Wednesday, 27 February 2013

THE YORUBA'S GREETINGS AND DRESS MODE

GREETING AND MODE OF DRESSING IN YORUBA LAND

The Yoruba people take their culture seriously; greetings from an important part of daily life. While greetings are exchanged, it is important for the people to smile; and when asked about the well being of someone, time is given to respond as this is considered to be polite. The Yoruba's greet their elders with a  lot of respect, the boys prostrate to greet their elders, while their female counterparts greet by kneeling on one or two knees depending on the tribe. These people also have a very rich cultural background; there are different forms of dance, arts, music, dressing and philosophy. Proverbs are adages form an important part of everyday language, and are used extensively in all form of communication. Music is also very important, and can be used as a form of communication. The talking drum is often as a means of communicating in old times and is still used presently.
The Yoruba dressing is usually made up of brightly colored dresses with hats and shoes matching in color. The females dress up mainly with a head tie known as “Gele”, and a long wrapper with a short armed top. The males normally wear a long-dress in the form of a shirt almost touching the knees or even the ankles; a matching trouser often accompanies this and hat. The Yoruba people occupy the state like Lagos, Ondo, Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ekiti and some part of Kwara and edo states respectively. They have a general language called “Yoruba” formerly derived the word “Yooba” which is the form that is taught in schools in the south – western zone of Nigeria. There are other dialects of the language from different places such as Ondo, Ijebu, Isala – Eko, Oyo and Ekiti to mention a few.

THE YORUBA'S BELIEF

THE YORUBA’S AND THEIR BELIEF

The Yoruba's believe that when they die they will enter into the realms of their ancestors. While they still have influence on earth. Annual homage is paid to the grave sites of one’s forbears, and lineage heads are responsible for honoring all deceased members of the lineage through a yearly sacrifice. Maskers called the “egunguns” or the “EGUNS” appear at funerals and are believed to embody the spirit of the deceased person. Other important Orishas include Eshu (the trickster, Shango (the god of thunder), and Ogun (the god of iron modern technology). Sometimes the Yorubas would claim that they have 401 deities but in truth they have more than these. The complexity of their cosmology has led western scholars to compare them to the ancient Greeks and their impressive pattern. Yoruba deities are known as “Orisha” and the high god is Olorun. No organized priesthoods or a shrine exits in honour of the “Olorun” however his spirit is invoked to ask for blessings and to confer thanks.
The Yoruba people have different stories about their origin, but they all relate to the same ancestor known as “Oduduwa” One story has it that he migrated from what is known as Mecca because of his belief in deities, which caused him to expelled from his abode, and then came to settle in Ile-Ife and start a dynasty life style which was further expanded by his seven sons. Another school of thought has it that he was an ordinary Yoruba man who came to power by overthrowing the existing ruling class, while the other story has it that ‘Oduduwa’ (the Father of the Yoruba) was sent by God known as ‘Olodumare’ from heaven to create the earth and human race. He descended from heaven accompanied by his lieutenants and landed at Ile – Ife, where he proceeded with his mission. The chain with which he landed onto earth is still said to exist in the shrine; thought it is said to be hidden from profane eyes.
                  According to this history, Ile – Ife is not only the cradle of the Yoruba people but also of mankind. He descended with a handful of sand and sand a cork in his hands, he spread the sand over the earth, which was covered with water, and created land. These set of Yoruba believe they had been occupying their homeland since the time of creation. The Yoruba people had their own form of religion before the advent of Christianity and Islam, they believed in their won deities, which changed with each geographical location. There are many deities that Yoruba belief in such as Sango (god of thunder), Ogun (god of iron), Soponna (god of smallpox), Yemoja and so many other gods. These are believed to be inter-medians between God (Olodumare) and man.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

