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Ibo Overview II
The Ibo Tribe:
The Ibo Tribe (also known as the Igbos) are one of three tribal groups located in Iboland in Nigeria. Iboland is located in the Niger-Delta region of West Africa and is surrounded by the Niger River and the Cross River. The rainforest climate is greatly influential to the culture of the Ibos, influencing clothing especially.
The Ibos do not wear any clothing until they reach puberty and adults begin to wear pieces of cloth and loose cotton shirts. Women often wear cloth wrapped around their heads as well.
Their language is derived from a group of languages from West Africa called the Kwa languages. Their communication is primarily based on pitch, tone, and vocal inflections and idioms are integrated often into everyday speech and those who do not use them are considered to be uneducated or daft.
There is no set ruler or king of the Ibo tribes and most decisions that must be made are decided by the tribe as a whole which is usually comprised of a few hundred to a few thousand people. There is a counsel of elders as well as many spiritual beliefs that guide their decision making.
The yam is a staple to the diet and economy, while serving as a cash crop. They often eat vegetables.
: The Ibos have war dances for rites of passage and to showcase political stances. The dance is known as the Egwugwu. They play flutes, the Ekwe, Ichaka, Ogene, Udu, and rely on percussion such as drums and gongs.
Religious & Afterlife Beliefs:
The most important ceremonies are birth, marriage, and death
Birth- on the 28th day after birth, the child is named and there is a feast
Marriage- affair between the families and villages; bride's price is negotiated between fathers
Death- two burials necessary for person to reach the spirit world
Believe in worshipping spirits, karma, two souls, and honoring the dead.
Worshipping spirits and honoring the dead: All people are watched by the spirits of their ancestors. Ibo people take bites out of food at every meal and toss it on the ground while calling the name of their ancestors.
Karma: There are different forms of reincarnation for good and bad souls so people receive rewards or punishments in present life for past life
Two souls: Every man has two souls, the eternal ego (Maw) and the life force that dies with the body (Nkpuruk-Obi). Both souls leave the body upon death but the life force can leave for short periods of time before that. If the soul does not return, the body also perishes. The Maw takes on the form of a ghost, shadow, or reflection after death so it is considered dangerous to step on a shadow and mirrors are used against evil.
They show deep appreciation for their deceased relatives through pilgrimages, feasts, dances, plays and other rituals
There is a hierarchy in the ghost world:
Ghost King (Eze Ala Maw)
Ghost Messenger (Onwu)- appears as a skeleton who brings death on a person
Ferryman (Asasaba)- brings good souls across the river of death to be reincarnated
Kola nut ceremony: symbolic of prosperity which is usually presented when visitors arrive
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