Igbo pre-colonial women

Female Limitations In Odinaala.

Prior to my conversion and interest in Igbo Spirituality, my focus gravitated towards applauding the European world view as I deemed the Igbo culture and world view as barbaric and unfair especially toward women and women related issues.

Supporting the European analysis and assertions on Igbo pre-colonial women. Which is the placed limitations on women’s activities and participations in exercising their religious rights and obligations.

Also Read: Fascinating Truths About Igbo Women.

Female limitations in Odinaala can be regarded as a patriarchal attempt towards female subjugation; well so I thought.

Limitations are core in Igbo Spirituality and cosmology. To preserve sanctity and potency limitations are instituted to all member’s of a community ,irrespective of gender.

These limitations include :

  • Performing certain rituals such as; Iru Agwu, offering sacrifices to Ndi-Ichie : Ritual is an intricate part of Igbo Spirituality. Ritual act as channel or path way towards the supernatural or cosmic energies. Its often repetitive, hence scientific in both execution and preparation. There are protocols involved while preparing for a particular rituals which a woman’s energy doesn’t flow with or accommodate. In our cosmology their are certain rituals left for a men to perform and their are others also left for a woman.
  • Breaking kola and offering it to a man : To Ndi-Igbo women are not allowed to break kola in the presence of any man irrespective of age. For a woman to break kola, it should not be offered to any man for consumption. The logic is that, this act reduces the life span of the man. My honest review is that is a control mechanism. The monopolization of a significant fruit such as Oji is an exercise of dominance.
  • Ika nzu n’ala(Drawing of white chalk) : A woman doesn’t have a permanent home address or residency, you can also say that a woman doesn’t belong to any permanent family(Married Life). Her surname can change upon marriage and migration could occur if she marries out of her community. Hence Nwaanyi anaghi enwe aja ana.
  • Collecting kola from plates reserved for kola (Efele Oji) :Mother earth is an exemplification of female divinity. The realism here is in reference to the constant loggerhead and bickery,that exist among women. Therefore in Odinaala, women are considered to be living deities (Nwaanyi bu Alusi).
  • Cooking or meeting a man during the usual monthly flow :The negative impression about this limitation, hinges on both the men and women in tradition seeing a woman on her period as dirty at that particular time. But the rationale behind this limitation is quiet different. The birth process is very sacred which is why women are revered in our Igbo society. When that process is interfered with (A woman’s period), then her aura is negative. At this point she lacks her divine glow making her more of a liability than a blessing.

Also Read: Ekwensu

Female limitations in odinaala, is considered by many as ways through which women are dominated and kept to be subservient. The intensions toward these limitations are quiet honorable and goes both ways to maintain balance within the various Igbo societies.

What limitations does women have in your society, list them in the comment section lets discuss.


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