New yam festival in Igboland is known by different names among Igbo communities, but they ultimately share the same concept and similar practices, which is the ultimate identifying factors of every Igbo blood.These practices exist for a particular purpose and they date back centuries(Mgbe enu bu ana osa).
Most has being corrupted and now practiced by both indigenes and non-indigenes alike, thereby causing unwarranted casualties and mortality during these times. But with the help of the vigilante and security personnel’s, the excesses of these unscrupulous individuals has being curbed.
Communities within Aneado (Nnewi),share common ancestral and cultural beliefs. Our many traditional value system and cultural events also include the New yam known as Afiaolu, a festival dedicated to Ifejioku the God of Yam.
This festival takes place within the month of August every year and lasts for four native days. The festival begins as soon as the King devours his first New Yam and declares the festival open with Mkpo n’ani. Before the commencement of this festival, it is mandatory for the King and his Obi’s not to taste the new yam before hand.
The same is required of the indigenes, but its most taken serious by the monarchs and chief priests of presiding deities within Anaedo.
Nnewi Afiaolu festival is well celebrated by her indigenes home and abroad. To the women its a day of panic and chase, while for the young men, its a test of endurance and pain!(Ka anyi gbaa egwu onye okara obi) as they whip themselves mercilessly,until one gives up for the other and call a truce.
At the end of this ceremony, the youths of the four villages (Otolo, Umudim, Uruagu and Nnewichi) put together a mini show to entertain the viewing audience.They perform cultural dance, wrestling match and masquerade shows, which ends with the display of the dreaded Ajofia Nnewi.
Within the various homeland villages ,the festival also rages on with different acrobatics, whipping and of course fights as young men want to display their prowess and tolerance towards pain.The viewing crowd also entertain themselves with alcohol,musics and masquarades displays. Land marks such as Enam hall, Nkwo Nnewi etc are filled to the brim which in return cause a gridlock for both pedestrians and otherwise.
Most Igbo cultural events such as this, has lost its relevance and are gradually becoming obsolete. We are soon becoming a people without roots, floating in our ignorance.
Nke a bu nke anyi
Onye kpoo obu ya mkpokoro,umuaka ewere ya meere ihe egwuregwu!