n African Renaissance - Old-age tradition and representation in an African society case of the rite of ori na ndu in Igbo life of Nigeria

Volume 5, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1744-2532
  • E-ISSN: 2516-5305


The present research paper offers a perspective on the concept of old age and its rite of passage in an African world with specific reference to the Igbo society of Nigeria. As it seeks to understand the concept and practices of the (feasting old age when alive) rite, it draws from participant observations and lived-in-experience to show the dynamics of old-age tradition and representation. This includes the ways in which the cultural system of celebrating and honouring the elderly through the ceremony unfolds and touches lives. While the paper illustrates what this custom means for the society, it equally argues that old-age celebration is a cultural logic and mechanism of kinship reinforcement and empowerment for the participating lineage and family members. Considered as a last rite before death, the old person enacts and re-enacts a strong sense of commensality, gift giving, sharing, and blessing as a cultural obligation and function of kinship solidarity. The paper further emphasizes the relationship Christianity has extended to acculturating the root significance of Igbo rites of passage, as exemplified by the ceremony in Igbo specifically and on the African socio-cultural horizon in general.

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