The Origin and culture of Okpara Water Side in Ethiope East Local Government Area of Delta State

The Origin and culture of Okpara Water Side in Ethiope East Local Government Area of Delta State

 

 


 

The Origin and culture of Okpara Water Side in Ethiope East Local Government Area of Delta State.

Okpara Water Side is village located in Ethiope East local government area of Delta state Nigeria.
The name Okpara was given to the community because of the fact it was the name of the first son of  Agbon. Agbon gave birth to four sons, namely: Okpara, Kokori, Ovu and Oviore. Okpara being the eldest was named after my community. Though, the other siblings were also named after the communities they founded.
My grandfather of blessed memory told us bit by bit the story of our community, how influential the community was in the past and its contribution to the whole local government. The first son (Okpara ) had two communities, namely: Okpara Inland and Okpara Water side.

After the Urhobo decided to part ways with the Bini( Edos). They migrated to the present location which is now Delta state and they pitched their tent in the East of River Ethiope. The Urhobos were with the Bini before but there altitude became unbearable and the Urhobos could not bear it and left to be on their own.
After the departure, the Urhobos decided to settle down on the location which can be termed as Wado city in the present Delta central.

The Okparas’ were vast with rich culture ranging from their ways of life, dressing,food, music, houses, festival , traditions. Their mode of dressing are quite unique because it is same for all the Urhobo.The male dress in wrapper and  native shirt with cap and walking stick to fix it up while the female uses wrapper(pair) one which is longer than the other with a blouse as well as head tie to accomplish the dressing.

On the our food, the Urhobos’ have varieties of food ranging from banga soup(  a soup made from palm fruit tree), ohwo soup( made using palm oil from palm fruit), iriboto(also known as pepper with spiceis), Okodo(porridge) and many others. These food are our delicacies and also form our culture.

Their abode were originally mould houses not with thatched roof but corrugated sheet because Okpara water side the first to trade with the Portuguese since the situated to River Ethiope. That gave the opportunity to have access to trade by barter by exchanging their farm produce with the goods brought by them. My grandpa made us known that the Portuguese intention was for slave trade but they saw that the Okpara community, in fact, the Urhobos were against it instead they in trade by barter( a system where goods were exchange for goods since there was no money then)

On the festivals, there are numerous festival some are held annually,once in every  five years and another once in ten years. These festivals symbolize Okpara community,the Agbon clan and the Urhobo Nation respectively.  The annual festival is the one held specifically by the Okpara water and Okpara Inland because this was founded by the first son of Agbon while the other siblings also celebrate their annual but with different date and month. In addition, the other festival  that usually holds once in every five is referred to as Okugbe Re Agbon( It simply means the Unity of the Agbon Kingdom)This festival usually last market day in the month of August of every five years. This festival is done to show the unity and togetherness of the Agbon children. The festival that holds once in every ten years is for the Urhobos Nation and it is celebrated on the 27th of December. This called Ovrabo Festival which simply means librated.

Their traditions include, ancestors worshippers, oloku(gods and goddess worshippers). But the presence of the missionaries has made so many the people now become Christians.

The economic activities in the community include farming, fishing and trading. It was the first commercial centre where the ships first berthed by the Portuguese before the civil war in 1967.Farming activities include cultivation of crops, rearing of livestock, hunting of animals as well as fishing while trading involving buying and selling of raw or processed farm produced. Our community is also a centre for tourism with rich tourist places. For instance, the king place, the source of River Ethiope, The Okpa Cultural centre and many others place of interest too numerous to mention.

According to my grandpa, the Okpara community was the first to embraced western education before other community. Okpara water side which is a part of Agbon Kingdom produced the first traditional ruler called the Ovie of Agbon clan. The kingship there is a rotational type.

In conclusion, Okpara Water Side is place of fascinating interest with rich culture and economic prosperity.

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