Nigeria: Culture and Customs
Created by:
Andrew Tolly
Talon Davis
Corie Melaugh
Foods and Festivals!
Mmuo Festival
 Masks and Masquerades known
in Igbo language as "Mmanwu
na Mmuo"
Mmuo are the spirits of the dead
persons of a town. These spirits
are classified into good & evil
ones. The good spirits are placed
in a hierarchy as follows: the
spirit of ALL Ozo titled men,
which are regarded as the
Collective Royal Ancestors called
Ndi Ndushi, these are great
ancestors.
 (http://www.oraifite.com/masksand-masquerades)
http://www.ecs.umass.edu/ece/wireles
s/people/awduche/images/agbogb
o_mmuo.jpeg
http://www.oraifite.com/images/masks-dancersafia-olu.jpg
http://www.clarku.edu/~jborgatt/igbo9.
jpg
“’Look at this,’ Papa-Nnukwu said. ‘This is a woman
spirit, and the women mmuo are harmless…’ The
mmuo he pointed to was small; its carved wooden
face had angular, pretty features and rouged lips.”
Pg. 85
For the children lucky enough to afford it, their parents would take
them off to a private Catholic school. Others attended a local public
school. Catholic schools were extremely strict and required a uniform
be worn. When it came to play time after school was let out, however
shorts became the standard issue clothing.
“I was at my study desk when Mama came into my room, my school
uniforms piled on the crook of her arm.” pg 19
“Obiora took off a dark pair of sunglasses and slipped them in the
pockets of his shoes as they came in.” pg 116
http://www.natcf.org/minpics/Nigerian%20children.jpg
http://www.globalgateway.org/images/Will%20young%20people%20afri
can%20schoolkids.JPG
Rice
http://www.shebafoods.com/images/
jollofbg.jpg
“’Let me see if my jollof rice is
burning!’ Aunty Ifeoma dashed into
the kitchen.” pg 114
Rice is grown locally and imported. It is
very popular everywhere as it can
be easily prepared and consumed with
soup and vegetables. Like the other
staples, it is put to various uses, for
example, rice porridge and rice tuwo, a
sort of dumpling. Jollof rice, a
combination of rice and sauce, is the
most
popular ceremonial meal.
Falola, Toyin. Culture & Customs of Nigeria.
Westport, CT, USA: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated,
2000. p 100.
http://site.ebrary.com/lib/dulaneybrowne/Doc?id=10017928&ppg
=132
Copyright © 2000. Greenwood Publishing Group,
Incorporated. All rights reserved.
Fruits are abundant,
notably oranges,
pineapples, papayas,
bananas, guavas,
and sugar cane. By and
large, they are eaten raw
and as snacks, not as
fruit juices.
Falola, Toyin. Culture & Customs of Nigeria.
Westport, CT, USA: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated,
2000. p 100.
http://site.ebrary.com/lib/dulaneybrowne/Doc?id=10017928&ppg
=132
http://www.wingettphotography.
com/Summer2004/Antigua/ima
ges/Banana_Tree_2543.jpg
Copyright © 2000. Greenwood Publishing Group,
Incorporated. All rights reserved.
The soup (also called stew or sauce),
with or without vegetables, goes with
many meals that include rice, yam, and a
host of carbohydrates such as eba, fufu,
and iyan. Most people drink water with
their meals instead of other beverages,
although it is becoming more common to
see the urban elite eat a heavy
lunch or dinner with a bottle of cold beer
or soda.
http://murphysplacedallas.com/images/Edikani
kon_Fufu(Pounded%20Yam).jpg
“A ball of fu fu slipped from my fingers
into the soup.” pg 13
“The soup was thick with chunks of
boiled beef and dried fish and dark
green onugbu leaves.” pg 12
Falola, Toyin. Culture & Customs of
Nigeria.
Westport, CT, USA: Greenwood
Publishing Group, Incorporated, 2000. p
97.
http://site.ebrary.com/lib/dulaneybrowne/
Doc?id=10017928&ppg=129
Copyright © 2000. Greenwood
Publishing Group, Incorporated. All
rights reserved.
Akara
(Blackeyed Pea Cakes)
2 cups dried blackeyed peas
1 medium onion
1/2 tsp. red pepper or Tabasco to taste
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. salt
Oil to deep fry
Soak peas 30 minutes or longer, then rub briskly to remove skins (Some people don’t remove the skins, but all Nigerian
cooks would). Grind peas in blender with just enough water for the blender to operate smoothly. Grind onion and pepper. Add
to the pea mixture with egg and seasoning. Mix thoroughly and drop by teaspoon into
hot oil. Fry until golden. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Tastes best while hot. Makes an excellent hors d’oevres
or side with meal.
Submitted by Lou Daniel
http://www.wfeca.net/clfonline/May04/recipe.html
Yams
http://food.oregonstate.edu/images/fruitveg/yam/yam3.jp
Some other
traditional favorite
foods mentioned
in the book
include Akara,
Yams and Suya.
Suya
http://photocom.gozaru.jp/gallery2004/pages/011suya.html
Literature and Language
Effects of Literacy
 “Let me play with the whiteman’s ways. Let me work with the blackman’s
brains” -Denis Osadebey, 1951
 -The Arrival of the English Language and Western Education in Nigeria in
the past half century has led to its exploitation by the writers of the country.
 -Said exploitation, while not necessarily negative, has given Nigerians, and
all Africans for that matter, a voice in a world that they rapidly fell out of sorts
with, given their lack of technological and political progress.
 -In an interesting contrast to the overt Christianity expressed throughout the
book, the presence of Islam throughout Nigeria has promoted a great deal
of writing, and enterprises in education.
Falola, Toyin. Culture & Customs of Nigeria.
Westport, CT, USA: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated, 2000. p 140.
http://site.ebrary.com/lib/dulaneybrowne/Doc?id=10017928&ppg=172
Literacy (cont.)

