Aetiology of Igbo Cultural Rites (A Case Study of Abiriba Community): Implications for Counselling.
The study investigated the aetiology of Igbo cultural rites with the aim of highlighting the implications for church and community relations as a means of promoting peaceful co-existence. The investigation isolated the following rites namely: “igu afa” (naming ceremony); “igba nnunnu”(shooting of birds); “uche oba” (surveillance of barn); “izari efa” (public recognition ceremony); “igwa mang” (Fulfilment of vows); “uche”(community surveillance); “ili madu” (burial); “ikwapu aria”(sharing of property) and “ila ikwu nne” (matrilineage). The Abiriba community in Igboland of Abia State in Nigeria was used as a case study. The research was guided by three research questions designed to establish the essence, raison d’etre and similarities between the rites and Christian rites. The case study featured three sages selected with a criterion as purposive sample and applied an unstructured interview schedule derived from the purpose of study as the instrument for data generation. Frequency distribution was used to analyze the data. The findings indicate that ( i) the cultural rites have symbolic essence (ii) the rites have raison d’etre (iii) there are similarities between cultural and Christian rites. The implications of the findings for the pastoral counsellor, the church, and the age grade system were highlighted. It was recommended that the church should adopt the attitude of critical contextualization which refers to the process whereby cultural beliefs or rites are neither rejected nor accepted without objective cross-cultural analysis.
Key Words: Igbo, Culture, rites, community relations