Friday 4 September 2015

The 3rd of September worldwide is knows as Sky Scraper Day - a day dedicated to the amazing works of architecture called well, Sky Scrapers. I realized Nigeria is nowhere near Hong Kong -the Sky Scraper capital of the world, but we’ve had our own form of architecture. Credit has to be given to the Benin Kingdom, for preserving their history as much as they could.

While we have in ancient times, had some of our own architectural marvels, looting during the colonial era, poor maintenance and general neglect may undoubtedly have had played a part in these either been destroyed or barely existing. 

I thought about it and I figured while we may have lost some of these beautiful works, something which we have and cannot be taken or lost are the customs and traditions of our people which are passed down from generation to generation via word of mouth. Most of these have largely remained unchanged, although some may have been modified thanks to westernization and distortion.

I did some research on the subject and decided to take it further by speaking about it on my radio show to get more responses and increase the amount of beliefs (largely taboos) I was able to dig up ( BTW it's on Cool FM PH 1am - 5am)
  • According to the people from Idemili & Njaba (Eastern Nigeria) it is taboo to kill a python as they are seen as messengers of the gods.
  • According to the Tiv’s (Benue State) it is taboo for a female to cross over the spot where a dog died, as she would become barren. 
  • The Ikwerre's (Rivers State) state it is a taboo to have sex on the floor or a farm.
  • According to the Eshans (Edo State) Couples should not have sex at noon, as this would result in them having an albino child.
  • According to the Ibo’s Kola nuts are not served at funerals, as Kola is a symbol of life and not death. Women on periods are also not allowed to serve Kola nuts.
  • In Ekpeye land (Rivers State) it is taboo for women to women to go fishing.
  • Listener says in Ibo land, Suicide is a taboo and the family of the deceased must pay the penalty, and no one attends the burial.
  • In Okrika (Rivers State) a person with injury, crippled or blind will not be buried in the ground. He or she is thrown into the Swamps. Same applies for persons suspected of being witches.
  • According to the Yoruba's Yams must not be kicked as the culprit will become lame.
    According to Yoruba legend, Yam was once a man, hence it should be respected.
  • According to the Idoma's (Benue State) when a king dies, it’s a taboo to mourn at the funeral.
  • In Igala land, (Kogi State) it is forbidden for a woman to kill an animal. It is also wrong for a woman to go to the King's palace without tying a wrapper. (I had to tie a wrapper over my jeans)
  • According to the Urhobo's (Delta State) it is forbidden to split fire wood at night when the moon is full, as the person could become a statue. 
  • According to the Hausa's a man may not eat in the home of his wife’s parents and they may not eat in his home, as it will prevent his wife from bearing children.
Looking at some of the laws, there may be a reason why some of the laws are put in place.  Like with the Ikwerre tradition of not having sex on the floor or farm, chances are most likely, sex on a farm (far away in the bush) might actually be rape and that law may have been put in place to discourage that. a prime location for rape has to be the lonely farm paths, far away from domestic communal dwellings. 

Having sex at noon in pre colonial times may have been seen as laziness, as one would expect that a man would be at his farm working or fishing, while the wife should be cooking and taking care of the children. 

Kings in Africa are often seen as close counterparts of gods and mourning their death may make them seem more like a mortal being - which in a way could reduce the power they exert over their people. 

In the Ekpeye Kingdom where women are discouraged from fishing, it could be as a result of women being seen as weaker than men and not being able to withstand the turbulent seas. Same applies to killing of animals in Igala land (I think this may be related to hunting)

Splitting firewood at night in the dark is a sure way to injury and this may have been put in place to discourage injury, as well as a woman cooking too late at night for her family. 
Yams are respected food in Nigeria, as they are expensive, were used as legal tender and also easily bruise.  A bruised yam will spoil faster and that of course would lead to waste.  

What taboos exist in your hometown? Are they enforced? 
What are your thoughts?


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Hiya, im Zibby and this is a brief intro about me :)

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