Categories
Africa culture/tradition education folklore Igbo culture lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry

Messenger

igbo-gong

Kokookoroko kokorokoro
A greeting called from afar
The children ran out excited
As if the message was for them
But then who knows?
Heads up, listen attentively
Komkom korookom
Another beat rang out
Pushing the mild hit
Into the ears of the heaviest village sleeper
‘Oh how cute, it is one of the King’s messengers’
‘A tall and fine one for that matter’
A group of young women chatter

The morning of a market day
Even before the sun starts his journey
The gong goes before the man,
A metal gong tells the whole clan
The tidings of the hamlet
The days not to visit the rivulet
The day to farm the deep forest
And when a service the King request,
The boxing day, a vengeful day,
Of long brooms stalked away
Up the roof barns where fish smoke,
And the wielder showing teeth tobacco soiled

When the messenger comes
Mama will always say
To bright little ones
‘Listen attentively, listen with your ears
They might have a message for you or you,
From the King or the brave hunters
Come from across the seven hills
And seven rivers of Far Away Land
So you must listen attentively
There must be wisdom in every muttering’

Then each time it all comes to me
Even now I on my face keep beards
I still listen when all is quiet
Then in my mind goes Krookoko-kom-kom!

***

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Krookokom… As in Onomatopoeia of sound made by gongs.

Categories
Poetry

The King’s Messenger: Town Crier

Kokookoroko kokorokoro
A greeting called from afar
The children ran out excited
As if this message was for them
But then who knows?

Heads up, listen attentively
Komkom korookom
Another beat rang out
Pushing the mild hit
Into the ears of even the heaviest village sleeper
‘Oh how cute, it is one of the King’s messengers’
‘A tall and fine one for that matter’
A group of young women chatter

The morning of a market day
Even before the sun sets out on a journey
The gong goes before the man
A metal gong tells the whole clan
The tidings of the hamlet
The days not to visit the rivulet
The day to farm the deep forest
And when a service the King may request

The boxing day, a vengeful day
Long brooms wait, stalked away,
Up the roof barns where fish get smoked
And elders show teeth, tobacco soiled

When the messenger comes
Mama will always say
To bright little ones
‘Listen attentively, listen with your ears
They might have a message for you or you
From the king or the brave hunters
Come from the seven hills
And seven rivers far away
So you must listen and pay attention
There are wisdom in every muttering’

Then each time it all comes back to me,
Even now I on my face keep beards
I still listen when all is quiet for the messenger
And his gong that goes Krookoko kom kom!

Note:

Krookokom… Onomatopoiea of the sound made by the messenger’s gong.

Town criers carry messages from the King, his council or the elders. They communicate important information to villagers.

Categories
Africa culture/tradition Igbo culture

Significance of Breaking the Kola nut

Onye wetara oji wetara ndu (Igbo)

He who brings Kola brings life…

Kola nut is a symbol of hospitality and friendship in Nigeria. While other food can be cooked the Kola nut needs no special preparation before presentation. It’s a bitter fruit of the Kola tree¶ grown all over tropical Africa.

In Igbo land, Kola nut is a cultural staple held in high esteem. It is sometimes referred to King of all foods. It is a sacrificial lobe reverred, no child or woman is allowed to tamper or joke with it. Every piece of it is considered sacred and can’t be wasted or destroyed unless it’s spoilt.

Usually, the oldest man among the host audience is asked to bless the Kola nuts. He will take one of the nuts in his right hand and makes a blessing, prayer or toast using a proverb, e.g.

Ihe dï mma onye n’achö, ö ga-afü ya.’

‘What ever good he is looking for, he will see it.’

Generally Kola nut is presented in festivities, in ceremonies and primarily used to welcome visitors. They are offered with prayers of thanksgiving and supplication to Chineke. After prayers are said then Kola nut can be broken and shared in bits to visitors. Sometimes it’s served with garden eggs, bitter cola, alligator pepper, peanut butter and palm wine.

Learn Igbo language here.

As mentioned before, it is the breaking that is the significant part of the ceremony. The more parts the Kola breaks up to, the more prosperity it gives to its presenter and visitors. Though there is one exception: if the nut yields only to two parts, it signifies no good as it signals that the presenter has a sinister motive behind the Kola. Because of that, Kola nuts with only two parts are avoided for this ceremony and therefore the purple/reddish coloured nuts, cola acuminata are preferred over its greyish counterpart, the cola nitida, as the latter one only breaks up in two. Four parts coincide with the four market days of the Igbo week. Five or more broken parts mean prosperity for the family. In some parts of Igboland, when the Kola breaks into six, a separate celebration is required and sometimes even including the slaughter of a goat.

There are many other rules surrounding the Kola nut ceremony. Kola nut should only be presented with two hands at the same time, and also as the Kola tree is associated with man, only men can climb and pluck the Kola tree.

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¶ Don’t confuse the Bitter Cola with the Kola nut. They are quite different plants.
Chineke: God in Igbo language.
Nkwo, Eke, Afor, Orie: Market days in Igbo land.

Categories
Africa Igbo culture Nature Pastoral Series Uncategorized

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

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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.

Categories
Uncategorized

Tradition: Breaking the Igbo Kola nut 2 (Iwa oji Igbo)

Onye wetara oji, wetara ndu. Ndi be anyi ekelem unu oo.

God our tryst maker! Chinekem ke b’nigwe!

The One that holds the Earth with bare hands

And causes the winds to soar where You wills

My God, we have gathered once again to celebrate

To enjoy the life which you have blessed us with!

Nna anyi ukwu, You hold the knife and the yam

You give the sunshine and the rainfall to everyone-

The bad and the good, all savor the providence You gave

Now we bring the kola nut before You

We bless, we pray that we remain fruitful as this fruit

That the streams give us fish, the land more yams

And the farms much more fruitful than yesterdays harvest

We break this kola nut and as it breaks

So shall our enemies and foes break!

Let the Eagle perch, let also the Kite,

Any that forbids the other from perching

May the wings break!

May our children bear children like the Hebrew

May the winds bring us good tidings and fair weather

May our friendship know no limits but greatness

And may this kola nut bring us all good fortune!

Learn Igbo language here.

***

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Commentary: The Igbo tribe is an Eastern Nigerian tribe. Known for their prowess in business, enterprise and commerce wherever they settle. This piece is a traditional prayer of the Igbo people used to welcome visitors and to bless marriages, friendships, goodwill and ventures.

Onye wetara oji, wetara ndu. Ndi be anyi ekelem unu oo: Him that brings the kola, brings life.

Chinekem ke b’nigwe: My God who lives in Heaven.

Nna anyi ukwu: Our great Father

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