Culture they say is the people’s way of life. It is particularly common for a group to be identified with some form of uniqueness either in food, lifestyle, business and tradition. For the people of Mbaise in Imo State, they are known to have one of the one very best cultures in Igbo land with a blend of tradition and modernization to promote cultural heritage and diversification. This post is about the Mbaise culture.
Mbaise is one of the 27 local government areas of Imo state derived from five cities namely Agbaaja, Ahara, Ekwereazu, Ezinihite and Okeuvuru. These cities are located in the three local government areas of Mbaise namely: Aboh Mbaise, Ahiazu Mbaise and Ezinihete.
The tradition and culture of these communities are similar in a way but with a slight difference especially in the area of festive celebrations like the Nwaerigbara Ndi Mbaise(Christmas for the three local governments in Mbaise). The sturdiness of this event has earmarked Mbaise culture as one to be reckoned with in Nigeria, where sons and daughters of Mbaise people all over the world return home. Recently, this event is not only celebrated by the indigenes as friends and associates of Mbiase people travel down to witness this annual celebration.
In a retrospective view, Mbaise was created in 1901 by captain H.M. Douglas, the district commissioner for Owerri under British rule. Since the creation of Mbaise, the people have improved from strength to strength despite a few setbacks(politically) as they still struggle to stay in the seat of authority in the Imo state
Recalled that one of their illustrious sons, Hon. Emeka Ihediora, who became governor of Imo State in the 2019 general elections but was replaced by the current governor. Senator Hope Uzodimma of the ruling party (APC) after serving for eight months.
Sarcastically, the name Mbaise is synonymous with ‘wickedness’ especially from Ndi Owerri( Owerri people). That the bad name has left a mark on its indigenes that some would not want to have ties with anyone especially in terms of conjugal (marriage). Be thou as it may be, Mbaise people have a good name when it comes to staying faithful in marriage. With this, it overrides the negative impressions associated with her.
What you should know about the Mbaise Culture
There’re lots of interesting things about the people and culture of Mbaise people. They include the following.
The Mbaise people are richly endowed with foods as their land is known to be very fertile. Farming used to be a major source of income which is why every August 15, the people of Mbaise celebrate the Iriji festival ( New yam festival). The festival is a way of showing appreciation to Ahiajoku( god of the farm).
Apart from yam which is perceived to be the main food source of Ndi Igbo as a whole, when you visit Mbaise for the first time, you will be served with Ugba/Ukpaka(oil bean seed) with Azu Mangala ( dried fish) or Okporoko( stockfish). Interestingly, a typical Mbaise woman has a unique way of preparing this delicacy that it can never taste the same way as other communities in Imo state.
The Mbaise have several festivals which vary according to region/ communities in Mbaise. For Christmas celebration in Mbaise( The egwu or Nwaerigwara) is celebrated differently on any of the market days which can be either on Orie-Ukwu, Eke-Ukwu, Afo- Ukwu, and Nkwo-Ukwu and each of the local governments’ areas of Mbaise celebrate theirs.
Also, some of the cultural legacies of the people of Mbaise worthy of note is the Oji Ezinihite which is celebrated every January ist, the Iriji Mbaise, August 15. Where natives of Mbaise, friends and well-wishers storm Mbaise to mark the annual celebration.
It is worthy of note to categorically state that Mbaise people are mostly Christians with a majority of them in the roman catholic church. The celebrations are not done in any shrine but celebrated individually in their homes. Only members of Ezeji titleholders and some councils of traditional rulers assemble in the palace or square to mark the celebration.
The dance steps of a Mbaise native especially women is jaw-dropping. It has a unique dance called the Nkwotile dance otherwise called rump dance. During festivals, dancers showcase their dancing steps to thrill the mammoth crowd and if care is not taken, as a man, you may choose a bride amongst the dancers.
Nigerian actors from Mbaise
If you’re new to Mbaise and in search of a cool place to unwind, trust me you may decide to stay back because the area has a natural ambience that keeps visitors trapped. These areas are safe and the relaxation spots are served with local delicacies like Ugba, okporoko, and nkwu ocha(palm wine).
For people still wondering if Mbaise is safe for a visitor, you need not worry, Mbaise people are hospitable. Going there on a visit would have you tell your experience.
The Mbaise culture is rich and unique. You can visit there any time of the year. But to get a glimpse of the region, try visiting on any of its action-packed celebrations like the Iriji ndi Mbaise(new yam festival) or Nwaerigwara ndi Mbaise( Christmas in Mbaise).