The Cultural Make up of Igbos in Enugu State

The Igbo's are the second biggest group of people living in southern Nigeria of which Enugu is not secluded. They are socially and culturally diverse, consisting of many subgroups. Although they live in scattered groups of villages, they all speak one language though in diverse dialects, this language belongs to the Niger-Congo language family. 

They believe in folklores which explains how everything in the world came into being. It throws more light on the functions, the heavenly and earthly bodies have, and offers guidance on how to behave towards gods, spirits, and ones ancestors. They behave on the Invisible and visible forces by the living, the dead and those yet to be born which we can easily term Reincarnation, the bridge between the living and the dead.


Another important part of people's culture is their Religion, the major beliefs of the Igbo people here are shaded by all. However, many of its practices are locally organized with the most effective unit of religious worship being the extended family. Periodic rituals and ceremonies may activate the lineage or the village which is the wildest political community.

The natures believe in a supreme god who keeps watch over his creatures from a distance. He rarely intrudes in the affairs of human beings. No sacrifices are made directly to him. Nevertheless, he is believed to be the ultimate receiver of sacrifices made to the minor gods (deities), to distinguish him from the minor gods, he is called Chukwu the supreme or the high god. As the creator of everything, he is also called Chukwu Abiama.

Minor gods (Deities), who are generally subject to human passions and weaknesses. They may be kind, hospitable and industrious. However, they can also be treacherous, unmerciful and envious. These minor gods includes Ani, the earth goddess, she is associated with fertility both of human being and of land.

Anyanwu, the sun goddess makes crops and trees grow. Igwe is the sky god as well as the source of rain. In addition to their gods, the Igbo's believe in a variety of spirits whose good will depends on treating them well.

Forests and rivers at the edge of cultivated land are said to be occupied by these spirits. Mbatakwu and Agwo are spirits of wealth. Others are the yam spirit natively known as Aha njoku and Ikoro - the drum spirit. Their attitude towards their deities and spirits are not ones of fear but one of friendship.

It must also be remembered that the inhabitants and the indigenous people of the state celebrate the major national holidays of Nigeria as well as their various local festivals. Those in rainy or dry season are held to welcome the new agricultural cycle.

Furthermore, there are series of ceremonies often ritualized to celebrate a transition in a person's life. Circumcision takes place about eight days after the birth of a boy. At this time the umbilical cord is buried at the foot of a tree selected by the child's mother.

Also, the name-giving ceremony is a formal occasion celebrated by feasting and drinking. A wide variety of names maybe chosen. The name may be based on anything ranging from the child's birth marks to the opinion of the diviner , or seer.

Ndubuisi - life is the most important, Onwubiko - may death forgive, it expresses the fact that parents has lost many of their children and pray that this child may survive. Marriage is also another important festival among the people of Enugu.

It is rarely accomplished in less than a year and often takes several years. The process falls in four stages: asking the Lady's consent, negotiating through a middleman known as Iju ese - asking about the woman's family background, testing the bride's character, and paying the bride price.

However, death in old age is celebrated and accepted as a blessing. After death, the body is clothed in the person's finest garments . The corpse is then placed on a stool in a sitting posture. Old friends as well as relatives visit to pay their last respect, Young men wrap the corpse in grass mats, carrying it out to other burial ground and bury it . When the head of a family dies , he's buried in front of his Obi, the main house.

Subsequently, two criteria shape their interpersonal relationships: age and gender. Respect is normally accorded to the males, and to elderly ones. The children are expected to offer the first greeting to their elders. And their social status bothers on wealth, regardless of occupation.

The people differentiate between Ogbanye (The poor) , Dimkpa (The moderately prosperous), and Oganyara (The rich). The living condition has changed considerably since the discovery of oil in Nigeria. Most mud walls and thatched roofs , are now constructed of cement blocks with corrugated iron roofs . With modernization came electricity which Introduced television sets and radio that is now in all villages and also running water, though it's not situated in every house.

Their clothing is another essential part of their culture although their everyday clothing is not different from that of westerners, especially people dwelling in urban areas. Traditional clothes are still worn on important occasions in the cities and daily in rural areas. For instance, women wear wraps for both formal and informal occasions. The everyday wrapper is made from inexpensive cotton, dyed locally, for formal Wear, the wrapper is either woven or batik-dyed , and often imported.

In terms of entertainments, sports is also recognized by the natives. Wrestling is the most popular sport among the boys and young men. However, it has been introduced to girls through the school system. Their source of entertainment includes storytelling, rituals, dancing and music making. Nevertheless, modernism came with another form of entertainment which are watching television and going to movies. Most youth enjoy listening to rap and rock music.

In conclusion, the culture of Enugu people known as Omenala ndi Igbo are the customs, practices and traditions of the Igbo people. It comprises of archaic practices as well as concepts added into the Igbo culture either by cultural evolution or by outside influence.