Developments among the Igbo parallel that among the Yoruba, although
with a somewhat slower beginning.

Efforts to create an acceptable written form of the Igbo language began in
the second half of the nineteenth century,but it was not until 1933 that the
first major work, Omenuko, was published.

Written by Pita Nwana, the book dominated the market for almost thirty
years and was widely read as a morality story.

In the 1960s, the Varsity Press at Onitsha released Leopold Bell-Gam’s Ije
Odumodu Jere and D. N. Achara’s Ala Bingo, both important works, but not
as successful as Omenuko.
Falola, Toyin. Culture & Customs of Nigeria.
Westport, CT, USA: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated, 2000. p 61.
http://site.ebrary.com/lib/dulaneybrowne/Doc?id=10017928&ppg=79
Igbo In-depth
 Igbo is one of the four official languages of Nigeria and is a
member of the Niger-Congo family of languages. It is spoken by
about 18 million people in Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea.
 G. C. A. Oldendorp, a German missionary, was the first person to
produce a book containing material written in Igbo, which
consisted of a few words and phrases.
 There are numerous Igbo dialects. The standard written form of
Igbo is based on the Owerri and Umuahia dialects and has been in
use since 1962.
 It is a tonal language, based both on normal speaking and varying
pitch levels, both high and low.
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/igbo.htm
Modern Igbo History

The British colonizers withdrew from Nigerian territory in 1960, after arbitrarily imposing
national boundaries that pushed together three large and numerous smaller ethnic
groups, each with its own ancient customs, traditions, languages and clannish loyalties.

There followed an outmigration of Igbo from the crowded southeast into the more
sparsely populated Muslim north. Generally, the Igbo had embraced western education
while the northerners (Hausa-Fulani) had resisted it.

Following the Biafrin War (1967-70), amongst competing factions of Nigerian citizens
and government bodies, the Igbo in the North (already hated by rival tribe members)
relocated back to the southeast portion of Nigeria.

The sorry post-war conditions in Nigeria led to a significant diaspora that continues to
this day.

