Ndikelionwu Marks colourful Ikeji Festival

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It was a carnival as usual in Ndikelionwu, Orumba North local government area last weekend as the town celebrated the 2019 edition of Ikeji festival.

Ikeji festival, Ndikelionwu
Ikeji festival

Ikeji, a very significant festival was celebrated amidst pumps and glamour at the heart of the Ndike town as it reminded youths and the vast indigenes of the town that Igbo culture and traditions still has prominent role to play for a peaceful co existence of communities.

An annual event that is celebrated for four market days among the famous Ndienyi communities (Aro communities) Comprising Ndikelionwu, Ndiowu, Ajalli, Ndiokpalaeze, Ndiokoro, Ndiukwuenu. 

Ogene newspaper gathered that the festival which is celebrated every third month of the year is an open door for indigenes to embark on a new farming for the year just as it has been right from the days of their fore-fathers known as Mme mme e ji aba n’ ubi (festival that precedes farming season.

In an interview with Ogene newspaper ,the Ezeogo Ndiwedo, Ezeogo Okereke said that Ikeji festival has been an age long festival that Ndienyi communities inherited from their fore-fathers. He said that the festival plays a vital role and is of a great importance to the indigenes as it helps to exhibit and promote the cultural heritage of the town.

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He said that ‘Ikeji’ means Aro exile’. For further clarification he said that Ikeji signifies ‘people that came from the famous Aro’ and settled in their present destination which is Ndikelionwu.

Ikeji festival
Ikeji festival

He further disclosed that Ikeji festival has been an avenue to tell indigenes that they can now go and start farming activities for the new year.
” Ikeji is celebrated once a year in our land that is, to mark the beginning of a new farming season. After this celebration, indigenes are now able to go to their various farms from the next day and resume their farming activities.

“Ikeji festival was inherited from our fore-fathers and has since been celebrated every year in the month of March. It is of a great importance to us  because it helps us to promote our culture as well as tell outsiders who we are, what we are and where we came from. Ikeji means ‘Aro exile’, that is people that came from Aro and settled here.

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“It is a very big celebration that we wait for every year which lasts for four days with various activity all being same among the Ndienyi communities.

During the festival,Friends and neighbours are usually invited to feast with us which makes Ikeji a colourful festival in Ndike”. 

Speaking about the dying Igbo Culture Ezeogo Ndiwedo blamed the situation on elders who he said fail in their responsibility of promoting the culture of their various villages. He said that every community in Igboland has what they are known for and should strive to promote it. 

Speaking to newsmen, an indigene who gave his name as Maazi  Pius Okeke Ndubaku noted that the Ikeji festival was hosted by one of their illustrious sons.

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His words: “one of our illustrious sons whom we call Okpuluisi made it a point of duty that the festival will be celebrated in a bigger way like this every year. We gather at our  field to celebrate with friends and neighbours from nearby villages and far. Foods and drinks are served to everyone present.

Ajofia masqurade from Nanka at the Ikeji festival
Ajofia masquerade from Nanka at the Ikeji festival

“The festival is a great source of joy to people of Ndikelionwu and one of the significance of the festival is joy and brotherly love. If there is no love , he would not have sponsored this great occasion. It’s a great event we look up to every year we call it mme mme e ji aba n’ubi (festival that precedes farming season).

Ikeji festival was also made colourful as it witnessed heavy presence of masquerades and various dancing groups as they took turns to entertain the dignitaries present at the occasion highlighting the huge cultural heritage.

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