THE YORUBA'S CULTURES

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE YORUBA PEOPLE
The African people, who lived in Yoruba land at least by the seventh century B.C.E, were not initially known as the Yoruba, although they shared a common ethnicity and language group. The historically Yoruba develop in situ, out of earlier (Mesolithic) populations, by the 1st millennium B.C.E. Ile-ife is widely believed to be the birth place of Yoruba people, our father told us Ile-Ife was the main city occupied by the Yoruba people and the city was surpassed by the Oyo empire as the dominant Yoruba military and political power in the early days. Most of the city states were controlled by “Obas”, elected priestly monarchs and councils made up of “Oloyes”, recognized leaders of royal, nobles and often even common descent, who joined them in ruling over the kingdom through a seven of guides and cults. Different states saw different levels of power between the kingship and the chief’s council. Some such as Oyo had powerful, autocratic monarchs into almost total control, while in others such as the Ijebu city – states,  the sectional councils were supreme and the Oba served as something of a figurehead.

In all cases, however, Yoruba monarchs were subject to the continuing approval of their constituents as a matter of policy, and could be easily compelled to diabolical for demonstrating dictatorial tendencies or incompetence. The order to create the throne was usually communicated through an aroko or symbolic ménage, which usually took the form of parents’ eggs delivered in a covered calabash bowl by the senators. The Yoruba's eventually establish a federation of city-states under the political ascending of the city states of Oyo, located on the Northern fingers of Yoruba land in the savanna plains between the forest of present southwest Nigeria and the Niger River. Following a Jihad led by Uthman Dan Fodio and a rapid consolation of the Hausa city – states contemporary Northern Nigeria, the Fulani Sokoto caliphate miveded and annexed the buffer Nupe kingdom. It then began to advance southwards into Oyo land. Shortly afterwards, its armies overran the Yoruba military capital of Ilorin and then sacked and destroyed Oyo-Ile the royal seat of the Oyo Empire. This led to the abandonment of Oyo – Ile and the Oyo people retreated south to the present city of Oyo (formerly known as “agod’Oyo” or Oyo Atiba) in a forested region where less cavalry of the Sokoto caliphate was less effective. A further attempt to expand southward was checked by the Yoruba who had rallied in defense under a new and potent military surge.
Before the wars, the Yoruba people always boasted of arts which are as numerous as their deities and many of these objects are placed on shrines to honor the gods and the ancestor. Beautiful sculptured abounds in wood and brass and the occasional terracotta. Varied masking traditions have resulted in a great diversity of mask form. Some of them include poetry, pottery, weaving, and bead working and metal smoothing  The empire of Oyo arose at the end of the 15th century aided by the Portuguese guns. Expansion of the kingdoms is associated with the acquisition of the horse. At the end of the 18th century when the famous was broke out between the Fulani’s’ and the Yoruba's pushed and journeyed down south where the towns of the Ibadan and Abeokuta were founded.
Yoruba's are primarily farmers, growing cocoa and yams as cash crops. These are planted in a three – year rotational system, alternating with cassava and a year of diverse crops including maize, peanuts, cotton, and beans. At the end of each three year cycle the land is left to fallow, sometimes for seven years. It is estimated that at one time nearly 70 percent of the people participate in agriculture and ten percent each working and crafts people and trader within the towns. Yoruba land is characterized by numerous densely populated urban centers with surrounding fields for farming. The centralization of wealth within cities allowed for the developing of a complex market economy which encouraged extensive patronage of the arts.

