Traditional Breaking Of Kolanut In Igbo land (1)

Breaking of Kolanut in Igbo land in the past, the head of the family breaks the morning kola nut (morning prayers). He will first of all call for water for washing his hands.


People around him would wash their hands as well. After washing, he will bring white native chalk-Nzu make and made lines according to the title he had taken. If “Nze” he makes four vertical lines.

The lines would be increased according to the ranks of the titles. A person who was initiated in “Ude” or’ldo mmuo makes eight vertical lines. Before breaking the kola nut, he brought out small seat (mpata) before his deity and say morning prayers

In his prayers he will hold ‘Ofo’ in his right hand and say in his invocations and calls the fore-fathers and unseen being (God) to come and eat kola. The forefathers and God would be invoked to come and guard the family. He would ask for many favours and in the end of every request those sitting around would say ‘Ofo-o’ which meant ‘Amen’.


He will leave one part before his deity and distribute the pieces to the wife and children. Any person around is given a share. A whole kola nut which had no parts that could be broken in parts is not eaten. It is regarded as dumb kola, oji ogbu’


The head of the family, after chewing some of the parts, spats the chaffs on the ‘ofo’ and other pieces of sticks in the box -‘Okonikpa’ where materials for idol worship were preserved. When that was ended, breakfast would be taken; after which the family members goes to work where the head of the family will tell them to go and work.

The wife and the children had no option to go to work in any other place or for any other man unless allowed to do so. It was on ‘oye’ market days that the wife works in their private farm

Breaking morning kola nut must be done by the head of the family the owner of the compound unless the Head of the family gives authority to a senior man to break the kola for him. In other situations the oldest man breaks kola nuts in Aguluezechukwu, while younger people share the kola to people around.

The members of the family around must be made to eat the kola because it was taken that by eating the kola new life and the days blessings would follow, hence it is said that the presenter of kola brings life and the eater, eats long life and health

In other gatherings where kolanuts were presented, the presentation would go round step by step from inner circle of the presenter until the kola nuts reaches the hands of the person who would be regarded as a stranger

If a mistake is made in the presentation such must be corrected immediately before the kolanut is broken by the most elderly person. If you are given kola or if the kolanut comes in your hands and you do not know what to do you make consultations to avoid making mistake, because the mistake in the passing of kola nuts is taken very serious. The most elderly man breaks the kola nuts with prayers. After due prayers and invocations over the kola nuts all the people in the gathering responds’Ofoo’, equivalent to ‘Amen’

He would announce the number of the parts of the kola nut broken. People around would call him by any maiden name he had taken to be called and known by: eg ‘Ogbuonye’. ‘Nnabuenyi’, ‘Omemma’ etc. If the kola nuts were many they would be shared on family, village or group basis

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The sharing would be directed by the senior people around who knows much about such sharing. If alligator pepper is attached to the kola or fruits, like ‘Anala’ the rightful person would be called to split them to add to the pieces of the kola nuts for passing round. Every person would be expected to partake in the eating of the kola nut and other things, unless kola nut gives someone trouble if he or she takes it

Breaking Of Kolanut In Igbo Land and Native Palm Wine

There were two main types of wine used in the town ” oil palm wine “Nkwu-enu” and raffia palm wine called “Ngwo”. Others were ‘olo’ or ‘iti’ and ‘akpa-ana .. ‘Olo’ was tapped from the stem of oil palm tree while ‘akpaana’ was tapped from oil palm tree after the tree had been cut down

The wine from both trees were tapped by men who knew how to tap wine from the trees. Women did not and do not tap wine because it is an abomination for females to climb palm tree for any thing. Girls could only cut out leaves from the palms if the palm were within reach from the ground. They could also pluck the ripped fruits within reach from the ground also

Wine is used on many ceremonial and social occasions like marriages and festivals. Wine must be used for marriage engagement visitations. It is put in adage that instead of not taking wine to in-law’s visitation at all, let the wine be very bad as not to be drunk or be good to taste. Theinitial visitations for marriage must be done with oil palm wine up to a stage, before mixing hot drinks, raffia wine and beer

Presentation Of Wine and Breaking Of Kolanut In Igbo Land

The wine container would be put on the left lap and not on the back of the foot in order that the titled men and elders would drink the wine. The wine would be poured with the left hand and given out with the right hand with which it is also drank. Drinking with the left hand is regarded as great insult to the people around. Such a person will be questioned to explain why

He should explain himself and make an apology before he is allowed to continue to remain in the gathering, failing to do so the wine would be left for him to finish. The offence would be taken as a great one. Men in those days moved about with their drinking horns and calabash cups in their bags.

The elderly women also carry their own calabash containers called “Nwonya” for their own share of wine. The wine sharer always request for these horns and cups from individuals which would be filled and given back to them

The first cup to be filled is always for the person who presented the wine. Some portion of the wine from the first cup is poured back into the jar containing the wine in order to stir the whole wine in the jar

The first cup when filled is always given to the woman or a boy who accompanied the presenter or the younger person or a close relation of the presenter. That is done to clear the doubts that the wine is free from suspicion.

If wine is presented it would be the responsibility of youths to pour out the wine from the container. Another elderly youth would be called out to share the wine as would be directed by the elders around

Women do not drink sitting on the chair or standing. They kneel in front of their husbands or the relations of their husbands to drink.

A woman drink part of the wine and hand the remaining to her husband or the relation who is around. Women were usually called and given wine by the husbands or the family relations

Any person to invite a woman to drink in public must have a good reason which he could defend.

In any case, part of the wine left in the cup by the woman must be given to the husband or his relations whoever would be around

The mistake of giving the remaining out to another man is taken very serious and must be corrected there and then to avoid leading to great misunderstanding. The last cup would be given to the most senior person or the landlord, it depends on the nature of the gathering

N/B: The second cup from the jar would be given to the most senior person or the landlord, depending on the nature of gathering or visitation.

Such a person would have the cup full of wine in his hand and prays for the good of the presenter and the people in general. To conclude the prayer he will pour part of the wine in front of the compound or before the deity. He will drink the remaining content and sharing will continue

When the wine will be getting to finish the person who poured out the wine would pour out the wine and fill a cup. This last cup would be given to the landlord or to the eldest person.

The container or the Jar would be laid down on the floor with about a cup of wine remaining in it or a little more than a cup. The person who poured out the wine from the jar had that remaining wine. He would be entitled to drink it or to give it to any person he like.

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