Here are five different Nigerian tribes that celebrate the new yam festival;
1) Igbo New Yam Festival
In Igboland, the annual New yam Festival also known as Iwa ji, Iri ji or Ike ji is celebrated at the end of the rainy season in August and September.
During this time, some activities carried out include traditional rites done by the Igwe (King), or the eldest man in the community, dances by men, women, and children as well as masquerade parades.
In some Igbo communities, before the new yam festival commences, all old yams must be consumed or discarded and only new yam is cooked during this festival.
2) Yoruba New yam festival
In some tribes in Yorubaland, the New yam Festival is called Eje. It’s marked with some festivities where they fast, give thanks for the harvest and also carry out some traditional rites that will help them in the new planting season.
For tribes like Ekiti, the new yam festival is called Odun Ijesu. One important aspect of the new yam festival in Yorubaland is that a newly harvested yam is used to determine the destiny of the community.
The activities are as follows; the yam is divided into two to three parts, and they’re thrown up in the air. It is said that if one part lands face up and the other face down, that's a good omen. Whereas, if both fall either face up or face down, it is taken as a bad omen.
3) Okpe New yam festival
Another tribe that celebrates the new yam festival in Nigeria is the Okpe tribe. In Okpeland, New Yam Festival is referred to as Wasigbeenile which means ‘Thank You For Taking Care Of Me.'
During this celebration, members of the community pay homage to the traditional ruler, the Olopke at his palace. They come with food items such as bush meat, goats and of course, yam tubers.
The Okpe people use the Wasigbeenile to give thanks to God for a good harvest and good fortune every year.
4) Ogidi New yam festival in Kogi state
The people of Ogidi, a town in Kogi state also mark the new yam festival with a glamorous cultural festival where different people pay homage and pledge loyalty to the king. Other activities during this festival are dances from different people, gunshots etc.
5) Igede- Agba New yam festival
In September, the Igede people of Benue state celebrate the New yam with a festival called Igede-Agba. During this time, the people of Igede thank their communal deity for newly harvested yams and this also doubles as a celebration of their National day.