THE HAUS'A CULTURES


THE HAUSA’S AND THEIR CULTURE
The Hausa remain pre-eminent in Northern part of Nigeria; they are the largest and most historically grounded civilization, cutting across Nigeria for many West African countries. Most of the towns and cities in Northern Nigeria are predominantly occupied by the Hausa People, since the Stone Age to the present age. These cities and towns include Kano city, Kastina, Abuja, Bauchi Benin Kebbi, Lafia Makurdi, Sokoto, Suleja, Yola Zaria, Furhia. Etc. Hausa are culturally close to the Fulani, Zarmia, Kanuri, Gwari, Briom, Tiv, Gbagi groups etc and many have intermixed with other group such as the Shuwa, Yoruba, Igbos etc.
However, there is a large and growly printed literature in Hausa which include novels plays, books newspaper magazines, Radio and Television broadcasting in Hausa language. Hausa is used as the language of instruction at the elementary level in school in Northern Nigeria. Hausa is also available tertiary institution beside, several high degrees are also offered in Hausa in various universities in Uk, Us and Germany. One of the religious belief practices in Hausa land is the maguzaira (Bori) which was practiced extensively, before the coming of Islamic religion. However in the more remote areas of Hausaland, maguzawa is still fully practiced. As one gets closer to urban areas and cities, maguzawa is almost totally disappear but it appears occasionally in some folk belief of urban culture. With the coming of Usman Danfodio, the Hausa have been Muslims, practicing Islam and sharia or Islamic law. The Hausa have also converted many other tribes in both the North and other part of Nigeria to Islamic, by contact, trade, intermarriages etc.
THE HAUSA’S MODE OF DRESSING
More so, the Hausa people have a very restricted dressing code which is greatly due to their religion beliefs. The men normally wear large flowing gown known as Babban riga and a robe like dress with design called Jalabia and Juanni. The men may or may not wear caps known as fula. The women are identified by their wrappers called abaya, blouse, head tie, shawl and hijabs. the most common food include frains such as millet, rice maize or sorghum which are grounded into flour for food popularly known as tuwa which can be eaten with soup called taushe, kaka, dagedage etc. ground beans cakes called kosai or wheat flour fried and eaten with sugar called fankasau can be eaten as breakfast porridge and sugar called koko, cow mild known as nunu also taken with fura at all times.

Monday, 25 February 2013

THE IGBO’S BELIEF


THE IGBO’S BELIEF ON OUTCAST (Osu) AND OTHER THINGS
In Igbo land, Osu are a group of people whose ancestors we dedicated to serving in shrines and temples for the deities of the Igbo, and therefore were deemed property of the gods. Relationships and sometimes interactions with Osu were land to this day, still are) in many cases, forbidden. To this day being called an Osu remains a stigma that prevents people’s progress and lifestyles.
Kola Nut (Oji), occupies a unique position in the cultural life of Igbo people. Oji is the first thing served to any visitor in an Igbo home. Oji is served before an important function begins, to it marriage ceremony, settlement of family disputes or entering into any type of agreement. Oji is traditionally broken into pieces by hand, and if the kola nut breaks into three (3) pieces, a special celebration is arranged. More so, it is believed that if a kola breaks into four (4) pieces that it signifies the four days in the week of Igbo people which means Eke, Orie, Afo and Nkwo as the case may be as one week (Otu Izu). In a case where the kola breaks into five (5) pieces, the people of Igbo attribute it to as a sign of good Omen to the people who partake in the breaking of the kola nut.. it is  meant to be believed that within that period, the people receive good things all around. It is also very significant to note that if a kola nut breaks into seven (7) pieces, that it is a sign that there will be an increment in birth rate of the people.
Twin Killing, Before the rise of Christianity in the Igbo land, the Igbo's considered the birth of twins (and other multiple births), like neighboring groups such as the Ibibio, as against nature and inherently evil. Multiple births were believed to be only what animals should produce, and humans were believed to be meant for single births. The reason behind this belief may have been that, because it was a rare occurrence, it was considered wrong. The community generally killed twins by abandonment in the community’s evil forest or by direct attack, after the birth, the mother of the twins went through cleansing rituals to purify her from the birth. This practice has ended. This practice has no recorded history (neither oral nor written), so it is subject to controversy.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

