Tribal Life: Ibo/Igbo tribe By: Jonathan V, Brayan D, and EmanUel L.

The Igbo tribe is just like many other villages in Africa, but it is in some ways different and unique. The Igbo people live in villages that are a few hundred to a thousand people from a few extended families. Something that we don't see often in a civilization is that these villages don't have a single king or ruler. Almost everyone in the village are included in the making of decisions. Although, there are institutions for example, a council of elders, a council of chiefs, secret societies, and women associations.


The Igbo people have been traditionally recognized as subsistence farmers and known for their staples being yams, cassava, and taro. The other crops they grow are corn (maize), melons, okra, pumpkins, and beans. For those in the Igbo tribe who are in charge of agriculture, men are responsible for yam cultivation and women for other crops. The land itself is owned by the community and kinship groups and disturbed to individuals for farming. While livestock is there, they keep some for rituals and symbolism. Main exports are palm oil and palm kernels. Trade via crafts is very important in the Igbo economy, and their high literacy rate has helped many Igbo to become civil servants and business entrepreneurs following Nigeria’s independence. It is notable that Igbo women engage in trade and are influential in local politics.

The Igbo tribe is located in Southeastern Nigeria

The Igbo people are very religious and are polytheistic worshipping many god. According to the Igbo people, there are three levels of divine beings. The highest level being is the supreme god who is also known as Chukwu. Underneath Chukwu are Umuagbara, and these beings are lesser gods. Lastly, the Ndi Ichie are underneath and these are the spirits of the dead people. The Igbo people believe in reincarnation and they see death as a phase between life and the spirit world. According to the Igbo people, when someone passes away, he or she starts a new life in the spirit and after spending a certain in the spirit world, a dead person is revived as a new person and it is believed that this cycle will repeat itself.

Masquerades and Festivals

Igboland perform many festivities and cultural performances, most notably the masquerades and the new Yam festivals.

Masquerades (Mmanwu) are held according to the community native calendars during festivals, annual festivities, burial rites and other social gatherings. The masquerades include colourful robes and masks made of wood or fabric. Some masks appear only at one festival, but the majority appears at many or all. Masquerades are associated with spiritual elements, according to Igbo belief, masquerades represent images of deities or sometimes even dead relatives. The identity of the masquerade is a well-kept secret and performed exclusively by men.

In the past, masquerades were utilized as a way for maintaining peace and order and were primarily used as law enforcement agents. The whole village would come out for the ceremony to watch the colourful masquerades. While entertaining through dances and displaying non-human features, the masquerades would walk up to certain individuals and loudly expose any bad habits, crimes or misbehaviour of that person. As people would always redeem and make sure to abstain themselves from those negative acts, the masquerades were effective in keeping up with traditional norms and values in the communities.

Work cited:

The-Editors-of-Encyclopedia-Britannica, Britannica, , March 3, 2017.

AFRICAGUIDE, ,March 1, 2017

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