The concept “Erigwara” is an Mbaise dialectical coinage. The term has it’s etymological root in the verb ‘to eat’. In Mbaise vocabulary, the lexicon, Erigwara will denote the attitude of visiting neighbouring communities during the Christmas festive period to eat what was literarily eaten in your home.
With the passage of time, the conceptual meaning evolved to capture both ‘the first or initial ceremonial visit’ and its ‘revisiting event’. So today in the contemporary Mbaise employment and usage, Erigwara will mean every ceremonial visit during the Yuletide according to market days.
ERIGWARA is strictly an Mbaise expression of solidarity during the Yuletide. Just like the Jewish Passover, Erigwara is meant to deepen the people’s affection for themselves; appreciate God for His faithfulness all through the 12 running months by showing love to people. It is a time when communities in respect to their last market days of the year show love and charity to their visitors.
Just like the Jewish Passover when neighbouring villages converge in Jerusalem for the feast of weeks, during the ERIGWARA event, the invitation to take part in the feast is unofficial. Villages within and outside the neighbourhood will always work out the erigwara dates from the market calendars.
This is the highest form of solidarity in Mbaise land. As a people famously known for the adage “ÒHURU ÒBIA GBAA NKWA”, the Mbaise people will always prepare to receive, feast and thrill their guests to lavish meals. For some families that are bouyant enough, Erigwara is more or less transformed to a banquet where every guest is feted like a prince.
It is almost held in disappointment to over expected visitors that never turned up, and the accompanying question will be “Ibiara anyi ERIGWARA? For instance, in Mbutu ancient kingdom, a seemingly oil rich settlement in the Southern pole of Mbaise, ERIGWARA is famously taken to it’s digital level.
This community with over six market squares, designed to celebrate their ERIGWARA four times during the Yuletide. How is this done? Each village in the community cerebrates according to their ancient markets.
As the euphoria is in Mbutu so it is in other parts of Mbaise. For instance on December 31, 2019 all villages that habour Eke nta markets rolled out their red carpet. The logjam at Eke Ahiara junction will worth it as numerous commuters from within and across Mbaise thronged the famous community to feast.
At strategic bypass, Mbaise born musicians will be on stage to entertain our visitors. This will include Òku Nwamama, Nkwo Nnabuchi, Olololo and all PMAN members. A similar scenario is played out on Afogbe, Aforu, Nkwogwu, Eke Nguru and Orieukwu. The holdups are quite appreciated.
- Script Credit: @Dan Ugwu