THE IGBO’S MUSICAL STYLE




THE IGBO’S MUSICAL STYLE (Iku Egwu)
The Igbo people have a melodic and symphonic musical style, into which they incorporate various percussion instruments: the udu, is essentially designed from a clay jug; an ekwe which if formed from hollowed log; and the ogene, a hand bell designed from forged iron; Other instruments include opi, a wind instrument similar to flute, igba, and ichaka.
Another popular musical form among the Igbo is Highlife, which is a fusion of Jazz and traditional music and is widely popular in West Africa. The modern Ibo Highlife is seen in the works of Prince Oliver De Coque, Bright Chimezie and Chief Osita Osadebe who are some of the greatest Igbo Highlife musician of the Twentieth century. There are also other notable Highlife artists of Igbo extract, like the mike Ejeagha, Paulson Kalu, Ali Chukwuma, Ozoemena Nwa Nsugbe. Moreso, Igbo Art is known for various types of masquerade, masks and outfits symbolizing people animals or abstract conceptions. Igbo art is also known for its bronze casting found in the town of Igbo ukwu from the Nineth Century. Igbo art is anybody of visual art origination from the people of the Igbo.
However, the Igbo culture is the customs, practices and traditions of the Igbo people of the Southeastern Nigeria. It comprises archaic practices as well as new concepts added into the Igbo culture either by cultural evolution or by outside influence. These customs and traditions include the Igbo people’s visual art, music and dance forms, as well as their attire, cuisine and language dialects because of their various sub-groups, the variety of their culture is heightened further.

MARRIAGE IN IGBO LAND


MARRIAGE IN IGBO LAND (Ilu Nwunye) 

In Igbo land, it looks upon the horizon of every maid and youth as an indispensable function to fulfill with a little delay as possible after reaching the age of puberty. Since the Igbo are a patriarchal people, marriage is deemed and indispensable factor for the continuation of the family line of descent children occupy the central point in Igbo marriage. The first and foremost consideration is the fertility of the couple. Parents long for this and the father of the family request this every morning in his kola nut prayer. The mother begs for it while giving cult to her chi during annual festival. In other words, if you ask the ordinary Igbo man or woman why he desires to marry, the spontaneous answer will be: ‘I want to marry in order to beget my own children, to get a family like my parents’. This love for having children is manifested in Igbo names like Nwabuuwa (a child is the entire world to me). This name exposes the Igbo man’s sentiment and the high water mark of his ambitions. Other things in life rank second to this desire. Then, there are names equally very expressive, Nwakasi, a child is priceless, most precious, Nwakaku or Nwakaego, a child out-values all money, all wealth; Nwadiaguu, a child is desirable, man is literally famished with the hunger for children. According to Basden, he further expresses his view with this remark: men and women are mocked if they remained unmarried.
In Igbo land, a childless woman is regarded as a monstrosity “This idea is still present in the Igbo society today. A childless marriage is universally recognized as chi Ojoo. A childless marriage is a source of serious disappointment and sooner or later, leads to serious trouble between man and wife. The position of a wife in her husband’s family remains shaky and unpredictable until she begets a child. She becomes really secure after the birth of a male child. At this stage, she is specially welcomes as a responsible housewife in her husband’s extended family and Umunna.  In fact, the birth of the child gives her the title of wife, before this time she may be said to be a wife only in anticipation. The fate of a sterile woman is very hard one indeed. None uncommonly she is made the object of conversation and ridicule by some of her female neighbors. If an occasion for quarrel arises, she gets the most painful telling off. Her woman rivals would call her Nwanyi-iga, (the sterile woman, the barren one). Sterile monster who has her maternal organs for mere decoration.
However, marriage is the union between a man and a woman for the duration of the woman’s life, being normally the gist of a wider association between two families. For the ordinary Igbo, marriage is the lawful living together of man and woman of different families for the purpose of begetting children after some rites have been performed. It is regarded as a mite-stone in the life of a man and a woman, which will enable them to immortalize their remembrance through their children. They regard consent as the most important element. Before marriage, a young man who loves a girl would speak to his parents about her. The parents will examine not only her physical beauty, but also her physical, mental and moral fitness, then her resourcefulness, graceful temper, smartness and generally ability to work well. Her parental background must also be investigated. This is as it should be for “such a tree such a fruit” Initial Inquiry by the Groom (Iku Aka): This is the initial and official declaration to the parents of the girl of the groom that he is interested in having their daughter as a wife. The prospective groom is accompanied by a small group made up of close family members such as his parents, one or two uncles and aunts. The visitors come with kola nuts and small amount of palm wine. Before the kola nut is broken and shared, the suitor’s party would state their intension to the bride’s family. The prospective bride would then be asked for her consent to accept the kola nut. If she fails to give her consent then, the process comes to an end. On the other hand, if she consents, then the kola nut and the wine is accepted and shared. Further visits are then scheduled before the groom’s party leaves.

