Tag: culture

Kola Nut

The kola nut is the fruit of the kola tree, a genus (Cola) of trees that are native to the tropical rainforests of Africa. The caffeine-containing fruit of the tree is used as a flavouring ingredient in beverages, and is the origin of the term “cola”.

kola3The first taste is bitter, but it sweetens upon chewing. The nut can be boiled to extract the cola. Kola nut is known within the western world as an ingredient with soft drinks however it has incredible significance with Igboland.



The Kola Nut tradition is used for a variety of events, but it is a principal when welcoming guest to a village or house. Igbo elders believe that once the Kola nuts have been blessed with incantations (which can only be said in Igbo) then and only then will the visitors feel ensured that they are well and truly welcomes.kola-nutKOLA NUT CEREMONY

During a Kola Nut ceremony typically the host presents a plat with a number of kola nuts (ranging from 2-16) to the leader of the delegation. The leaser will then take the plate and show it to the elders (senior members of his entourage).

To acknowledge that he has seen the plate he briefly touches the plate with his right hand before passing it on (so on and so forth)kola 1When the plate is then return to the host he will take the plate to the visitors and would typically say

“Oji luo uno okwuo ebe osi bia” translated means “When the kola nut reaches home it will tell where it came from”

This proverb says that the visitor needs to show the kola nut to his people at home as proof of having visited this village.

Igbo vs Ibo

The Myth: Ibo= The People/The Tribe and Igbo= The Language

The Reality: Igbo refers to all Igbo people, Igbo Land, Igbo Culture and Igbo Language.

Correct Response:

  • I am an IGBO person
  • I speak the IGBO language
  • I am from IGBO land

Ibo is the Anglicized spelling using the English vocabulary. When Igboland was colonised by non-Igbo speakers the changed the spelling to help them understand the pronunciation. The practice of renaming was a common practice during colonisation which can still be witnessed within the names of popular Igbo towns and cities that became known for their colonised names and they never reverted back post-independence.

igbo alphabetIbo was finally replaced by Igbo as the modern and correct spelling in the early 70’s using the Igbo alphabet a, gb, ib etc…

Please note that some historical books especially those printed before the 70’s will refer to Igbo as Ibo. However the saying goes when you know better you do better.

Igbo Views On Marriage

In the eyes of the Igbo community marriage is not a matter for the man and woman alone; it concerns the close kin of both sides. Marriage arrangements are negotiated between the families of the prospective bride and groom. In other words when you are entering a marriage with an Igbo person you are also marrying their family and vice versa. With regard to the paternity of the wife’s children, they belong to the lineage of the husband. When a woman has children out of wedlock, however, they belong to her natal lineage, and not to that of the children’s father. This fact is very important to know when it comes to future marriages of offspring and who has rights to give them away.


A significant part of a young Igbo girl’s or a young Igbo man’s childhood training is geared toward their future roles in the family and as useful and responsible citizens. Women are fully involved in matchmaking and usually participate directly or indirectly in the actual negotiations of marital arrangements for their sons or their daughters, in cooperation with the male members of the families concerned. Women have powerful and active behind-the-scene roles in seeking out the girls they would like their sons to marry. The approval of the mother is vital because the young bride is generally expected to live with her mother-in-law and to serve her for the first few months of marriage, until the new couple can set up an independent household and farmland. Mothers always want the absolute best for their children so that is why it is always encouraged to develop a strong relationship with your in-laws.