Alo Mmo(New Yam festival)

 

Alo Mmo(Umueri New Yam Festival)

In Umueri, New yam festival takes an important pride in the lives of the people. Its a time between planting and harvest. It's a time that the community offers thanks giving to their gods and ancestors for guiding and protecting them all through the farming season.

The feast comes immediately after a three months (in lunar calendar) restive period during which there were no much work on farms. And it’s closely followed by the harvest season during which Yam tubers are cultivated. Since Yam is regarded as the king of all crops, the Community sees it as a mark of respects to to reciprocate the kindness of the gods & ancestors.  Unlike other Igbos towns, in Umueri the festival is called "Alo Mmo", which refers to feast of the ancestors. It’s a widely accepted belief in the town that ones ancestors are ones' gods and hence there is every need for them to give thanks for the gods for guiding them all through the planting season to the harvest and this depicts the prominence of Yam in the social cultural lives of the people.

The festival starts by the sighting of the moon by the Onowu- who is the traditional Prime Minister of the town and also the custodian in charge of the festival. As soon as he sights the moon, he would then announce to the community the day that the festival would be hold. This process is known in local dialect as "Ika mmo”. This Pronouncement take place in presence of the elders of the community in his Palace (Obi) at Mgbago Umueri. The Onowu formerly announces the day that it would be held. It’s usually fixed within the next 3 market weeks (Twelve days) and must coincide on Eke market day. As the twelve days approaches, on the eight day (been the last Eke day before the festival), the Onowu would kick off the ceremony in his palace with fanfare and entertainment. 

At the eve of the festival, the Ezi-Umueri would celebrate the festival ahead of other umueri as it’s in line with tradition. On that day, they would pay visit to some notable deities in the area such as Aro Nneyi and would paid sacrifices to their gods. While the other clans of umueri (Ivite and Ikenga) would celebrate it on the 12th day been Eke. Every family is expected to slaughter at least a goat or a sheep to their various gods for guidance throughout the farming period. And it’s usually celebrated along kindred and family level. People   are seen celebrating the festival with music, dance and showing off as they move from place to another.

This festival is so important that average person looks up to it as it marks the beginning of harvest season.

Contributed by Mr. Anthony Akwuobi

Writes from Onitsha , Anambra State Nigeria

THE TOWN PROFILES

Name:
Umueri(Mispronounced Umuleri)

Location:
Anambra East LG of Anambra State.

His Royal Highness
(Traditional Ruler)
 


H.R.H Igwe Nelson U. Okoye
Igwe Okebo 1 of Umueri

His Majesty
(Traditional Prime Minister)


HRM Mike ekweonu
Onowu Iyasele  of Umueri

P.G Umueri General
Assembly (UGA)


Hon. Pius Okonkwo
(President General, U.G.A)

Title(Male):
Amanwulu,Ivejioku,
Oba,Asammuo
Ogbuevi,Ogbuanyinya

Title(Female):
Ekwe, Iyom,Nne-
Mmanwu,Okomme

Population:
Est. 155,000.00

Occupation:
Farmers,Fishers,trading
business,Crafts & Arts etc