Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja recently participated in celebrating the New Yam Festival in a grand affair.
The restaurant was specially decorated to commemorate the day.
The Public Relations Manager of the hotel, Mr. Shola Adeyemo, spoke on the relevance of the festival celebration, a festival that is typically celebrated in Eastern Nigeria.
Adeyemo said that the New Yam Festival is one of the most important annual celebrations and that in this vein, the establishment celebrated along with the Abuja Igbo community.
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He also commented on the importance of food to culture. "Yam is one crop that is so important within the cultural and culinary culture of Nigeria and this is reason we felt that it is time to celebrate it.As a proudly Nigerian organisation, we have a responsibility to promote Nigerian culture and that is the reason we felt the need to celebrate the New Yam Festival this year. The festival coincides with the celebration in most of the Igbo areas and as such, we brought some life-size tubers of yam from there to celebrate with."
The guests at the event were thrilled with side attractions and they were entertained with traditional dance performances.
Mr. Chidoka Osita, former Minister of Aviation, did the official cutting of the symbolic yam and he explained the significance of yams in Igbo land.
He said that yam is the most important crop in Igbo land as it requires a strong, diligent and hardworking man to cultivate it.
"It is yam that is the seedling with which you have capital. Every Igbo rich man is recognised by the quantity of yam in his barn. It is the only crop that we eat and do not exhaust it because we must keep it for planting in the next season. When a man has come of age, the father or uncles give him a gift of yam-seedlings so that he can start his own life. If you handle the yam in a hurry, it will tax your patience."
Referring to the hotel organising an event to celebrate the event, Osita said: "We cut this yam as a sign of Hilton's economic sustainability. In spite of the season of famine that has come upon Nigeria like it did for Okonkwo in Things Fall Apart, cutting this yam will open up the business of the Hilton Hotel and all those who work in it."