Tradition: Iri Ji Festival


Let us pray (ka anyi kpe ekpere)
Nna anyi, we gather again
To celebrate the New Yam!
The King of all crops
Which you blessed us with
The crop whose soft tendrils crawl,
Through our fine, fertile soil
And carries with it abundance,
Greatness, joy, peace and love!
We celebrate the forests You till
On our behalf,
The greenery with shrubs and trees
With every fruit that we desire
And every kola and food we relish!
We celebrate the waters about it
The Waterfalls that surrounds it
The streams and rivers that feed it
And rainy blessings which You brought

As we split this yam,
We split open doors locking our treasures
And fortunes
Let every tasteless thing in our lives
Receive this new taste of life!
We split open the delays holding our blessings
So let the hills and valleys grow in abundance of food
As You provided the forests and rivers,
The Yams and the palm oil and kola!
We plead for the knife
With which to cut our Yams!
Let our lives be fresh like the morning palm wine
And tasteful to ourselves, clan and  community
We eat the New Yam!



Commentary:
Nna anyi: Igbo language for ‘Our Father’

☺️ Welcome to Igbo land, situated in the south of Nigeria. A tribe known for their resourcefulness and love for their culture and traditions. The piece above depicts a casual prayer made in preparation to the New Yam festival.

August is a beautiful month for the Igbo people. The most prominent activity recorded across Igbo land this month is the celebration of the ‘New Yam’ festival. Yams are perceived as the King of all crops and most times are harvested first in the region. The New Yam festival is a celebration of the prominence of the crop in the region.

The evening prior to the day of the festival, all old yams (from the previous year’s crop) are consumed or discarded. This is because it is believed that the New Year must begin with tasty, fresh yams instead of the old dried-up crops of the previous year. The next day, only dishes of yam are served at the feast, as the festival is symbolic of the abundance of the produce.

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