Of cultural festivals and relations in West Africa: Perspectives on Mbano of Southeast Nigeria since the 20th century
Africa is prominently known for its rich cultural heritage, festivals and traditional celebrations. The Igbo of southeast Nigeria are known globally for their addiction to their traditional way of life, belief systems and celebration of numerous cultural festivals. These traditional and cultural festivals form the basic foundation of the rich heritage of the Igbo. Most of these celebrations begin from birth. Usually, the birth of a new born baby is greeted with joy and fanfare by his/her parents and their relatives. The celebrations continue till the period of transition (death); from puberty to adulthood, marriage, title taking, old age till one rejoins his/her ancestors, then comes the final celebration. Mbano people of southeast Nigeria have numerous traditional and cultural festivals which form the nucleus of their relations with their neighbours. In fact, the cultural festivals depict the rich cultural heritage of the people and are used to show in most parts, the kinship between the people and their proximate neighbours. This paper essays to demonstrate the import of these traditional and cultural festivals to the nature of relationship prevalent between Mbano people and their neighbours in southeast Nigeria. The work adopts the orthodox historical method of narrative and analysis. The data are presented descriptively. It expresses the fact that Igbo traditional and cultural celebrations are not merely for entertainment, but are deep rooted mechanisms for human interaction, progress and societal wellbeing.