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“Omu Ngwo” (Omu-Furled - Tender Palm Frond) Symbology in Ikwerre, Rivers State

R Olumati


The furled young leaves of the palm tree are known as omu in Ikwerre language. It is an important motif among the Ikwerre. Ordinarily it has nothing of’ awe or fear attached to it. But when symbolically used as a communication medium, it attracts all the sacredness and fear that accompany sacred items. The use of omu as a sacred symbol among the Ikwerre is universal. The significance of omu has defied rejection by both modernity and Christianity. It is always laden with spiritual messages when put into use. Omu occupies very important position in the Ikwerre religious and social spheres. As one walks along the public and private roads, the sight of omu symbolically used is a common feature. Wherever omu is exhibited in its symbolic use, the observer immediately decodes the information and then appreciates the metaphysical richness of Ikwerre society. This study which took us to many places endowed us with the knowledge of how diversified the uses of omu are. This symbolic form is involved in maintaining the Ikwerre religious and social ethos, hence this paper. The focus of this paper therefore, is among the Ikwerre in Rivers State of the North Eastern Niger Delta Region.

Key words: Tender, Palm Frond, Symbology, Sacred, Ikwerre

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eISSN: 2227-5452
print ISSN: 2225-8590