Cultural Dualism and Commitment, Rituals and Rites Among Igbo Societies, 1900 – 2000


The extremities of modernity and Christianity, and the concomitant innovations emanating from them, caused the syncretism observable in Africa. The microcosm was definitely upset. Equally discernible were consequent dualisms in life styles, festivities, rites and allegiances. Among the cultures affected were rituals, initiations into manhood, exclusive and secret societies and rites of passage/burial. The economic implication of the dualized but single burial/passage rite was the paying of levies/dues to the traditionalists on the one hand, and to the Church, on the other, per a single burial outing. This was to the extent that the cultural commitment of the African was tested; and what were left became re-evaluated. Factually, the beauty of rituals/rites became predicated on dualisms. The order of a burial rite usually read: interment follows immediately after church service and traditional obsequies continue. It, therefore, made economic sense to subscribe to a single species (either traditional or Christian) of rite to reduce both costs and lipservice to the Christian and trado-spiritual cosmogonies. The paper concluded that the extent of commitment to cultures determined the best approaches to the observation of rituals, rites and initiations. For instance: The burial rite of the Ntalakwu in Bende Local Government Area of Abia State was indeed a best approach. It plugged undue economic wastes and lipserving two systems (not masters). This was exemplified at the burial of Pa Azubuike who was neither a former Churchgoer nor a Christian but a full initiate of the Ekpe, Aku Akang and Eketensi cults. The practiced rhythm and staccato of the Eketensi renditions was awesomely electrifying in a 21st century Igbo community. The burial was hundred percent traditional. It was unheard of, and by all indices, was courting the Christian hell on earth. This paper was written through oral interviews, and the use of primary and secondary sources.

Citation: Okoko C.O., C. Godcan-Eze I.E., and  Oparah O. (2022) Cultural Dualism and Commitment, Rituals and Rites AmongIgbo Societies, 1900 – 2000, International Journal of History and Philosophical Research, Vol.10, No.3, pp.33-52,


Keywords: Christianity, Commitment, Cultural, Modernity, Traditions, rites


Article Review Status: Published

Pages: 33-52 (Download PDF)

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