Why So Important?

Igbo Culture has most definitely proven to be one of  the most potent and sustained throughout history. Despite the many characteristics that one could dispute (all of which make the traditions even more diverse), one can easily see that what stands out as being possibly the most captivating is none other than the food!

 Here are the major elements of the traditional Igbo Diet!

The Kola Nut

Considered one of the most crucial components of Igbo cuisine, the kola nut has been a symbol for unity and prosperity for generations. It is easily noticed how significant it is when constantly referred to in the famous novel, "Things Fall Apart" by Chinua Achebe, by the use of the phrase "the breaking of the Kola Nut" whenever their was a meeting between family, comrades, or even a wedding.

As it continues to be used in a great number of ceremonies, the Kola Nut has shown itself to be most certainly a symbol of the Igbo that cannot be forgotten in time. Its relevance through such gatherings also deems the Kola Nut something so important that everyone who attends must have even the slightest piece when broken. 


Speaking of "Things Fall Apart", yam is absolutely displayed as an enormously important part of Igbo cuisine. Historically, it has been a major point in the culture because of the story of its creation.

A wealthy man once had a son who had been sacrificed for his tribe. On his boy's body, a root began to sprout and from this root grew the famous yam. The same had happened with the man's daughter. From then on, the yams that grew from there flesh had been used to nourish the entire tribe. Thus making it as popular as it is today and why yam is celebrated in the New Yam Festival every year in Nigeria.

Among the spiritual reasons answering why yam is so significant, there are physical benefits of it as well. These include the fact that yam can withstand the perilous changes in seasons, and it can provide sustenance  for up to weeks as it can be preserved.

Some More About Yams

Because Yam is considered so sacred to the Igbo, there are numerous ways to prepare it...

A ton of ways!

Cassava... The Mother of All Crops

Although not mentioned to the extent of yam in "Thing Fall Apart", cassava is considered the second most crucial crop to the Igbo. The reason behind it's importance is becaue of it's similarity to the yam. Similarities that include its ability to be grown on less than fertile soil, and to withstand heavy raining seasons. This Brazillian native tuber has been used for a source of both protien and carbo-hydrates at the peak of major famine in Sub- Saharan Africa.
 Altogether giving it it's name "The mother of all crops!"

What Do the Igbo People Traditionally Drink?

Aside from the diverse amounts of food that deem a large portion of their culture, the Igbo also have established an equally important aspect of their custom. This of course, would be what drinks that they consume on a daily basis or on special occasions. Either way, they describe how firm a grasp they have on the people as a whole. 

Here are a some as examples;

Palm Wine

As the Kola Nut is crucial in identifying the unity and closeness of an Igbo community, palm wine is used as a symbol of relaxation and celebration. One will notice in the novel, especially in the beginning when introduced to Okonkwo's father (Unoka) as a character who was quite fond of palm wine considering the fact that he was usually drunk from it. 

Otherwise in the novel, Mr. Achebe describes palm wine as something the villagers drink leisurely, in their free-time, and when in large community gatherings such as weddings. 

How common the wine was throughout the village adds to the fact that the beverage is easily accessible to them due to it being made from the sap of simple palm trees such as the coconut palm.

More Modern?

If anybody is looking for an example of how the Igbo's culture has affected the modern world, one could turn their eye to the Kola Nut. This object has shown itself through several products that are used on a daily basis. The most obvious of which most likely can be seen from the name!

Pepsi cola and Coke-Cola are both drinks that are extremely popular in Nigeria but only have come to be that way from the use of the one and only Kola nut! Therefore showing that such a symbol not only affects the Igbos lives but ours as well because of how unknowingly fond we are of it.

It is plain to see...

Based on what has been explained so far, it is rather simple to see how the several factors tie into their lives from such a diverse standpoint as food. Unlike many cultures, the Igbo's take into account the background and origins of what they consume. In addition to this, they examine and observe their spritual connection to the food in order to show gratitude to what they believe in. Not only is this an aspect of the culture that seems quite courteous, but it is also one that is extremely influential. All of which makes their lifestyle even more


Works Cited

-Achebe, Chinua. "2." . New York: Anchor, 1994. N. pag. Print.

 -"How to Make Nigerian Meat Pie." wwwallnigerianrecipescom RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2016. <http://www.allnigerianrecipes.com/snacks/nigerian-meat-           pie.html>

 -"Igbo Net: The Igbo Network:: The Yam Festival Series:: Yam Festival in Igboland: The Origin of Yam:: Okechukwu Ikejiani, IgboNet Is the Gateway to IgboLand,           Africa." Igbo Net: The Igbo Network:: The Yam Festival Series:: Yam Festival in Igboland: The Origin of Yam:: Okechukwu Ikejiani, IgboNet Is the Gateway to IgboLand, Africa. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2016. <http://kaleidoscope.igbonet.com/culture/yamfestival/oikejiani.html>.

 -"Kola Nut." Kola Nut. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2016. <http://www.igboguide.org/HT-chapter8.htm>.

 -Korieh, Chima J. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2016.

 -"New Yam Festival." TheFreeDictionary.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2016. <http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/New+Yam+Festival>.

 -Okeke, E.c., H.n. Eneobong, A.o. Uzuegbunam, A.o. Ozioko, and H. Kuhnlein. "Igbo Traditional Food System: Documentation, Uses and Research Needs." Pakistan J. of Nutrition Pakistan Journal of Nutrition 7.2 (2008): 365-76. Web. 13 Apr. 16.

-"New Yam Festival." TheFreeDictionary.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2016. <http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/New+Yam+Festival>.

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igbo culture food

by guitargirl2323


Public - 4/10/16, 2:30 PM