The importance of breaking kola nut (Iwa Oji) in Igboland

Obinwannem News The importance of breaking kola nut (Iwa Oji) in Igboland

Breaking of kolanut ‘Iwa Oji’ has being a major tradition Ndigbo is majorly known for. In Igboland Kolanut is regarded as a sacred fruit broken and consumed in every gathering of two or more persons.

According to Igbo custom, Oji Igbo is the first thing to be served to a visitor as it signifies peace and means one is welcomed in peace. No serious Igbo person jokes with the myths surrounding ‘Oji Igbo, it is revered and known to be a fruit of honour.

Subsequently, there are two species of kola nut, the first is the one grown in Igboland usually known as ‘Oji Igbo‘ while the other one is grown in the western part of the country but consumed mainly by the people of the north, referred to as Oji Hausa or gworo, which is not used in performing any traditional ceremonies in Igboland.

‘Oji Igbo’ is essentially presented and broken by Ndigbo because of the following reason

  • It is used to welcome visitors
  • It serve as a mediatot between the ancestors and the living

*It represent peace

  • It bring good omen, love and unity
  • It is used to call on ancestors in prayer

There are different lobes of kola nuts, the different lobes of Kola nut have spiritual significance in the Igbo land.

Different Parts of Igbo Kola nut (Óji Igbo) includes

Óji Ato (Three Parts)

Óji Ano (Four Parts)

Óji Ato (Five Parts)

Óji Ato (Six Parts)

The kola nut with three lobes symbolizes individual achievement, predicts good omen and good relationship.

The Igbo’s have great penchant for kola nut which has four parts. It is a symbol of progress and happiness. The four segments characterize the impending blessings which will be bestowed on anyone who participates in the sharing/eating of kola nut. It also serves as a point of contact for progression in every area of the lives of those who partake in eating the kola nut.

A kola nut which has five segments is a symbol of reproduction. Anyone who partakes in the sharing and eating of this type kola trusts God for fruitfulness, increase and outstanding progress in the lives of her progeny.

In the olden days when high importance was attached to large families, this type of kola nut was offered to men who had ample children.

A Kola nut which has six or seven segments means double progress. It is the Igbo’s believe that whoever partakes in eating this kola nut would experience incessant progress in every area of their lives.

Igbo kola nut does not have two segments; any kola nut which has two segments is not served in Igbo land, and is considered bad luck.

Lolo Ijeoma Njoku Obinwannem News Writer/ Sept 1, 2022

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