes and the Igbo people all over the world, the festival usually begins with a ceremonial roasting of whole yams by the king and the titled elders of Ndikelionwu.

Afterwards, portions of the yams are offered first to the earth gods which connote a sign of gratitude to God for his protection and kindness in leading them from lean periods to the time of bountiful harvest; the rest are shared and the community can then feel free to consume new yam without incurring the wrath of the gods.

However, despite the fact that the methods and style of celebration usually differ from one community to the next, the essential components that make up the festival remain the same.
Traditionally, the celebration includes a variety of entertainments and ceremony: the performance of rites by the Eze and cultural dances by various villages.

It also features Ndikelionwu cultural activities in the form of contemporary shows, masquerade dances, and fashion parades.

In some communities, the celebration lasts a whole day while in others, it usually takes a week.

Celebrated between August and October, the renowned festival is as old as the tradition in the Igbo land. In Ndikelionwu, it must be the first Saturday in September. September 1st 2018 is OUR NEW YAM FESTIVAL, do not fail to visit and be part of it.

In modern times, the festival does not only provide a platform to call home sons and daughters abroad to renew and reaffirm the bond of brotherhood, it also brings to mind a sense of belonging and to plan for community development.

It is very important to state here that 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.

Myth of New Yam Festival
According to an old Igbo myth, there was a time when a severe famine struck. Eze Nri (King of Nri) considered what should be done to remedy the situation.

He later took the drastic course of killing his eldest son, cutting the body into small pieces and burying them.
Strangely, yam tendrils were observed to be growing at the very places where the dismembered parts of the body had been buried. And six months later, the Eze Nri dug up fine large yams from his son’s grave. He cooked it and found it sweet. Till this day, it is believed that this son of Eze Nri, which is known as Ahijoku, is the god yam.

Another interesting aspect of the festival is the consumption or discarding of old yams prior to the festival day.

And this is done owing to the belief that the New Year must begin with tasty fresh yams instead of the old dried-up crops of the previous year.

Though particular to villages, the new yam festival can also be celebrated in far away countries even in Europe or America; for as long as there is a high chief to bless the yam and the Igbo residents bring yam samples, including rich cultural dances and masquerades, the event is accepted.

Ndikelionwu is a great community with beautiful culture. We have the Ndikelionwu Book Festival (Book exhibitions, Arts, Culture and Tourism) held every tenth month of the year and the Ndikelionwu Football League of every twelfth month of the year.
The great grandson of Eze Ijoma Ikelionwu, the first Nigerian Registrar of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, the first Nigerian Registrar and Chief Executive of the Multinational West African Examinations Council, Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic, Honorary Doctor of Letters of both University of Nigeria, Nsukka and the University of Lagos, Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Management, Honorary Fellow of the City and Guilds of London Institute, Honorary Fellow in Writing of the University of Iowa (USA), an internationally acclaimed Creative Writer, recipient of the 2008 African Literature Association FONLON-NICHOLAS award, founding President of the Nigerian Book Foundation and the member Nigerian National Order of Merits (NNOM), His Majesty Eze Professor Chukwuemeka Ike, Ikelionwu XI of Ndikelionwu, is the Traditional Ruler of Ndikelionwu……the land of beautiful people and places!

WELCOME TO IRI-JI NDIKELIONWU
UDOCHUKWU OGBAJI
EZIOKWE VILLAGE, NDIKELIONWU

You can share this
Previous articleITU hosts regional workshop for capacity building in Abuja
Next articleGoogle announces Launchpad Accelerator Africa Class 2
We help you make sense of an increasingly complex information world with a wide range of perspectives and stories that will allow you take an informed decision. We are proud of our African heritage and keep our eyes on the world. As online media, we see digitalization as the foremost opportunity to reach new readers, customers, and African emerging markets. We are independent in our approach. Our philosophy is grounded in the principles of a free society, which Africa is coming to terms with yet not losing the essence of what makes us African, which is our culture. ….showcasing the best part of us! www.etimes.com.ng ======================== info@etimes.com.ng ======================== etimes.nigeria@gmail.com Phone: +234 802 893 1940
SHARE