IRU MGBEDE – RITE OF PASSAGE IN IGBO LAND

IRU MGBEDE – RITE OF PASSAGE IN IGBO LAND

ABSENCE OF IRU MGBEDE:- Drawing from experience and research, the following are the most common reasons why marriages fail world-over: (1) Dishonesty, laziness and other character defects. (2) Destructive habits and addictions.  (3) Communication (4) Leading separate lives. (5) Lack of affection and sexual fulfillment. (6) Lack of emotional intimacy. (7) Explosive, angry outbursts or rages. (8) Disrespectful judgments. (9) Selfishness. (10) Poor boundaries.

For these and more, divorce rate is on the increase. Where are the parents whom God charged with the responsibility of TRAINING A CHILD. Parents have a mandate from God to "train up a child in the way he should go." This training certainly includes the preparation of the child for marriage. Parents also have a promise from God that faithful training in the ways of the Lord will be honored by him, and he will cause our children to walk in the paths of righteousness. This promise definitely applies to marriage; if we train our children in God's plan and purpose for marriage, he will cause them to walk in his ways and to experience the blessing of a happy, successful, God-honoring marriage. Having heard his command, and being armed with a promise, do not fail to train up your children in God's way for marriage and thus prepare them for one of the most important aspects of life and of taking dominion under God's covenant law — the marriage relationship.

One way to help yourself try and avoid the common causes of marriage failure is to understand what they are so that you can have an action plan ready ahead of time. In the good old days, Igbos had a plan called – IRU MGBEDE. Read and learn your lessons.

IRU MGBEDE - RITE OF PASSAGE IN IGBO LAND:-

One of the highest occasions in the life of Igbo girls and boys is the initiation into adulthood through the rite of passage. This marks an epoch in the life of these adults. It appraises the physical and moral estate and plans for their future. Both boys and girls go through the rite of wearing cloths, Ima akwa.

The cultural rite of passage for ladies is called Irumgbede. Iru mgbede was done in the traditional Igbo days. I asked my mom if she did mgbede when she was younger and she said no they don't do it anymore. Well, in Iru mgbede, the young maiden would be separated from all her daily duties like cleaning the compound, fetching water from the stream, cooking, etc. She would be put in what they called a fattening room which was a secluded hut where the maiden would be fed special foods that would fatten her. Inside the room, the maiden would be given advice on traditional and general aspects of womanhood; such as how to raise a family and how to keep a home, the maiden is also taught how to keep rituals, dances, dressing, and make-up, and herbal remedies for labour pain and to stimulate milk production.

The ladies are also rubbed with oil and camwood in order to create glistening skin and a beautiful body. Enhancing the beauty of her character and physical body is the goal of all the indulgences.

After months of being in the fattening room, the maiden is to go through the graduation ceremony of Iru mgbede. This is called the ipuama, public display of her elegance and beauty. Here she entertains the guest by doing a dance which today is called Mgbede or Nkwa Umu Agbogho. She will be dressed in a wrapper with waist beads and uli painted on her body. The maiden will dance by shaking her waist which is the main dance. After the mgbede, any suitors that want her hand in marriage will come to her compound and discuss bride price. There is need to re-enact this culture as ladies of this generation are found wanting in morals, values, upbringing. No wonder we have high rate of divorce and broken homes compared to the days of our ancestors.

The culture feels that healthy offspring, physically fit enough to cope with life, can be born only to healthy, physically fit mothers. It is therefore very jealous of the health of Igbo women, taking every precaution to safeguard it before marriage. This is a time to refresh, prepare intellectually, emotionally, physically, in readiness for the status of married woman.

Usually, the period of fattening is between the months of June through August.

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