In the Ibo culture, the women were considered to fulfill every man’s needs and to serve the. As the years have gone passed the status of women has risen now being at the same rank as men. Here we can see how culture determines the woman’s position or place in a society. Religion is an important aspect of culture, in the following paragraphs I will discuss some of the rituals and religious beliefs in the novel. In the first chapter we are introduced to the ‘kola nut. ‘ The kola nut is one of the way people welcome one another amongst the Ibo culture.Order now
The kola nut is passed between the host and the guest, each insisting that the other should be the one to crack the nut, however, the host takes the honour of cracking the nut. They say that whoever offers the kola nut brings life and this is one of the main rituals of the story. They do this in order to please their god and ancestors. In chapter 2 where one of the clansmen’s wife had been murdered when she went to a market in Mbaina had caused for the men of Umuofia to gather to decide on what they would do to Mbaino as a result of their punishment.
A custom amongst the Ibo culture was never to fight a ‘war of blame’ therefore, they first tried to reach an agreement before they had decided to go to war. Okonkwo went to negotiate with Mbaino because this was the first ritualistic act of the Ibo culture before they declare war. The village that committed the offence had given the Umuofia people a young boy, who was named Ikemefuna and a virgin as their repayment of the crime. Another ritual act is shown in chapter three when the people of Umuofia consult Agbala, ‘the oracle of the hills and caves.
‘ When they are confronted with any of their problems or want to ask question concerning their future they depend on the answers Agbala gives. The answer reaches them through the priestess. The words of Agbala were never ignored. In chapter four of the novel Okonkwo is so carried away in his anger at his youngest wife that he forgets the ritual of the Week of Peace and breaks the rules of kindness and gentleness that all the villagers are supposed to show to one another during that week before the planting of the crops begin.
Because he broke one of the most sacred events to the Umuofian people he has to make a sacrifice to the earth goddess in which he brings a goat, a hen and cowries. This is another ritual of the religion of the Ibo culture. When Okonkwo broke the rules of the Week of Peace, the whole village was shocked and began to talk about the consequences of breaking this law. ‘Ogbuefi Ezedu, who was the oldest man in the village, was telling two other men who came to visit him that the punishment for breaking the Peace of Ani had become very mild in their clan.
‘It has not always been so,’ he said. ‘My father told me that he had been told that in the past a man who broke the peace was dragged on the ground through the village until he died. But after a whole this custom was stopped because it spoilt the peace which it was meant to preserve. ‘ Another important aspect of the Ibo culture is ‘Egwugwu. ‘ The people of Umuofia reach order in their community by important rituals. One of the best examples of the power of rituals within the village is the arrival of egwugwu.
These spirits carry the hopes and fears of the village: ‘And then the Egwugwu appeared. The women and children set up a great shout and took to their heels. It was instinctive.. And when, as on that day, nine of the greatest masked spirits in the clan came out together it was a terrifying spectacle.. Each of the nine egwugwu represented a village of the clan. Their leader was called the Evil Forest. Smoke poured out of his head. The nine villages of Umofia had growth out of the nine sons of the first father clan.
Evil forest represented the village of Umuera, or the children of Eru, who was the eldest of the nine sons. ‘ As we can see the people of Africa have a culture that is quite different to that of the European culture. The culture of the Africans has its own definition of evil, how it sees the status of women in the society, the rituals that are practiced and how it deals with other cultures. All these points are expressed vividly by the writer in which no bias occurs.
Word count: 1658 1 http://www. hellgate. k12. mt. us/bldg1/grade5/bixby/Lesson/GB/Chapter5/culture. htm.