By Patricia Hoskins
Birmingham’s Nigerian Igbo community celebrate a festival called Iwaji during the month of August. Listen to members of the community talk about why keeping their cultural traditions alive is important to them.
Celebrating our culture
The Iwaji (New Yam Festival) is a traditional cultural annual event celebrated by Igbo Nigerians worldwide the festival is an opportunity for them to come together and share their culture and heritage. This ceremony has been celebrated for centuries and remains an important tradition in the lives of Igbo people.
Celebrating the yam
Celebrating the Yam
Yam is the main agricultural crop and also the staple food of the Igbo community. The New Yam Festival known as ‘Iwa-Ji’ or ‘Iri-Ji’ is a celebration depicting the significance of yam in the social-cultural life of Igbo people.
Mr Osita Chukwulobelu, ICAM Chairman
Carrying on our tradition
In Birmingham the cultural event now in it’s tenth year is organised by the Igbo Community Association in the Midlands (ICAM).
During a delicious buffet lunch of an array of traditional yam dishes at the home of ICAM Chairman, Mr Osita Chukwulobelu - members of the association talked about the significance of the Iwaji festival and Igbo cultural traditions.
Dr (Mrs) Chizo Agwu, ICAM Cultural Secretary explained: "The Iwaji festival is very important for the Igbo community. It’s really a thanksgiving harvest festival.
Nkechi, Nididiamaka, Chizo and Dorothy
"Back in the day the wealth of a Igbo man was judged by how much yams he grew. Here in Birmingham we celebrate by inviting all our friends, family and colleagues to a cultural event.
"It’s a cultural extravaganza for our whole community to come together."
"Mr Osita Chukwulobelu, ICAM Chairman adds: “We are carrying on with our tradition. The Igbo people are well known for carrying on their traditions wherever they are.
"We have Igbos across the UK but we always get together to ensure we celebrate our culture.”
Dr Chike Oduoza
Celebrating our culture
In a special interview with the BBC Birmingham website listen to Mr Osita Chukwulobelu talk about the significance of the yam festival and the Igbo community in the UK, Nkechi talks about the variety of ways the yam can be prepared and Dr Chike Oduoza talks about cultural roots of the Igbo community.
Celebrating Iwa-ji 2008 in Birmingham
The Igbos celebrate the new yam festival in a variety of ways - in some communities the festivities last a 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.
Iwaji 2005 in Birmingham
In the annual Iwaji ceremony event in Birmingham there’s a variety entertainment including a 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.
Iwaji 2008 in Birmingham takes place on Saturday 2nd of August 2008 at Mirage Banqueting and Hospitality Suites 11 - 29 Wordsworth Road,Small Heath, Birmingham, B10 0ED the events starts at 6pm.
For more information call tel no: (0)121 773 2007 of visit the ICAM website.
last updated: 06/08/2008 at 18:43