The Oru Owerri cultural festival commenced at the weekend and will last for 18 days. Some have erroneously referred to it as New Yam festival though it is celebrated with old yam.
At Oru Owerri, the rich cultural heritage of Owerri people in Imo State is usually showcased. The festival is defined by singing, dancing and merriment.
According to renowned historian and neurosurgeon, Dr. Phillip Njemanze, the history of Oru Owerri festival is intertwined with the history of Owerri.
Njemanze, who is the author of the book Igbo Mediators of Yahweh Culture of Life, presents the synopsis of the history of Owerri: Owerri is traditionally called Owerri nchi-ise (Owe eri na-echi isi, meaning, ‘the leaders from time immemorial, that crown the head’) is a classical example of the use of Igbo numerology writing. The name implied that Owerri leaders chose the King of Israel. King David (Di w edo – a man fair in complexion) was the first King of Owerri. King Solomon (Isi e lo ama ana – the head that thinks wisely for the land) was the second king of Owerri. The villages that comprise Owerri would derive their names from their roles in the crucifixion of Christ who was one of them but hailed from the Amawm (Igbo language: Ama owe m, meaning, ‘the settlement of my leader’, called the City of David in the Bible).
The Owerri nchi-ise villages include mrrnj (Igbo language: mrr nj, meaning, ‘those that conceived this transgression’); moyima (Igbo language: m e nye ama, meaning, ‘those who disclosed the information (where He was)’; meche (Igbo language: m e che, meaning, ‘those who were placed on guard’); md (Igbo language: m d, meaning, ‘those that offered the counsel’).
The people who revealed to the Roman authorities that Jesus was stirring up the Jews against their authority were called na-eji ibe a k, meaning, ‘tells on kinsmen [to the authorities]’. In the recent past, some people attempted to change their village name to remove the word ‘transgression’–nj, and substitute it for ‘good’–ma, but some of the people involved started dying mysteriously.
The village names remain the same to this day as a mark of penitential rites for their role in the death of Christ Jesus. Oru Owerri (Igbo language: Uru Oweri, meaning, ‘the sorrow of the leaders from time immemorial,’ it is called the Good Friday). The term ‘Good Friday’ was a mistranslation of the Igbo words: Orie ma, meaning, ‘the Day He was offered to God at the Temple’.
The festival takes place at Ugwu Ekewma Arugo (Igbo language: ugwu ekwe ma ar ogo – skull shrine of the abomination of the district; biblical Calvary).
The Orie day was the day of His (Jesus’) death as He was offered to Almighty God for our sins’. However, the Mesorite Jews translated the Igbo word ‘ma’, which also means ‘good’, and Orie day, which could be a Friday (in the Igbo four-day calendar: Orie; meaning ‘the day He was offered to Almighty God’; Hebrew: Yom Shishi (Hebrew: y m eshi ishii, meaning, ‘pray to me on the sixth day’) in the Gregorian Calendar, hence, they called it ‘Good Friday’.
The Oru Owerri Festival (correctly called Uru Oweri, meaning ‘the sorrow of the leaders from time immemorial’) is celebrated to this day with a meal of roasted yam (ahhji), you pour (kwaa) red oil from fresh spongy palm frond (mman elu) used as object forms for the subject expression in Igbo language: ahh e ji kwaa Mma n elu, meaning ‘the suffering which was used to wake the Eternal Goodness from above (Christ Jesus)’.
The breaking of the yam is performed by a dynastic king of the line of King David called nde na-eje ama ana eze (mistransliterated as Njemanze) who are nde ji isi eze or Ji isi sa (mistransliterated as sons of Jesse in the Bible). They are of the lineage of Eke-na-Okorie (Igbo language: e kee oko Orie – the regenerated men of God) who rose with Jesus Christ [Matthew 27:52-53] from the dead.
They were called the Maccabeans (Igbo language: nde e mee a kaa aka ebe Ose – people who were forced to bear witness to Almighty God) in the book of 2 Maccabees, put to death in 167 BC by Antiochus Epiphanes IV at Mbar (Igbo language: mba r – worship the idols here for the ‘people to survive’) in front of the Old Stadium. The so-called (incorrectly) New Yam festival elsewhere in Igboland is a replication of the Uru Owe eri, mistakenly called the Good Friday.
This can only be because it is a heavenly scripted event of Drama Divina by Almighty God. The period preceding the Uru Owerri Festival was marked by penitential rites of 21 days duration of the Lenten period of total abstinence from food, sex and any activities aside from prayers.
This took place at Okpukpe ikpe – Pennitential rites land presently called Okpukporokpe or Area K in New Owerri. The festivities at Ugwu Ekwema are followed by bbz (Igbo language: bb a z, meaning, ‘the killing that brought salvation’), which clears the path from Ugwu Ekwema to the burial place of Jesus at the Place of the Skull (Igbo language: ha okpokoro isi) presently at the St. Mulumba Catholic Church in the place of the St. Joseph Carmelite Monastery, on Golgota (Igbo language: ogologo out, meaning ‘long bank of the river), referring to River tamr (Igbo language: taa mmiri, meaning ‘blood and water came out).