The Ibo

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The Ibo The Ibo (Igbo) are a group of tribes residing in what is now called Nigeria. They had a very complex culture with a wide range of cultural and religious beliefs and practises. They had strict laws, which were to be obeyed at all times. Those who challenged or broke the laws were brought before the gods to receive their judgement and punishment. These punishments ranged from offering payment to a god in cowries or animal sacrifices to banishment from the clan. The Ibo were separated into clans, and the head of the clan was usually the oldest men of the oldest generations. Clansmen were allowed to take titles as well, which they had to make payment for and suffer through rigorous rituals to be deemed worthy of them.. Men who bore these titles were greatly respected in the clans. Aside from the obvious separations, there were also secret societies where masked men of the clan would meet secretly at night. These societies served the purpose for speaking for the clan and keeping them in order. These men were unknown to the community and often spoke for deceased ancestors making it a very serious performance. The Ibo families lived in small compounds normally consisting of a number of smaller huts for various members of the family (wives and their children). Ibo men took many wives and often their personal worth was measured by the number of wives and children he had. Woman's main position in the family was upkeep of the compounds and cooking for their children and husband and childbirth. Their husbands oftentimes abused them. Ibo burial rituals are very complex especially when it is the burial of a chief or respected clansmen. A chief's body is washed in the death chamber then placed on a high table and covered with palm leaves and various materials, then a ceremony is held where there is singing and dancing. Before burial, an eagle feather is place on the body. After the burial, a series of rituals commence. A dog, cat, eagle and parrot are sacrificed and their blood is dripped around the corpse. Many deaths in the Ibo tribe are considered shameful and evil, and for this they received no burial. Birth of twins was evil and therefore the twins were killed and their bodies cast off into a forest, as with a mother who dies in labour. Other shameful deaths are suicides, those who die in a sacred month, and children who die with no teeth.
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