Second and Third visitations, ( Mmanya Nne and Nna, Mmanya Ikwunne, Umunn and Isiada)
    If the initial introductory rite (Iku Aka ) is positive, the groom’s party will receive a list of what other steps are involved and what the requirements of the bride’s clan or town are. There are variations from one town to another. With each additional visitation, the size of the groom’s party continues to increase until the apex visitation which is the Igba Nkwu ceremony. The first visitation to the bride’s family is for the purpose of mmanya nne na nna (wine for the bride’s parents). The groom’s party is limited to about 6 to 10 persons, and their gifts will include kola nut, palm wine, beer, soft drinks and tobacco. The bride’s family will prepare food and serve the visitors. The third visitation at the bride’s home is for the purpose mmanya umunna, which is to inform the extended family from the bride’s father’s side that someone is interested in marrying their daughter. For this visitation, the groom’s party may number up to 20, and the number and assortment of gifts and drinks also increase. A goat is often a meal for the visitors.
In some communities, the rites of mmanya ikwunne and that of mmanya Isi Ada are of mandatory while it is not mandatory in some communities. The former is to inform the relations of the bride’s mother that someone wants to marry their daughter. The latter is for the first daughter of the bride’s father or family. The groom’s party is limited in both cases, and the gifts are identical in scope and size, but they must include kola nuts, palm wine, beer, soft drinks, heads of tobacco and snuff. The consent from these entire distinct family members must be secured before the final marriage rites are agreed to and scheduled. Followed is the Bride wealth/ Dowry Settlement: This rite may be done as part of Igba Nkwu, but in general, it requires a visitation to the bride’s family. In the past, at the end of the lengthy negotiations which can take a whole night, money does change hands. These days, the exchange of money does not take place. Because of the difficulty in determining the value of a wife to a man, most families settle for a commitment from the groom that he would take good care of the bride and her children, and that he would assist the bride’s family with the training of the bride’s siblings. At the start of the dowry or bride wealth negotiations, the bride’s family will extol her virtues and accomplishments. Usually broom sticks are used to represent money. Thus, at the start, the bride’s family will present a huge bundle of broom sticks which is what they believe their daughter is worth. The groom’s parties will then go out and consult with themselves and come back with a counter offer which is in the form of a much reduced bundle of broom sticks. The bride’s family will again go to their meeting and agree on a slightly reduced amount. This back and forth session will continue until a final count (amount) is agreed to.


 Traditional Marriage (Igba Nkwu)
This is the final ceremony to consummate the marriage, and it takes place in the bride’s family compound. The guest list from both the groom’s and bride’s families is often unlimited. Depending on the resources of the two families, several hundreds and even thousands of people come to witness the occasion. The entire extended family system, going as far back as they know is invited.. Both the groom and b ride would normally invite their friend, colleagues and co-workers in addition to member of the respective extend families. As is the case with other rites that come before Igba Nkwu, some communities specify items that the groom must present to the bride’s family. These would include kola nuts, palm wine and other assorted drinks, heads of tobacco, snuff, cloths jewellery, etc. for the bride’s family, it is also the occasion to show their love and care for their daughter. They would give her presents including cooking utensils for her new home. The bride’s compound is typically decked up for the event with extra chairs and tables brought in for the numerous guests expected. Often times, dance groups and musicians are in attendance to entertain the audience.