1961: A committee, with the help of the Society for Promoting Igbo Language and
Culture (SPILC), established a new orthography for the Igbo language, ending a 32
year controversy.
http://www.columbia.edu/itc/mealac/pritchett/00fwp/igbo/whoare.html
History (cont.)

1961: A committee, with the help of the Society for Promoting Igbo Language and
Culture (SPILC), established a new orthography for the Igbo language, ending a 32
year controversy.

1968: Two significant Igbo reference texts are published: Igbo, a Learner’s Manual and
Igbo, a Learner’s Dictionary, both meant for U.S. Peace Corps members coming to
provide aid in Igboland.

1972: The SPILC establishes a Standardization Committee meant to continually
change and monitor the various dialects spoken throughout Igboland, attempting the
nearly impossible task or creating uniformity.

1974-78: Various universities in Igboland establish departments devoted entirely to the
studies of Igbo Language and Culture.

1999: Prominent Igbo speaker Chinua Achebe denounces the SPILC’s attempts at
standardization, saying it is representative of the oppressive rule of the British who
once controlled their land.
http://www.columbia.edu/itc/mealac/pritchett/00fwp/igbo/whoare.html
QuickTime™ and a
TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor
are needed to see this picture.
Igbo
Bands
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are needed to see this picture.
http://mccoy.lib.siu.edu/jmccall/jones/misc.html
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Igbo Music
 Udu - Pottery Drum
 Igba - Cylinder Drum
 Ekwe or Ufie - Slit-Drum
 Ogene - Gongs
 Oja - Flute
Traditional
Igbo Instruments
QuickTime™ and a
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Igba
Oja
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are needed to see this picture.
http://www.umunna.org/instruments.htm?userid=Givesmart&userip=66.210.186.171&useragent=Mozilla%2f5.0+
(Macintosh%3b+U%3b+Intel+Mac+OS+X%3b+en)+AppleWebKit%2f419+(KHTML%2c+like+Gecko)+Safari%2f419.3
Ogene - Gongs
 One of the most important metal
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instruments used by the Igbo
 Used to be made of Bronze, now
made of any common metal
available.
 It is played by hitting the rim with a
stick to produce different tones.
http://www.umunna.org/instruments.htm?userid=Givesmart&userip=66.210.186.171&useragent=Mozilla%2f5.0+
(Macintosh%3b+U%3b+Intel+Mac+OS+X%3b+en)+AppleWebKit%2f419+(KHTML%2c+like+Gecko)+Safari%2f419.3
QuickTime™ and a
TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor
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Igbo Drumming
http://mainearts.maine.gov/news/publications/
wc_booklet/discovery.shtml
Traditional Igbo Instrument
that is used today in
Modern Western Culture
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This is what a common Udu looks like.
It is played by placing one hand over the
open hole in the side and hitting the
body with the other hand.
http://www.answers.com/topic/udu-1
Ekwe - Slit Drum
QuickTime™ and a
TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor
are needed to see this picture.
This is made by hollowing out a
tree stump into two chambers that
are connected by a slit in the drum.
It is played by banging on it with
sticks
http://www.umunna.org/instruments.htm?userid=Givesmart&userip=66.210.186.171&useragent=Mozilla%2f5.0+
(Macintosh%3b+U%3b+Intel+Mac+OS+X%3b+en)+AppleWebKit%2f419+(KHTML%2c+like+Gecko)+Safari%2f419.3
Ufie - Slit Drum
QuickTime™ and a
TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor
are needed to see this picture.
QuickTime™ and a
TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor
are needed to see this picture.
QuickTime™ and a
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http://www.hamillgallery.com/DRUMS/DrumsMisc/
AnimalDrum01.html
Court Music
The more traditional Igbo continue to use Royal traditions
such as using the Ufie, or slit drum, to wake the Chief,
call him to meals, and communicate important village
happenings to him.
http://www.nigeria-planet.com/Nigerian-Music.html
Igbo Dancing and Music
http://youtube.com/watch?v=sIP
Dp48bZEA
http://www.okafordavid.com/music
/nkwa_group/idighi_ajo_njo.mp3
Modern Recordings
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www.amazon.com/music
Ollie Gee
 Oliver Okolo, High Life
QuickTime™ and a
TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor
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Reggae King
 #1 selling CD in Nigeria
 International Hit:
“Daddy Moh”
http://www.nlnshop.com/artist/ollie_gee.html
Modern Igbo Duo:
RESONANCE
Music Video
http://youtube.com/watch?v=
XvNEiIJ8S3Y&mode=related&search=
Bibliography

