The Igbo have some really fascinating and interesting festivals and holidays in their culture. They celebrate for weeks at a time during the festivals and holidays. In the novel Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, there are different holidays throughout the novel and there are some festivals as well. There is the Yam Festival and during it they pray to a goddess and they ask for a good harvest. They also have the Week of Peace and during that week they aren’t allowed to hurt anybody or you will be punished. There are many activities and things to do as a community during the Yam Festival and during the Week of Peace.
Throughout the novel, Achebe talks about the festivals and holidays; how they brings people together, there are rules you must follow and if you break them you will be punished, and how enjoyable they are. Festivals and holidays bring people together with different activities. They come together as a community and celebrated a festival called The Yam Festival. At the beginning of the Yam festival they thank the earth goddess for giving them a good harvest. Achebe says “The feast of the New Yam was approaching and Umuofia was in a festival mood.
It was an occasion for giving thanks to Ani, the earth goddess and the source of all fertility”(Achebe 36). The community comes together and gives thanks in advance for giving them a good harvest for the year. They also pray about their harvest to Ani and asks her to give them good nice and big yams. Another holiday that brings the community together is the Masquerades. During the Masquerades the Igbo dress up and wear masks and dance, but sometimes there are people there are some people who commit crimes and expose bad habits. They are very loud and they don’t always do things how they are supposed to.
Michael Widjaja states that the whole village comes together for a ceremony that is very colorful. They dance and have a great time. There are also people that very loudly expose bad habits and there are crimes (Widjaja). The Masquerades are a good enjoyable time for the Igbo people to come together. The Igbo people dress up in colorful clothing and they dance and have a enjoyable time together. They also become closer as a community. Festivals and holidays can bring people together in many different ways. During the Yam Festival it brought people together through prayer and through bring friends and inviting new people.
During some holidays there are rules. There are some things that you are not allowed to do or you will be punished. During the Week of Peace you are not supposed to beat anyone or you will be punished. You also are not allowed to say harsh words to your neighbor. During the Week of Peace, Okonkwo beat his youngest wife, Ojiugo because she was not home to cook him lunch, instead she dropped her kids off with a different wife and went to her friend’s house to get her hair braided. Okonkwo waits for her return “He walked back to his obi to await Ojiugo’s return.
And when she returned he beat her heavily. In his anger he had almost forgotten that it was the Week of Peace” (29). Okonkwo had forgotten that is was the Week of Peace and have broken the rules. You must not hit anybody during this week. It is disrespectful of the gods and ancestors. If you break the rules during this week it shows you have no respect for the gods and ancestors. Okonkwo was punished for his actions. He has to repay for what he has done. Okonkwo must repent and ask for forgiveness from the earth goddess. Okonkwo must also repay for what he has done.
According to Shepherd et al, “he is forced to repent by priest by sacrificing a nanny goat and a hen and paying a fine of one length of cloth and 100 cowries” (Shephard et al). So since Okonkwo broke the week of peace by beating his wife he is now responsible for paying back the earth goddess with a goat, a hen, a length of cloth and 100 cowries. There are certain things you cannot do during the Week of Peace, like hitting or beating someone, or even yelling at another person. If you do these things you will be punished and you will break the Week of Peace.
There are many enjoyable things that go on during festivals and holidays. There are multiple activities going on. One of the activities is the wrestling matches. The whole village comes together and they all come and cheer on the wrestlers and they come to have a great time. “The whole village turned out on the ilo, men, women and children. They stood round in a huge circle leaving the center of the playground free. The elders and grandees of the village sat on their own stools brought there by their young sons or slaves”(46). The whole village comes together to see these guys wrestle.
They are all standing together waiting for the wrestlers to come out. All the people from the village know when the matches are. They are always during their off season. There are seven drums beating to keep them standing on their toes waiting for the wrestlers to come out. Each wrestler is led out by his supporter and they get ready to fight. Okodo explains when and how the match is and set up. He says, On the appointed date, time and venue, spectators fill up the arena. There is always the wrestling music which keeps everybody company until the wrestling begins.
Each of the wrestlers is led into the arena by his supporter. One of the wrestlers should challenge the other by presenting the open palm of his right hand (Okodo 5) The matches are very popular and two villages are able to come together because the matches are held on their time off away from harvest season. They all come together and wait for the wrestlers to come out and while they are waiting there is “wrestling music” or seven men playing the drums. When the wrestler’s supporters come out with them, one of the wrestlers has to challenge the other by opening his palm on his right hand.
The matches are just one of the many enjoyable events that go one during the festivals and holidays. There are many enjoyable activities that go one during the festivals and holidays. The wrestling match is one that all the villagers love and go to. There are multiple things going on during festivals and holidays. During the Week of Peace you are not allowed to lay a hand or yell at anybody. They shouldn’t have to have the rule during the Week of Peace that you are not allowed to lay a hand on somebody or you are not allowed to yell at somebody. That should be an everyday thing.
You should never lay a hand or be able to yell at somebody and not get punished for it. You have to apologize to the earth goddess for disobeying her and you have to repay her. Their festivals and holidays are long celebrations. During the Yam festival there are celebrations. There is a big wrestling match that the whole village comes together and goes to watch. Everybody enjoys it. Festivals and holidays are a big part of the Igbo life style. During festivals and holidays you have to follow the rules or you will be punished, but other than that everyone enjoys them and they bring people together.