FIRST IGEDE AGBA CELEBRATION EVER
Welcome to igedeonline.com, your number one reliable Igede online portal, where you have a total access to Igede news, music, culture, authentic historical documentation and latest gist. Today, we will be delving into a deeper clarification of the misconception surrounding the celebration of Igede Agba, by Igede people of Benue State. So, if you are looking for the authentic story of Igede Agba, how it is celebrated and how it started, you are in the right place.
MISCONCEPTION SURROUNDING IGEDE AGBA
So many people viewed Igede Agba from a very wrong perspective. Some say it is a festival set aside for the worship of idols, ‘akpang’, ‘achukwu’ etc. Others say it is evil. Some even say since yam, (the chief crop among the Igede people) has been attached to it, it is no longer pure for Christians to celebrate. I personally don’t blame the people who have these misconceptions, about the celebration of Igede Agba. I only blame them for settling for the false preaches from some religious extremists. Take it from me, any African tribe or nation without a culture, if well traced, might be slaves.
WHEN IGEDE AGBA WAS FIRST CELEBRATED
The first edition of the Igede Agba festival was celebrated on the first Ihigile market, which was the 3rd September 1957. Before I move further, be informed that, it is celebrated on every first Ihigile market day of every September of the year. The Ihigile might fall on any day between 1st and 5th of the Month. The festival which was originally called ‘Igede Day’ (as used in Igede Agba song by Befelow Yukay), was formed by the defunct Igede Youth Association (IYA). The formation was done under the leadership of the foremost Igede leaders like Amb. Ogah Okwoche, Pa. Eje Iyanya, Chief Ikande Idikwu, HRH A.A Okpabi and others.
REASON FOR THE CREATION OF IGEDE AGBA
Let us briefly talk about “Igede Youths Association (IYA)”. It was the then renowned Igede youth body who foresighted the need to have such celebration among their people. This group introduced the Igede Day to thank the goodness of God for a good harvest and the beginning of the planting season. This is because the major preoccupation of the Igede people is the cultivation of food crops such as yams, cassava, groundnut/peanut, millet, rice and yam; being their chief crop. The size of an Igede man’s yam farm is a manifestation of his wealth and a widely acclaimed farmer in Igede is called an ‘Ogreji’.
HOW IT IS CELEBRATED
Having told you the origin, let us go into how it is celebrated. Igede are very organized people. They believe so much in purity and orderliness. It is a well known fact that Africans worship different gods before the coming of Christianity. Because of these gods they worship, they have the dos and the don’ts of the land, as prescribed by the Chief priests (the same thing Bible and the pastors do today). It is agreed that nobody eats the chief crop until it’s the day to celebrate ‘Igede Day’. So, everyone obeys this rule because Igede are law-abiding people. Every Hamlet clears and cleans their environment in readiness for the celebration. When the first Ihigile market comes, all of them bring out their chief crop; yam and Celebration starts. The head of the house (aidepwa) provides as many as possible yams, live goat, fowls etc and give to the woman of the house (inepwa) and she distributes to the rests of the wives (in extended families). Cooking starts immediately. The men sit round exchanging pleasantries and banters as they sip palm wine (imwu) and Millet wine (oburukutu) while all the women gather in the kitchen and do theirs there.
There is also an order in which the food is served. The elders and all the male children sit in one dinning table (epwedii) while all the female children join their mother. After the merriment, the eldest tells them stories, folktales and histories. They will all move to the village square in the evening, where masquerades (ikwumwu) and different talented drummers display their talent and the people celebrate them.
Igede Agba is as old as Igede itself. Igede Agba festival is a special period for praising God, it celebrates hard work and dignity of labor. Moral values such as honesty, goodness, social justice as well as respect for the culture of the people, are celebrated. The young ones are advised and mentored during this period. Travelers return home, their plans are revealed and the elders among them advise them.
“Igede Agba celebration is an extraordinary period for adulating God, it celebrates difficult work and poise of work” Virtues like genuineness, godliness, integrity, hardworking and social equity are celebrated, as well. This time, some illustrious sons return to the land and execute great projects for their people.
So, Igede Agba is not a fetish new yam festival as wrongly viewed by some people. It is purely a thanksgiving day and a celebration of al’Igede across the globe.
In summary, during Igede Agba, the people’s activities include eating of pounded yam, cultural music, dancing, visiting of relations and other forms of cultural displays. The occasion also witnesses the drinking of pamlm wine (imwu), locally brewed drinks from millet and guinea corn called Apio, Oburukutu, Ogbete, Ogene, and others with different alcoholic content.
I believe this article “Igede History: How Igede Agba Started in 1957” has been able to elucidate the real celebration of Igede Agba and not the celebration of deity as you were told it is. My prayer for all Igede People both home and abroad this time is that, may this year’s agba celebration bring peace and progress to Igede land. Especially now that war has been waged against the people, we pray that God brings unity and understanding to the land and it’s environs. Amen!
Source: Igede voice, Igede Traditional and Paradox of Modernism by Comr Egbodo Benson Akpegi, Agbaclassicmedia.com
I am your passionate Igede ambassador, Ukenya Ogbaji, popularly known as Befelow Mr Yukay. You can use the comment section below to air out your views about the article or add anything you feel was omitted.
Igede Ihyoo! Igede Ka Kilahi piyoo!