History and culture of Umunaga Egwugwu people of Nigeria

History and culture of Umunaga Egwugwu people of Nigeria

 


Ebonyi state was one of the six states in 1996 created by Gen.Sani Abacha from part of Enugu and Abia state. It is divided into local government areas they are : Abakaliki, Afikpo North, Afikpo South (Edda),Ebonyi,Ezza North,Ezza South, Ikwo,Ishielu, Ivo, Izzi, Ohaozara, Ohaukwu, Onicha.

Umunaga Egwugwu is a village within Ohaozara local government area of Ebonyi state,  it is a community that houses one of the main attractive site of Ebonyi state. The village has the salt lake as one of its tourist attractions and this lake has cultural importance and a history also 8t has the current Governor of Ebonyi state  as one  of its children thereby causing an increase it its infrastructural development and also bringing more attention to the community. Ohaozara which is a local government area of ebonyi state was also called the old Ohaozara and then it included Onicha which is now a separate local government of itd own.

History of Umunaga Egwugwu

There are different stories about how this village came up but I would talk about two; the first story was that villages in Uburu were not related as Umunaga descended from Aga who had three sons and these sons founded the village of Umuhi-Nsere and in turn the Sons of Umuhi-Nsere founded Umumahi, Umuoli and Umunweze. According to the first story, Umuhi-Nsere is the first man to live in Uburu.

The second story has it that Uburu was founded by the fourteen sons of Adu the great. The story starts with the Great Adu and his elder brother Nwokeigbota Ezentum, the brothers and their wives in search of wild animals left isukwuato and settled first under two Agba trees after which the Great Adu left his brother to wander further and found a large expanse of land.

During the Great Adu wandering, he became thirsty and found a lake which he tried drinking from and found out it was salty and thereby bringing about the discovery of salt lake. The Great Adu was also a farmer and after planing and having a good harvest discovered the land was fertile. Due to the lake and the land fertility, he called the place "EBE URU" which means "Place of Prosperity" and as time goes on it became known as "UBURU".

The great Adu wives gave birth to fourteen sons who are now seen as thr main founders of Uburu and as such the villages were named after the children.

Some Cultures within Umunaga

There are many cultures within the people of Umunaga, while some are still in practice others have been silenced due to civilization.  One of the culture is the consulting of oracles before,during and after childbirth, in the eyes of outsiders, it is a strange thing but parents visit the oracle before childbirth to know if the child would be a blessing or a curse to them, during childbirth the father offers sacrifice for the safe delivery of the child to the gods and after childbirth the child is brought to be introduced to the gods and to enquirers if the child faith has changed or is altered.

Another culture worth mentioning is the use of Ogbo( this is the naming of a child after his/her immediate family or kin). In Umunaga, every child must have an Ogbo whose name the child also bears. Although,it is of no major cultural significance to the outside world it carries a large importancein Umunaga as they believe if one is named after a successful Ogbo the child would be successful.

The salt lake which has different stories of how it was discovered for example one story has it that it was found by two hunters who while hunting became thirsty and saw a lake and when they drank from it found out it was salty. Another story is of a single hunter who during his hunt saw the lake and being thirsty took a drink and was not satisfied because it was salty.the salt lake also has its cultural piece and in this it is said that only women are allowed to go into the lake to extract the salt quantities of the lake.

Another is that in it believed in Uburu that if a married woman commits  adultery and then cooks for her husband, the husband would die after eating the food.

Another of the cultural snippet concerns the death of ones parent, in Uburu it is expected that when one's father dies he is buried in a round structured building called an OBI which is built by the first son that is if the deceased doesn't have one already. Also where ever the deceased is buried, the property becomes the first sons own

Also if a mother dies, she’s supposed to be buried in the last Born’s room/house but when there is non and let me say the third child buries his mother in his house, the property automatically becomes the last child’s.

 

 






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