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Significance Of Igue In Edo Culure

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By Ambrose O. Ekhosuehi {Last update 25/09/2017}

The most important signification of Igue in Edo Culture is the charitable sharing of foods, drinks, materials and entertainments of various dispositions or the disposition to think favourably of others and do them good especially in almsgiving of the Ewere lily of love and good fortune.

The signification of blessing the head and anointing, had the ancient desires of the Lord who Spoke “This month is to be the first month of the year for you, each man must choose either a Lamb or a young goat for his household. If his family is too small to eat a whole animal, he and his next door neighbour may share an animal, in proportion to the number of people and the amount that each person can eat”.
It was faith that made Moses established the commemoration of the pass over feast of honour, to commemorate the destroying angel passing over the houses of the Israelites, and ordered the blood of the animals to be sprinkled on the doors, so that the angel of death would not kill the first-sons of the Israelites (Heb. 11 v 28). Progressively, the head was anointed, as the tent had no door post; and the celebration became an Agape, or the Love of God for man.

Igue is an Agape feast and it is very unique to the ancient festivals as most religious feasts and festivals derived heavily from the scripture.

The Head of a family blesses his head, not merely for himself but for all his dependants. He blesses the dependant heads for their relationship is one of mutual interdependence.

The blessing of human head is a composite grouping by which the head of a family draws together his wife, wives, children and relatives under a jural authority of the Head of the family to bless the Head for achievements, for passing-over of a period of Life and then honour God for his mercy, “For six days you are to eat bread-yam dough, eman, prepared without yeast-evbarie and on the seventh day assemble to worship the Lord your God, and do no work on that day” (Number 28 V 16-25).

“You are free to kill and eat your animals wherever you Live. You may eat as many as the Lord gives you. all of you whether ritually clean or un-clean, may eat them, just as you would eat the meat of deer, or antelope, but you must not use their blood as food - guonguo, you must pour the blood out on the ground like water - (Deut. 12 v 15-16).

A vigil is kept with pomp and dances through-out the night and at dawn, children would go out into the woods with touch light of fire wood to castaway the dreaded evil spirit of Ubi, throwing the fireworks into the bush saying “Ubi rrie, we ere rrie” the rites are to cast out evil spirits and to fetch the good spirit of Ewere, singing and dancing that another year is dawn for the people. “Iselogbe evbo”. The Ewere lily is distributed to usher in the good tidings of great joy, fortune, peace and social harmony of great favour.

Ewere lily is a shrub of the Ivy specie, an evergreen plant that has a stem of straight stalk and a wide evergreen blade, resembling the true Ivy plant-Hedera Helix, and are very common in Edo land.
Children and youths after the night vigil at Igue cast away Ubi devils and collect bunches of Ewere good fortunes for distribution to every home, persons on the streets and on the highways wishing them prosperous new year, good luck for God blessings in all aspects of Life, asking every person to open the door for prosperity and Longivity, hence the song “Ewere dee, Kie n ewere” that is Ewere has come, open the door. The lily is often called Lucky Lily because it brings good Luck and good fortune.

While the distribution of the Lily is going on, the women prepare delicious, and sumptuous meals for the households, and share to all neighbours. At Igue, food and drinks are shared and eaten free from house to house with no restriction. It is also served to visitors and people who are not akin to the culture.

The signification of the culture is called “Igue Oyenrnwen” agape of rejoicing and continue throughout the day.

All persons have the right to participate in the celebration of Igue, either for the agape or in the presentation of the Ewere lily.

The bouquets of the Ewere lily are presented in a beautiful manner to the Great Benin Monarch during the Ugie Ewere ceremony and at the countryside of the Great Benin Kingdom, the bouquets are presented to the dukes or the community head in a gorgeous ceremony; accompanied with music and bounty to open the granary, calling for the storekeeper to open wide the storehouse, hence ‘Odibo ra kie aza’ for entertainments.

The Ewere lily in itself is an evergreen herb and for its sacredness brings good Luck, favour and good fortune. It is a nice compound flower in its characteristics as a charming lily. Lilies are the most successful members of the plant kingdom that show utmost endless variations on their life-cycle theme.

The signification of Igue in Edo Culture, is not only in the blessing of the Heads, the Agape or in the distribution of gifts but in the rich cultural heritage and attires that Igue portends, from the ancient culture of the Olden days people, the standard outlook of the environment, beads, necklace, anklets, wrist-lets, waistlets, bangles and the music that goes with them, which are still worthy of modern day’s culture.

Iselogbe! Ogbe a vbe dia ru!!

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