Monday, 25 April 2011

The Feast of the New Yam

By: Jacob C., Matt T., Noah C.

A definition of the concept as found in the novel:
The feast of the new yam is a ceremony that gives thanks to the goddess Ani, the goddess of fertility. She is also the judge of morality and conduct. New Yam, which is the staple food of the region, could not be eaten before this event. All yams from the previous year were thrown away and all yam utensils were cleaned. Everyone is happy and celebrates together.

A summary of a contemporary article that deals with the concept:
This article talks about the feast of the new yam in modern Ghana and Nigeria. The article specified that the celebration occurred in mid to late August, at the end of the rainy season. In modern times, at this festival, people bring yams for all to share. Aside from a feast of yams, people participate in cultural dances and masquerades. Today it is still a symbol of togetherness and community. There have been basically no changes to the way it is celebrated and it is still perceived positively, like it was back then.

Works Cited
Daniels, Ugo. "Iwa Ji Ofu (New Yam Festival) in Igboland!" AfricanLoft. African Loft, 11 July 2007. Web. 14 Apr. 2011. .
New Yam Festival. 2011. Photograph. Enggods, Nigeria. Enggods. Sociologist, 2011. Web. 14 Apr. 2011. .

The Kola-Nut Ceremony

By: Jason and Lauren

Definition as found in the novel:
The Kola-nut ceremony is when a kola-nut is broken as part of a prayer that is supposed to take place at the start of a celebration. Breaking the kola-nut is supposed to bring good health and protection from one’s enemies. The person who breaks the kola-nut is usually the most respected person in attendance, and the breaking of the nut symbolizes the celebration.

An article about the history of the kola-nut ceremony:

An explanation of the kola-nut ceremony, as explained by a Nigerian:

The Ogene

By: Gabe and Oliver, Joel, and Zack W.
A definition of the concept on p. 9:
  1. The Ogene is a musical instrument which in this book is used to alert the members of the tribe about a certain event, it is like a gong. We see this in the book in chapter 2, page 9. The town crier is banging the ogene to alert the members of the tribe of a death that has occurred, and a town meeting with all the men has to be had. Amazingly, without any words, the men of the tribe were able to understand what the crier wanted to tell them just by the beats of the ogene. It was crucial in the tribe and a very useful tool to get the attention and relay the message to a large number of people.
This article talks about the history and development of Traditional African Music, and its importance to its culture. It is a crucial part of the Igbo peoples' culture, and is used as the “master instrument” in many bell orchestras. It is used for many events, including Enhance celebrations, such as during the New Year, weddings, birthday parties, childbirth and naming ceremonies, To bring about a historically sacred ambiance at church services, funerals, and eulogies, For pleasure, such as when lullabies are sung by parents to their children, For sports and labor, To guide historians as they recant stories. It has been a main part of these peoples culture and without it they would not be the same.

A video of the ogene at work:

The Funeral Ceremony

From: Ben G. and Daniel S.

A definition of the concept as found in the novel:

The funeral ceremony in Things Fall Apart involves numerous customs, including the
banging of drums and ekwe, and gun firing. Fellow warriors come to the funeral, dressed in smoke raffia shirts and painted with chalk and charcoal. Men would also dress up in ancestral spirits (the egwuwu). Some are very violent. Others are harmless. Machetes are strike together in salute.

As the ceremony continues,
a person comes with basket full of water towards the corpse. The person makes speech (a eulogy). Dancing commences after the speech, and the corpse is buried at darkness. Sons of those who have died dance a farewell dance.

If someone is killed during the funeral ceremony, the murderer is banished for seven years. This happens to Okwonkwo, who accidentally kills a son of the dead father.

A contemporary article about present-day customs in Nigerian funeral ceremonies:

An example of a modern-day Nigerian funeral ceremony:

The Week of Peace

BY: Emma Shepherd, Zachary Zarnett-Klein, Rachel Bierbrier and Kimberly Snow

Explanation of the concept as found in the novel:
Okonkwo breaks the sacred Week of Peace when he noticed that one of his wives, Ojiugo, leaves her hut without making dinner, frustrating him to the point of beating her up. He is forced to repent by a priest by sacrificing a nanny goat and a hen and paying a fine of one length of cloth and 100 crowries.

Okonkwo does so, and goes on to criticize another clan’s custom of placing the bodies of those who die during the Week of Peace in the Evil Forest. Following the Week of Peace, villagers begin preparing the land for planting new seeds. Nwoye and Ikemefuna help Okonkwo in this process. However, he finds fault in their labour. He tries to help them become better farmers.

The week of peace was one of the means of unification for the clan and appeasement for the gods in control over their crops.

Summary of a contemporary article:
Last week, Nigerians marked the Week of Peace. They spent time meditating and with their families in order to restore their inner peace. This annual event is important in the Igbo culture and is followed by the sowing season for all the crops. They believe that in order to have a good, clean crop, the spirit must first be cleansed. No marital relations, physical abuse, or hurtful language is allowed during this week. Spiritual purity is held very dear in Igbo culture and the Week of Peace is a prime example of this.


Works Cited

Catshanghai. Web. 14 Apr. 2011. 
Cover, Its. "Ibo Culture as Seen in "Things Fall Apart"" Lbo's Blog. Web. 14 Apr. 2011. .
The Nigerian Inquirer - the #1 Nigerian News Website. Web. 14 Apr. 2011. <>.