Esan Culture

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Esanland is a land of rich cultural heritage which can be manifested in various behavioral patterns. For instance, before the advent of Western civilization, the women used to and still produce woven cloth. A particular type of this is called “lgbulu” in Esan language. Rectangular in shape with two opposite fringes terminating in loose threads, lgbulu is wrapped under and across the right armpit and folded on the left shoulder. The lgbuluu is the traditional dress of the Esan male adult worn on occasions like marriage ceremonies, anniversaries of important events, festivals and courtesy calls on important people. lgbulu has continued to withstand the relentless onslaught of modern fabrics from the numerous textile mills across the country. Today, the kind gesture and sentimental expression of goodwill of the people is manifested in the presentation of the lgbuu to visiting dignitaries as souvenirs.

An aspect of the culture of the people of Esanland is that which recognizes the conferment of chieftaincy titles on deserving people. The traditional ruler of the clan is vested with the responsibility or prerogative of identifying and conferring on such people appropriate chieftaincy titles as a reward for their contributions to the socio-economic development of the area. On such occasion, the recipient, clad in large white wrapper and bedecked with beads, dances, in the midst of members of his family, friends and well-wishers, go to ┬íhe palace to be formally invested with the honour. Back at home, he receives guests in sumptuous entertainment. Conferment of chieftaincy titles on worthy citizens allows such people to be closer to the traditional ruler. It also confers on recipients’ privileges and responsibilities.

Another manifestation of the people’s culture is the presentation of kola-nuts at socio-cultural gatherings. At such gatherings, summoned to celebrate an event, to resolve longstanding disputes or to deliberate on common issues affecting the people, the presentation of kola-nuts is to invoke the gods and spirits of the ancestors to shower the occasion with abundant successes and blessings.

Another aspect of the people’s culture is burial ceremonies of late parents. The people believe that when a parent dies, he or she remains restless, in the spirit world until the children here on earth, particularly the eldest male child. Perform the burial ceremony. Traditionally, burial ceremony means calling members of the lineage of the deceased (Egbele) lo offer prayer and blessings to the dead in order to find a restful place in the spirit world. The burial ceremonies of one’s bate parents are very expensive. They are usually occasions which involve the slaughtering of animals like cattle and goats. Feasting and lavish entertainment of relations, friends are usually a part of the ceremony. Non performance of burial ceremony in the community by the children of the deceased is looked upon as disrespect for the dead. In fact, after a sufficient time-lag, it the dead is not properly and peacefully rested through burial ceremony, the community could attract sanctions of snub and condescension on the children. And such children can never assume Odion status in the community because the people will not accept their lruen (manhood) ceremony until they have performed burial ceremony of their late parent(s).

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