Igbo culture encompasses the way and totality of how we, Igbos, live our day-today lives. The aspects of our culture we shall look at today are those that concern childbirth. How do we view Omumu (childbirth) in Igbo land? What is Omugwo? Of what significance is Igu Aha (Child naming)? Why do male members of our culture undergo Ibi Ugwu (Circumcision)?
Let’s briefly run through these aspects a little more deeply to find answers to the questions raised in the preceding paragraphs.
- Omumu (Childbirth):
This is the most precious aspects our culture. Each time an Igbo person thinks about marriage, bearing children first comes to mind. The significance of omumu to our lives as an ethnic group is that it ensures the survival of our cultural species.
From the time an expectant Igbo woman is delivered of her child until 28 day afterwards, she is not expected to engage in any tedious activity. For that reason, her husband is expected to invite her mother over to his place so she could stay with his family for 28 days or as long as the Omugwo The significance of this practice is to have somebody take care of his wife and the newborn till the nursing mother recovers fully.
- Igu Aha (Child Naming):
This implies giving a name to a newborn. The significance of Igu Aha is to make the child distinguishable and distinct from other members of the family.
- Ibi Ugwu (Circumcision):
Male newborns in Igbo land are traditionally circumcised on the 8th day after birth. One of the cultural significances of Ibi ugwu is to firmly connect every newborn son of Igbo heritage with the realities of life on earth. Igbo boys or men who are yet to undergo Ibi Ugwu are considered aliens or better put, strangers to the realities of life and of his people.