The New Yam Festival
The New Yam Festival is an annual festival observed mostly by the people of the Middle belt ,South and East of Nigeria. It is held at the end of the rainy season which is different times in different communities starting from early August to October .The festival also known as Iwa Ji ,Iri Ji or Ike ji (meaning eating yam), is observed throughout West Africa , Especially in Nigeria .It symbolises the conclusion of a harvest and the beginning of the next work cycle .In Igbo land , it ties the Igbo communities together .Yam are the first crop to be harvested and it is the most important crop.
The evening before the New yam Festival ,old Yam must be consumed or discarded and on the day of the festival only dishes made out of yam is served. Palm oil is used to eat the yam .The oldest Man in the community eats the first yam offering the yam and prayers to the gods, deities and ancestors .
The harvest symbolises the abundance of produce, rituals are performed to express gratitude to the gods of the community for making the harvest possible.