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Invaluable Nigerian traditions in practise

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By Mercy Kelani

Preservation of the cultural heritage of Nigerian tribes is upheld.

Nigeria has many traditions that are still practiced, they include traditional healings, ancestral worship, indigenous festivals and many others. They are considered as ancient traditions in Nigeria. Despite the persuading introduction of western Religion, customs and language which could have threatened the existence and conservation of the traditional indigenous cultures, many ancient traditional practices still survive and are practiced today. Ancestral worship is one of the longest existing traditions in Nigeria; a Culture that honours communication with the ancestors through prayers, rituals and offerings.

It is a practice that centres on the belief through which individuals pray for blessings, guidance and revenge over enemies through prayers or Ritual from their ancestors. Currently, despite the strong development of western religion, Islam and Christianity, Nigerian traditions still exist and are practiced by traditionalists. Ways of ancestral worships like spiritual practices and Divination which has to do with engaging in studying patterns, casting cowries and bones or seeking oracles are still popular in diverse cultures in the county.

Herbal and physical healing is practiced in rural areas.

In Nigeria, different tribes and cultures still practice the ancient traditional healing methods which are plant-based medicines (roots and tuber), herbal remedies, and spiritual consultation to promote the well-being of man. Many rural areas in Nigerian communities ensure that traditional healers are highly positioned as important and influential persons as a result of their intercession for the people spiritually, and not only through herbal and physical healing. The healers who are also known as herbalists have wide knowledge of local plants and their medicinal characteristics, which is then combined with their understanding in modern Medicine.

Different ethnic groups in Nigeria have achieved preservation of their cultural music, dances and attires, making them valuable in modern times. Evidently, the practice of the traditions are seen in contemporary schools by the children who wear their cultural attires as prestige to their traditions during cultural days. The traditional wears, Iro and buba and agbada, are popularly worn by Yoruba women and men, respectively, in the south-western region. While the babban riga worn by men and abayas for the women are common in the Hausa-Fulani community as their cultural attire.

There are various festivals celebrated in the country.

The George wrapper and its red beads complement are Igbo cultural outfits. Also, cultural dance and music are equally popular cultural elements alongside the attires among all tribes and traditions. For example, talking drums “Ilu” are known as Yoruba community cultural elements, while melodies, chants and dances of the “Mmanwu” and “Ekpe” masquerades are for the Igbo people. Importantly, there are more existing cultural elements in many traditions and tribes across the Nigerian community.

Through many Nigerian cultural festivals, different Nigerian traditions come alive, representing the cultural tribal heritage in the country. Observations on these festivals have been on for centuries, creating healthy relationships between communities and a festive mood through artistic performances of their traditions. The Olojo festival in Ile-Ife and the Durbar festival in Kano are few of the cultural activities which are celebrated yearly. Various Igbo communities celebrate New Yam Festival (Iwa Ji), Kebbi State celebrates Argungu Fishing Festival, while Eyo Festival is celebrated in Lagos State with costumed masquerades by the Yorubas.

Asides beautification purposes, crafts express symbolic meanings.

Crafts and art like pottery, beadwork, weaving, painting, carving and sculpture are made by traditional Artisans in the country, and are carefully used to preserve Cultural Heritage through their usage. The crafts are used to express symbolic meanings and historical events which often represent beliefs apart from its beautification purpose. Some of these art works are celebrated in Nigeria for their craftsmanship such as the renowned woodcarvings made in Benin, Oyo, Osogbo and Akwa-Ibom. They are known to ensure reflection of life and preservation of cultural heritage.


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