Adichie, Chimamanda N. Purple Hibiscus. 1st ed. New York: Anchor Books, 2003. 9-116.

"Akara." Current Light Flashes. 2001. 24 Apr. 2007 West Florida Electric Cooperative.
<http://www.wfeca.net/clfonline/May04/recipe.html>.

"Antigua Vacation." 2004. Wingett Photography. 24 Apr. 2007
<http://www.wingettphotography.com/Summer2004/Antigua/images/Banana_Tree_2543.jpg>.

Borgatti, Jean M. "JEAN M. BORGATTI." Clark University. 2007. 24 Apr. 2007
<http://www.clarku.edu/~jborgatt/igbo9.jpg>.

"Igbo." Ethnologue. 22 Apr. 2007 <http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=ibo>.

"Igbo." Omniglot. 20 Apr. 2007 <http://www.omniglot.com/writing/igbo.htm>.

"Index of /ece/wireless/people/awduche/images." www.ecs.umass.edu. 24 Apr. 2007
<http://www.ecs.umass.edu/ece/wireless/people/awduche/images?D=D>.

"Index of /Img." 2001. 24 Apr. 2007 <http://food.oregonstate.edu/images/fruitveg/yam/yam3.jpg>.



Falola, Toyin. Culture & Customs of Nigeria.
Westport, CT, USA: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated, 2000. p 100.
http://site.ebrary.com/lib/dulaneybrowne/Doc?id=10017928&ppg=132

Copyright © 2000. Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated. All rights reserved.
Bibliography, (cont.)




Falola, Toyin. Culture & Customs of Nigeria.
Westport, CT, USA: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated, 2000. p 97.
http://site.ebrary.com/lib/dulaneybrowne/Doc?id=10017928&ppg=129

Copyright © 2000. Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated. All rights reserved.

"Masks and Masquerades of Oraifite Igbo Land." Oraifite. 2007. SamSCO Networks Limited. 24 Apr. 2007
<http://www.oraifite.com/images/masks-dancers-afia-olu.jpg>.

"Masks and Masquerades of Oraifite Igbo Land." Oraifite. 2007. SamSCO Networks Limited. 24 Apr. 2007
<http://www.oraifite.com/masks-and-masquerades>.

"Murphy's Place Dallas." 24 Apr. 2007
<http://murphysplacedallas.com/images/Edikanikon_Fufu(Pounded%20Yam).jpg>.

PhotoCom. 28 Oct. 2004. 24 Apr. 2007 <http://photocom.gozaru.jp/gallery2004/pages/011suya.html>.
"Pictures." National Community Foundation. 24 Apr. 2007
<http://www.natcf.org/minpics/Nigerian%20children.jpg>.

"Reuters." Yahoo! News. 24 Apr. 2007 <http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/rids/20070419/i/r1167656309.jpg>.

Sheba Foods. 24 Apr. 2007 <http://www.shebafoods.com/images/jollofbg.jpg>.

"Who are the Igbo?" About the Igbo Language. 2003. 23 Apr. 2007
<http://www.columbia.edu/itc/mealac/pritchett/00fwp/igbo/whoare.html>.

"Young People's Zone." Global Gateway. 2007. 24 Apr. 2007
<http://www.globalgateway.org/images/Will%20young%20people%20african%20schoolkids.JPG>.
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Nigeria: Culture and Customs