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Mbaise Celebrates New Yam Festival Unusually

…As Eze Okoro Celebrates Alone
By Dike Philip
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Saturday, August 25th was earmarked as the official date for the yearly celebration of “Iri Ji Mbaise” which is a popularly celebrated culture in Igbo land that refers to the eating of the new yam.

This festival is held across Igbo land and extends to some other ethnic groups with similar cultures.

The celebration serves as a mark of introduction of the new yam and it involves a whole lot of festivity and cultural display.

At a typical new yam celebration, one did witness different well prepared delicacies made from yam, masquerade parade, and a whole lot of other jolly activities.

But this year’s “Iri Ji Mbaise” may have been marred by the hocus pocus of politicians from the area especially as it concerns the last general elections.

The “Iri Ji Mbaise” is usually held at a chosen location or village as the case be and jointly eaten by the villages that make the Mbaise nation.

But against normal tradition, the traditional custodians of Mbaise culture decided that the land had been desecrated following the events of the last festival in 2014 and therefore decided it needed cleansing.

Ndi Eze Mbaise, Ndi Ezeji and Ndi Ezurezu Mbaise were of the view that politicians desecrated the land and it was yet to be cleansed as custom required and as such could not perform the festival.

However, Eze Chidubem Okoro decided to go ahead with a semi elaborate festival that eneded up being a disappointment as turnout was low.

It is important to note therefore that out of over 90 Traditional rulers in Mbaise, only four attended.

The event has been described as a total mirage called and a badly managed celebration.

It was also gathered that all our traditional music dancers ranging from the Abigbo Chokoneze Mbaise, Abigbo Oboma Nguru, Ekpe Dance, and others shunned the event.

The governor who was supposed to be the Special guest of the day avoided the event but sent his deputy, who arrived the venue late, to stand in for him.

Most communities and families heeded the advice of their traditional custodians and celebrated their “Iri Ji” in their homes.