HISTORIC FRIDAY - IGBO CULTURE



Igbo Language
The main language spoken by the Igbo people is the Igbo language, natively called Asusu Igbo. The language has approximately 24 million speakers, who are primarily of Igbo descent and live mostly in Nigeria but can also be found in other countries such as Equatorial Guinea where it is recognized as a minority language.
There have been discussions in recent time in regards to the possible extinction of the Igbo language in about 50 years. This is thanks to the preference for the use of English, which is perceived as the language of status and opportunity by native Igbo speakers.
That has, in turn, led to a declining population of monolingual Igbo speakers, the deterioration of idioms, proverbs, and other rhetorical elements of the Igbo language.

Religion
The main religion in Igboland is Christianity, with more than half of the population identifying as the Roman Catholics. A huge percentage, in recent times, has also begun to identify with Protestant/Evangelical.
Other religions practised in the region include the traditional religion referred to as Odinani, Islam, and Judaism. The Igbo people are very religious. They always observe the religious rites as well as traditional rituals of passage in different stages of their lives. This will happen during childbirth, marriage, initiation, as well as burials. However, western-based religions are gradually taking over as the preferred religions instead of the traditional practices.

Culture (Food, Masquerade)
Igbo culture includes the various customs, practices and traditions that comprise of archaic practices as well as new concepts. These customs and traditions include the Igbo people’s visual art, use of language, music and dance forms, as well as their attire, cuisine and language dialects. Because of their various subgroups, the variety of their culture is heightened further.
A notable cultural practice by the Igbo people is the New Yam Festival which is held annually at the end of the rainy season in early August. Yam is an important crop for the Igbo people and it is also the first to be harvested. The festival is held to welcome the new yams, while the old ones are all eaten up or discarded the night before. Another notable part of the Igbo culture is the masquerade, natively called Mmanwu. It is a major form of entertainment in the region used to celebrate mainly the harvest
seasons but could also be used during other times. Other functions could include protection, enforcing village curfews, and serving as village security guards. Members of a masquerade are usually not known. They wear masks to hide their identity from the rest of the village. The mask is made to resemble the spirit of a dead community member and it is thought that by wearing the mask, a masquerade will have spiritual powers that are conducted through the mask.


SOURCE: cometonigeria.com igbo attire

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