Tuesday, 26 February 2013


The Hausa people have a very restricted dressing code due to the fact of religious beliefs. The men are easily recognizable because of their elaborate dress which is a large flowing gown known as Babban Riga and a robe called a jalabia and juanni, Senegalese kaftan. These large flowing gowns usually feature some elaborate embroidery designs around the neck. Men also wear colorful embroidered caps known as Fula and depending on location and occupation, may wear a Tuareg-style turban around this to veil the face (known as Alasho or Tagelmust). The women can be identified by their dressing codes in which they wear wrappers called abaya made with colorful cloth with a matching blouse, head tie and shawl.

Mathematics in traditional Igbo society is evident in their calendar, banking system and strategic betting game called Okwe. In their indigenous calendar, a week had four days, a month consisted of seven weeks and 13 months made a year. In the last month, an extra day was added. This calendar is still used in indigenous Igbo villages and towns to determine market days. They settled law matters via mediators, and their banking system for loans and savings, called Isusu, is also still used. The Igbo New Year, starting with the month Önwa Mbụ (Igbo: First Moon) occurs on the third week of February, although the traditional start of the year for many Igbo communities is around springtime in Önwa Agwụ (June). Used as a ceremonial script by secret societies, the Igbo had a traditional ideographic set of symbols called Nsibidi, originating from the neighboring Ejagham people. Igbo people produced bronzes from as early as the 9th century, some of which have been found at the town of Igbo Ukwu, Anambra state.
Traditional Igbo political organization was based on a quasi-democratic republican system of government. In tight knit communities, this system guaranteed its citizens equality, as opposed to a feudalist system with a king ruling over subjects. This government system was witnessed by the Portuguese who first arrived and met with the Igbo people in the 15th century. With the exception of a few notable Igbo towns such as Onitsha, which had kings called Obi, and places like the Nri Kingdom and Arochukwu, which had priest kings; Igbo communities and area governments were overwhelmingly ruled solely by a republican consultative assembly of the common people. Communities were usually governed and administered by a council of elders.
Although title holders were respected because of their accomplishments and capabilities, they were never revered as kings, but often performed special functions given to them by such assemblies. This way of governing was immensely different from most other communities of Western Africa, and only shared by the Ewe of Ghana. Umunna are a form of patrilineage maintained by the Igbo. Law starts with the Umunna which is a male line of descent from a founding ancestor (who the line is sometimes named after) with groups of compounds containing closely related families headed by the eldest male member. The Umunna can be seen as the most important pillar of Igbo society.
The Igbo language was used by John Goldsmith as an example to justify deviating from the classical linear model of phonology as laid out in The Sound Pattern of English. It is written in the Roman script as well as the Nsibidi formalized ideograms which is used by the Ekpe society and Okonko fraternity, but is no longer widely used. Nsibidi ideography existed among the Igbo before the 16th century, but died out after it became popular among secret societies, who then made Nsibidi a secret form of communication. Igbo is a tonal language and there are hundreds of different Igbo dialects and Igboid languages such as the Ikwerre and Ekpeye languages. In 1939, Dr. Ida C. Ward led a research expedition on Igbo dialects which could possibly be used as a basis of a standard Igbo dialect, also known as Central Igbo. This dialect included that of the Owerri and Umuahia groups, including the Ohuhu dialect. This proposed dialect was gradually accepted by missionaries, writers, publishers, and Cambridge University.

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