Nnewi Festivals

Post on 11 September 2015
by Anthony-Claret Onwutalobi

In Nnewi,  there are many festivals,  some of which are observable by a few sections only,  others are by the entire Nnewi public.  All jujus of great importance have important festivals which people observe in their names,  whilst others have at times mere offerings and sacrifices.  It is essential to note that not all public deities have festivals observed in their honour by all Nnewi people.  It is also essential to note that not all domestic juju have festivals not observed in their honour by the entire people.  Ndi ichie,  for example is a house juju,  but has a festival observable to it by all, whereas a public deity like Uzukpe has festivals observable only a section of the people. 

Some festivals are shared amongst many deities whilst others are a monopoly of others.  Ikwu Aru,  for example,  is observed primarily to Edo but other deities have still some share in it.  But a festival like Okuka meaning,  Superiority, is a monopoly of a single deity and that is Eze Mewi. 

Minus the festival of Ilo Mmo,  all other important ones are observable on Okwu days.  The fact that a good number of these festivals should fall on Okwu is not any matter of accident.  Very clearly,  the ancients realized the necessity of ensuring that on feast days,  people should move about safely.  This is so because okwu days are days when people are expected to refrain from all violence or acts that may occasion loss of life because those days are regarded holy particularly to Edo.

 Table of Festivals

   Feasts  Time when observable  To whom observable  By whom observable
1 Oghulu  Early January  Ufiojioku  Men (farmers)
2 Igu Aro  January or February - five native weeks after oghulu  Ukwu Enwe Uke Oba  Children
3 Ikwu Aru  January or February and , rarely March and April  Edo chiefly and other public deities nominally  Married people only
4 Izunata Mmo  March but at times April  Ndi Ichie only  Grown-ups (male)
5 Isi Ebili  April but at times May or June -seven native weeks after Onu  Edo chiefly and other public jujus nominally  Girls
6 Isi Oso  April but at times May or June  Different public deities  Girls
7 Ilili Umu Mmo Ji  June to July  Different public deities  Priests of public deities
8 Ika Mmo  July to August  Ndi Ichie only  Grown-ups (male)
9 Ilo Mmo  August but at times September  Ndi Ichie chiefly, and Ana and Izugbe to a small degree  Grown-ups
10 Afia Olu (New yam Festival)  August to September  Ufiojioku only  All
11 Okuka  September  Eze Mewi only Grown-ups chiefly
12 Ikpukpo  October  Different public deities  All
13 Ota  September to October to November  Different public deities  Grown-ups
14 Ofala  Ending of December between 27th, 28th,29th  For Igwe  All

 Dr. John Okonkwo Alutu , Nnewi History (From the Earliest Times to 1980/82) fourth Dimension publishers