August is symbolic and sacred month for Igbo. It is a season of harvest for farmers. And just as a pregnant woman is with expectation, so is Ndigbo whenever harvest season approaches.
Among the crops harvested, yam as a major crop is revered in Igbo land because it is the super cash crop that guarantees survival of not only the farmers but the people hence the reason it is celebrated above other crops annually.
This is how the “Iri ji” (New Yam festival) came about. The festival comes with funfair especially if the harvest is bountiful. Both Igbos at home and in the Diaspora never fail to celebrate the new yam festival which to them lays a solid foundation for next farming season with the hope to enjoy a flourishing planting season and a fruitful year ahead.
However, in commemoration of this year’s event, sons and daughters of Umuaguma village, Umuoma Nzerem in Ehime Mbano LGA of Imo State resident in Lagos rolled out drums to celebrate this year’s new yam festival in grand style.
The Iri ji festival which was anchored by one of their sons and a renowned comedian Nze Christian Nwokoro had prominent persons from the village, friends and well-wishers in attendance.
They include Nze Dickson Okafor and his wife Beatrice of the Editorial Desk of The Sun Publishing company Ltd, Mr. Brown Chimezie, Assistant Production Editor The Sun Publishing company Ltd, Mr. Uche Iroma, Mr. Simeon Adugbonye, Chairman/CEO Simto Group of Companies, Mr. Abuchi Ofoha, Mr. Kenneth Adugbonye and his wife Priscilla, Nze Ejike Wisdom Okafor, and Mr. Kenneth Eke, former Chairman, Umuoma Nzerem Progressive Union, Lagos Branch.
In his remark, the chairman of the occasion and Chairman/CEO Igor Logistics and Services Ltd, Nze Ikechukwu Okafor who was accompanied by his wife Amara thanked the guests for making out time to felicitate with their friends and colleagues from Umuaguma.
He said the new yam festival has not only united Igbo, it serves as strengthening cord of Igbo tradition and culture. According to him, the festival is a defining moment in the lives of Igbo farmers. He noted that Iri ji festival is a major event that has made Igbo enjoyed a stable bountiful harvest over the years because it is a means of appeasing the gods.
He said “ because of its importance, sons and daughters of Igbo resident at home and in the urban areas even those in the Diaspora join those in the rural areas to mark the event”