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28 October 2014

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Iwa-ji (New Yam) Festival 2005

Celebrating Iwa-ji (New Yam) festival 2005

The Nigerian Igbo community in the West Midlands celebrated their annual Iwa-ji (New Yam) festival in a cultural extravaganza.

Iwa-ji - cultural dance

Organised by United Igbo and Friends West Midlands, the Iwa-ji annual event, now in it’s seventh year, was held at The Drum in Newtown, Birmingham on Saturday 6th August 2005.

The African spectacular event draws people from all over the United Kingdom, bringing communities together in celebration of an important calendar event for Igbo people all over world.

Iwa-ji 2005 celebrations in pictures

Take a look at pictures from the Iwa-ji festival 2005 celebrations at the Drum in Birmingham.

About Iwaji (the New Yam Festival) - written by Dr Chike F. Oduoza, United Igbo & Friends W.Mids, Cultural Secretary

The Igwe (King)

Yam is the main agricultural crop of the Igbos and also the staple food of our people. The New Yam Festival known as ‘Iwa-Ji’ or ‘Iri-Ji’ is a celebration depicting the prominence of yam in the social-cultural life of our people.

Giving God thanks

During the festival we thank God for the arrival of the new harvest of yams and perform traditional rites to declare the new yam fit for general consumption.

It presents the right conditions for all and sundry, family and friends to come together and demonstrate their commitment and solidarity to the local community

Celebrating Iwa-ji 2005

The Igbos celebrate the new yam festival in a variety of ways and in some communities the festivities last the whole day and in many places it may stretch up to one week or even more. Iwa-ji is therefore an important event in the calendar of Igbo people all over the world.

Igbo tradition

Harvesting of this crop typically happens around the month of August, which is the time to give thanks to God for the new yam and to celebrate the tasting of the yam.

The event also marks the end of an annual work cycle and the beginning of a new one. This ceremony has been celebrated for centuries and remains an important day in the lives of Igbo people.

Iwa-ji ceremony

Iwa-ji 2005 - Women's cultural dance

During the ceremony there is a lot of variety entertainment including performance of ceremonial rites by the Igwe (King), cultural dances by Igbo men, women and their children as well as a display of Igbo cultural activities in the form of contemporary shows, fashion parade, and feasting at a grand scale on a wide variety of food making up the menu of the Igbos.

There is a lot to eat and drink and attendance at the festival is from all over the United Kingdom and overseas.

United Igbo and Friends women's dance group on BBC Video Nation

Ngozi Obodefuna and Ifeyinwa Awakwenze talk on BBC Video Nation about African dance and the United Igbo and Friends W.Mids womens dance group.

Watch the video...

video Igbo women's dance group - BBC Video Nation >
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United Igbo & Friends W.Mids

Celebrating Iwa-ji 2005
Celebrating Iwa-ji 2005

The Igbos come from the eastern part of Nigeria in the West Coast of Africa and are one of the main Nigerian ethnic groups.

They occupy at least six out of the thirty six states in Nigeria today. The Igbo culture is rich and versatile and dates back many centuries.

The Igbo Community in Birmingham and the West Midlands has an estimated population of two thousand people.

United Igbo and friends West Midlands association is a community organisation of all the Igbo's resident in the West Midlands.

last updated: 18/08/05
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