- Culture is the sum-total of what we do as Igbo people; how we live our lives, how we eat our foods, what we wear on our bodies as clothes or accessories, what we are known for, the songs we sing to one another, the music we make to express ourselves, the belief system we hold dear to our hearts, and our collective behavior and attitude towards life.
It is by our culture that we, Igbos, are given our identity among comity of ethnicities all over the world, and that is why we, as Igbo people, collectively work together to preserve
the Igbo culture and traditions . A tribe without a strong cultural base will go into extinction sooner than later. Here are some relevant igbo cultures.
1. Inheritance. For Igbo, inheritance is basically a male affair. Though women have a legal right to inheritance in Nigeria, they often receive nothing. This is a reflection of the forced economic independence many women live under. While their husbands are alive, wives are often responsible for providing for themselves and their children. Little changes economically after the death of the husband. Property and wealth are usually passed on to sons, if they are old enough, or to other male relatives, such as brothers or uncles.
2. Kin Groups. While men dominate Igbo society, women play an important role in kinship. All Igbos, men and women, have close ties to their mother’s clan, which usually lives in a different village. When an Igbo dies, the body is usually sent back to his mother’s village to be buried with his mother’s kin. If an Igbo is disgraced or cast out of his community, his mother’s kin will often take him in.
3. Child Rearing and Education. When children reach the age of about four or five, they often are expected to start performing a share of the household duties. As the children get older, their responsibilities grow. Young men are expected to help their fathers in the fields or tend the livestock. Young women help with the cooking, fetch water, or do laundry. These tasks help the children learn how to become productive members of their family and community. In the Igbo culture the training of children is the work of both men and women, within the family and outside it. Neighbors often look after youngsters while parents may be busy with other chores. It is not strange to see a man disciplining a child who is not his own.
4. Rituals and Holy Places. Because many of the indigenous religions are based on various spirits or minor gods, each with influence over a specific area of nature, many of the traditional rituals are based on paying homage to these gods and spirits. Likewise, the area of control for a spirit also marks the places that are holy to that spirit. Many Igbo consider it bad luck to eat yams from the new harvest until after the annual Yam Festival, a harvest celebration held in honor of the Igbo earth goddess Ani.
5. Akwamozu (Funeral rites):
We – Igbos – strongly believe in life after physical death. Akwamozu is one of the ways we express that strong belief.
Akwamozu can be said to be the Igbo traditional funeral rite performed when an Igbo adult person dies in order to facilitate a smooth transition of the departed soul into the ethereal world or the world beyond our physical senses – the other side of life.
6. Mmanwu (Masquerades):
In all parts of Igbo land, mmanwus are considered sacred entities, and as such are highly respected if not revered, because we consider them visitors from the ethereal world – the world beyond our physical senses. We don’t allow women and all those that have not undergone traditional initiations into
mmanwu society in Igbo land to get too close to an mmanwu . Such persons are even prohibited from discussing mmanwu in public. No one is expected to fight an
mmanwu in Igbo land. Also, nobody is expected to trespass any land, tree, or property occupied by an mmanwu either for rituals, worship or other purposes.
7. Echimechi (Chieftancy Title-taking):
Echimechi is a highly respected aspect of Igbo culture. In Igbo land, it is one of the ways our people let members of their respective communities know that they have attained greatness in certain areas of life, and as such are now competent to partake in the decision –making processes that concerns communal issues and affairs in their respective communities.. A title that reflects the area one has attained greatness is chosen and borne by one who desires to become a titled chief. Titled chiefs are the only persons expected to wear red caps in Igbo communities and must be respected by all and sundry.