Significance of onwa-eke festival in Ezza. A study of Amuzu and Ameka, Ebonyi State
The annual feeding of ancestors in Ezza land is known as
“Onwa-Eke” because it usually falls on “Onwa-Eke” month according
to Ezza calendar. “Onwa-Eke” month normally falls on January every
year. However, the festival sometimes falls at the tail end of
THE ORIGIN OF EZZA
Ezza people as a tribe in Ebonyi State, is believed to be the descendant of the legendary ancestor Ekumaenyi. Ekumaenyi is said to have migrated from an unknown land due to war and settled at Amuzu very close to Ekeimoha the main market of Ezza people.
However, little is known about the personality of Ekumaenyi, but the oral tradition had it that Ekumaenyi was the grandfather of the Ezza, Izzi, Ikwo respectively. Ekumenyi was the father of Ezekuna, Noyo, and Olodo.
- Ezekuna was the father of Ezza tribe.
- Olodo was the father of Izzi.
- Noyo was the father of ikwo.
The three tribes (Ezza, Izzi, and Ikwo) have unanimously accepted the assumption. Ezza people believed that the three tribes were from the same mother but the Izzi tribe, object the assumption claiming that, though they are of the same father with the Ezza people, but they are of different mother making the Ezza people their half-brother. To further justify their claim, their culture revealed it that Anyingor whom was the wife of Ezekuna the father of Ezza tribe was the sister of Olodo and Noyo. This is to say that Ekumanyi is an in-law to Olodo and Noyo; respectively their half-brother.
In relation to Ikwo`s culture and civilization, it is revealed that the Ikwo people have more things in common with the Izzi people more than the Ezza’s, which further distinguished their relationship as brothers.
Therefore, we can now note that Ezza, Izzi and Ikwo, are from the same ancestor. This version of the story of the origin of Ezza are assumed to be more convincing, more than other theories that lack the cultural relationship between the three tribes.
In Onunweke; there is a historical site where Ezekuna the father of Ezza, is said to had lived during his time with his wife Anyingor and his two sons; Orokeonuoha and Ezechimkpuru, Umuezokoha, Amagu Izzi.
The oldest villages in Ezza, Izzi and Ikwo are as follows: Umuezekoha (Ezza) Amegu- Izzi, and Ikpeli- Ikwo respectively.
There are other versions of the story, but it failed to establish cultural back up of their own side of the story, of the origin of Ezza people.
For instance, the Afikpo people believed that Ezekuna; the father of Ezza was their son who migrated from Afikpo and settled at Onunweke several hundred years ago. Moreover, others had it that Ezekuna joined a massive movement of people from the Okigwe escarpment into Afikpo some several years ago and when the movement reached Afikpo, they continued their journey northwards until he settled at Onunweke. After a close examination on the assumptions, there was no convincing evidence to buttress their theory, and its authenticity were not explicit.