Ibo Religion Before and after colonialism


Before the colonist arrived, the Igbo tribe was polytheistic. One of the god's that they believed in called Ani, is mention throughout the book, Things Fall Apart. Ani is the goddess of earth and fertility. The book mentions how she is very important to the people of Umuofia, because she is constantly judging the people's behavior. The book also mentions how the Igbo believed in spiritual ancestry. They constantly make and encourage sacrifices to their ancestors for protection and so that they do not starve.

People, John"Chi Africa Igbo Culture",Ascension, acensionlifrstyle.org,4jan, 2016, URL.

”It was an occasion for giving thanks to Ani, the earth goddess and the source of all fertility. Ani played a greater part in the life of the people than any other deity. She was the ultimate judge of mortality and conduct.” Achebe, 36 “Early that morning as he offered a sacrifice of new yam and palm-oil to his ancestors he asked them to protect him,his children, and their mothers in the new year.” Achebe,39 “Behind them was the big and ancient silk-cotton tree which was sacred. Spirits of good children lived in that tree waiting to be born.” Achebe,46 “He wanted Note to grow into a tough young man capable of ruling his father’s house hold when he was dead and gone to join the ancestors. He wanted him to be a prosperous man, having enough in his barn to feed the ancestors with regular sacrifices.” Achebe,53

Dr. G.I Jones

"As he broke the Kola, Unoka prayed to their ancestors for life and health, and for protection against their enemies" (Achebe, 6) "Children were warned not to whistle at night for fear of evil spirits" (Achebe, 9) The Oracle was called Agbala, and the people came from far and near to consult it" (Achebe, 16) "They came to discover what the future held for them or to consult the spirits of their departed fathers" (Achebe, 16) "His priestess stood by the sacred fire which she built in the heart of the cave and proclaimed the will of the god" (Achebe, 17) " 'We live in peace with our fellows to honor our great goddess of the earth without whose blessing our crops will not grow. You have committed a great evil' " (Achebe, 30)

Chris Cheung

“You sound as if you question the authority and the decisions of the Oracle, who said he should die.” “I do not why should I? But the Oracle did not ask me to carry out its decision.”(Achebe, 66) The Oracle for them is very sacred and they do as it says without question, only doing what they are supposed to do without necessarily doing extra. No matter what it is that they are told and how hard the choice is. They have to go along with it. Like Obierika said “But if the Oracle said that my son should be killed i would neither dispute it nor be the one to do it.”(Achebe,67)

Source: Liu, Thomas," Africa: Quit of culture", hkis africablog, printable coupon, 2,15,2011, URL

The stuff they tried did not work and the child called Onwumbiko died. “The medicine man then ordered that there should be no mourning for the dead child. He brought out a sharp razor from goatskin bag slung from his left shoulder and began to mutilate the child. Then took it away to bury in the Evil Forest, holding it by the ankle and dragging it on the ground behind him. After such treatment it would think twice before coming again, unless it was one of the stubborn ones who returned, carrying the stamp of their mutilation-a missing finger or perhaps a dark line where the medicine man’s razor had cut them.”(Achebe,79)

Liu, Thomas," Africa: Quit of culture", hkis africablog, printable coupon, 2,15,2011, URL

Ezinma was the next child born and she lived was still alive years after she was born that give Ekwefi faith that she will stay.“And this faith had been strengthened when a year or so ago a medicine man had dug up Ezinma's iyi-uwa. Everyone knew then that she would live because her bond with the world of ogbanje had been broken.”(Achebe,80) they found her iyi-uwa when she helped the medicine man find it.The iyi-uwa is what connects the ogbanje to the spirit world and the stone had to be destroyed to end the cycle.

Ezinma Okonkwo

After the British arrived and forced their religion onto the ibo tribe they embraced the religion (Christianity) and western education. Which meant they were slowly decreasing in their major ethnic groups. Then there were those who strongly believed in the religion traditions and did their best to remember their roots. They built churches, schools, converted many Africans to Christianity. They were not able to fight the Europeans. Religion was a major aspect of their culture with gods of war and bravery and shamed warriors. Europe and saw African religion as dull and under developed. The Africans worshiped superhuman forces such as rain and sun were as the Europeans had one god. When they first arrived to africa there was a low Christianity percentage. They completely changed the igbo beliefs with their missions from what they original were. changing all aspects of their religion and the supernatural forces that they believed in. It changed their traditions and actions, along with their rituals.

Rabbi Louis Jacob

Citation page

Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. London:Heinemann, 1965. Print.

“Igbo people”.Britannica, Encyclopaedia Britannica, inc., 11-4-2015. URL

"The Igbo, sometimes referred to as Ibo, are one of the largest single ethnicities in Africa" Accessed 24 Mar. 2017

Ezinma Okonkwo

Chris Cheung

Dr. G.I Jones



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