The traditionalists, Okwudili Ugwuoke popularly known as Okwu Lolo and Dr. Ifeanyichukwu Mama of Ndi Ugo Iheaka in Nsukka revealed the history of “Onwa asaa”
Dr. Ifeanyichukwu Mama divulged that Onwa asaa festival is a kind of feast done for the remembrance of their forefathers and it has being in existence in the days of old.
Furthermore, Okwu Lolo explained that “Onwa asaa festival ” takes place on every 25th day of “Onwa ishii of Ndi Igbo and it is done for the remembrance of the departed souls of their forefathers.
Moreover, Ogirisi tree is being planted whenever an elder dies and it will all be counted during the Onwa asaa festival to know the number of elders that have been departed in every family.
A night before the Onwa asaa festival, all the married woman with their children goes to their fathers house with cooked food, life goats or fowls to apese the gods for his protection and blessings bestowed on them throughout the year and to ask for more blessings.
The festival takes place on Afo day but the full celebration comes up on Nkwo day.
On Nkwo day, two mascurades known as “Iyi-akpala” and “Lolo-uhere” goes house to house while people gives them Igbo fowls and they solicit for their well being, after which the mascurades move to the market square where everyone comes together for the celebration.
The women sing and dance while the youths and some of the elders dances with the mascurades into the arena.
Onwa asaa festival brings all the family members back home, giving them the opportunity to see each other. And the ceremony is also regarded as a love feast as everyone comes together in one mind and love to thank their Chukwuokike.
At the end of the ceremony, the villagers comes together and pray with “Ofo”, against the evil ones in the families and village and also pray for more love and unity.
Onwa asaa is a great festival that is being celebrated by some villages in Igbo land like Ovoko and Iheaka. Other villages celebrates their own in a different way and period of time.
Nwachineke, Onyeke Chekwube Obinwannem Enugu writer / September 8, 2021.