Presentation on theme: "Rituals and Customs in the Village Sangwoo Nam. Background info The Igbo people had a very unique culture that included many uncommon customs for people."— Presentation transcript:
Background info The Igbo people had a very unique culture that included many uncommon customs for people outside of Africa. Things Fall Apart is an example of how the Igbo thrive in Umuofia, practicing ancient rituals and customs Throughout the book, Achebe shows the important rituals and customs of everyday life in Umuofia and of the important celebrations in life: birth, marriage, and death.
Customs The practice of sharing palm-wine and kola nuts is emphasized throughout the whole book and shows the peacefulness of the Igbo people the Igbo people are very peaceful and respectful example from the book: Unoka’s neighbor does not ask for the money he owes him directly or immediately, instead he shares a koala nut and prays to their gods&ancestors and talk casually before he asks Unoka to pay him back
Funerals Ezeudu is a great warrior and the funeral is a big deal. Large masses of people and many villagers playing instruments and firing guns come together. People with no titles are not allowed to be buried - they’re left in the Evil Forest to be taken by the spirits People who committed suicides (hang themselves) cannot be touched b/c it is an abomination for a man to take his own life, and an offense against the Earth. He is not to be buried by his clansmen
Comparison of Funerals Ezeudu vs Okonkwo EzeuduOkonkwo Ezeudu is a great warriorOkonkwo is a great warrior dies peacefully in his sleephangs himself on a tree limb took 3 of the highest titles took many titles, but none of the highest ones large mass of people, many villagers playing instruments and firing guns is brought down by the DC because his body is considered “evil”
Feast of the New Yam to give thanks to the earth goddess, Ani It takes place before the harvest All left over yams from the previous year are thrown away Cooking and serving tools thoroughly washed Relatives and guests are invited Week of Peace A week to honor the earth goddess with peace to make sure they have a good harvest It originated after an unusually large swarm of locust wiped out the crops of many tribes in Africa It was decided that they should take one week a year to pray for crops. Rituals
Ceremonies Marriages Although the ladies are sold, the father still meets the suitor and his family Exchange greeting and palm-oil - tradition and shows respect The father of the bride and groom decide the bride price by trading off a certain # sticks representing bags of cowries, until an agreeable price was set Uri - a ritual in which the suitor presents palm-oil to everyone in the bride’s family It is a woman's celebration, centering on the bride-to-be and her mother Villagers and Okonkwo’s wives help prepare the food for a great feast New in-laws exchange gifts and pay respects to the higher ranked men Gift-giving between the families are very generous Involves the whole community The palm-wine ceremony begins in the afternoon as soon as everyone gathers and begins to drink the first-delivered wine
Social Gatherings Wrestling match It takes place in the ilo - village green Drummers line the field Spectators are so excited that they must be held back Begins with matches between boys ages fifteen and sixteen Maduka, the son of Okonkwo's friend Obierika, wins one match within seconds
Social Gatherings II Ceremonial gathering to administer justice a.k.a. trial/court egwugwu - masked clansmen of high power act as ancestral spirits to hear cases and make decisions A case is brought to the spirits and both sides are heard example from the book: dispute between a man who had his wife taken away by her brothers Annual Worship of the Earth Goddess Masked clansmen acting as ancestral spirits To honor the earth entity Unmasking a spirit - equivalent to killing an ancestral spirit Punishment: egwugwu burn down the church
Quote 1 “Does the white man understand our custom about land?” “How can he when he does not even speak our tongue? But he says that our customs are bad; and our own brothers who have taken up his religion also say that our customs are bad. How do you think we can fight when our own brothers have turned against us? The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.”
Quote 1 analysis displays disapproval of the white man’s ignorant ways and their disrespect towards the Igbo culture is criticizing some of the clan members’ responses to the colonial presence
Quote 2 “Among the Igbo the art of conversation is regarded very highly, and proverbs are the palm-oil with which words are eaten.”
Quote 2 analysis To show politeness and sophistication, one talks learnedly in concise proverbs approach one’s intended topic only slowly and discreetly
Discussion question 1 Why do you think the colonists were so ignorant of the Igbo customs and traditions?
Possible answers They do not understand the Igbo language and so cannot understand the culture They do not know or think that the Igbo people have their own culture that is valued by the clan
Discussion Question 2 Put yourself in Nwoye’s shoes. Would you have converted to Christianity like Nwoye did in the book? Why?
Possible answers Yes, I would have changed to Christianity because it offered more acceptance and brotherhood than the Igbo culture No, I would have not changed because it would not be right to leave my ancestors’ customs and it would also anger my father (Okonkwo.)
Discussion question 3 Palm-oil and kola nuts are very common and important in society. Why do you think this is so?
Possible answers Palm oil and koala nuts are very common in Nigeria and have become part of the people’s lives. These two items can be found only in Africa and have become a luxury for the people.