IGBO CULTURE AND IDENTITY: ROLE OF ANNUAL CULTURAL DANCES AND FESTIVALS

The first ever Ogho Cultural Dance by Umunjo Youth Association (UYA) of Uburuekwe, ISU LGA, Imo State, which was sponsored by Prof Apollos Nwauwa. Despite the torrential rainfall that defied all the self-acclaimed rainmakers, it was a huge success. The event attracted spectators, dancers, and “Egwudo” masquerades from neighboring towns.

Today, many cultural festivals in Igboland are fading away because of neglect resulting mainly from denunciation by some religious groups. Regrettably, many “new generation” churches have dismissed most Igbo cultural festivals as fetish, and have therefore ordered their congregations to abandon them. Once these cultural festivals die away, the church will invariably become the only gathering point and thus the only beneficiary. More members, more money for dishonest priests.

Clearly, this is an ingenious misrepresentation of Igbo traditional culture that must be reversed. Ndi-Igbo should be on guard not only to ensure that our culture and tradition, including the Ogho festival are sustained but also to provide our youth avenues for indigenous artistic and kinetic expression.

Evidently, this dance is quite alluring; the people love it; rain can’t disrupt it; and the people can’t get enough of it! Igbo culture and identity live on.

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