The Ubulu Way of Life


As Ubulu-Ukwu is located in a dense and fertile rain forest, bronze casting, orthodox health services, agriculture and hunting were the commonest occupation of early Ubulu men. The women were good in the weaving culture and traditional midwifery. The most common agricultural products were yam, cassava, palm fruits/wine, etc. The commonest designs of weave are, mkpulu oka, kilikili star, aka ngwose, and mkpopu pattern of weave. The eaving culture is attained using a locally assembled weaving machine known as “Nsụ”.

The men when they attain maturity wore a piece of weaved white cloth, usually tied around one shoulder or simply tied around the waist. The women wore a piece of breast cloth and “mpe” a short skirt. The women also adorned jewelries made from ornamental beads, ivory, cowries, and precious stones or shell. They also used “Uli” a seed dye, to make paintings on their body to enhance maiden beauty. The “Ikolo” young men wore canine teeth of the big cats they have killed as ornament around their necks as sign of strength and valour.

The earliest Ubulumen were self sufficient through the practice of subsistence agriculture, blacksmithing, arts including sculpture, making of percussion drums etc.
The men who are farmers often have a well built “Ụnọ-Ubi” farmstead. The men leave home to their farmland which is often hours walk from their home on “Olie” market day and return home on “Nkwọ” day. The fourth day which is “Eke” is a resting day. That completes the one week in the calendar of an Ubuluman. He cooks, eats and sleeps in the farmstead from Olie to Nkwor, tending to his farm.

The commonest food to the men was soup and pounded yam. This food is prepared in turns by the wives and served for the whole family. The men also cooked for their wives at the “Unor Ubi” farmstead. The native soup of Ubulu is “Ogwulu” large volume banga soup. The soup is advancement from the smaller volume “Ofe akwu” banga soup, and yam is used as thickener. Palm fruits are squeezed to make the soup which is usually served in big ceremonies with a large, calabash spoon called “Oziozi”.

The social lifestyle and recreational amusement of the natives is very well organized. The “Ụmụaka” juveniles had a wide range of childhood play including, funcho, nzizo, egwu nni-aja, oga, (girls only) etc. The elders take delight in watching the children play and relive their childhood years. The young man engaged in wresting and other activities. The greatest weapon of teaching that parents employed was the art of storytelling. Their wards are meant to learn from the mistakes of the characters depicted in the stories.

Ubulu-Ukwu kingdom is composed of about twenty five lineages, which are led by a “Dịọkpa” who is a sage and oldest surviving male in the lineage. He forms a cabinet of four elders and “Oga” laison officer who all assist in decision making and smooth administration of the lineage. The lineage leadership carries out administrative, legislative and some judicial functions. For instance, the lineage leadership can execute punishment to any individual or family that went afoul of tradition, excommunicate and impose huge fines.

There is also a “Ikolo leader” youth leader who mobilizes the youths for several activities including, clean up exercise, community policing etc. this group are the judiciary arm of the lineage. The other leadership apparatus is the family leadership. This position is called “Okpala Ụnọ/Dịọpka Ezi n’unor”. He is often the oldest surviving male in the family.

Religious practices and worship may vary from family to family. Some families have a shrine for the god they chose to worship God through. The shrine is often bequeathed to them by their ancestors but the lineage has one shrine in the place called “Ishu-Ani” where they occasionally gather for cleansing and thanksgiving to Olisebuluwa. The lineage Diopka is the head of every group and he reports to “Ndi Oli Nzele Ani” the council of Chiefs.

The leadership for women is headed by the “Ada Ebo” oldest woman from the lineage. She is in charge of coordinating the women folks and maintaining cultural values. For instance if a woman commits adultery, it is in her jurisdiction to carry out all the necessary sanctions including propitiation of adultery. The lineage leader of all the wives into a lineage is called “Anasi-Ebo”. She is the oldest wife in that lineage. A maiden is referred as nwagbo whereas a married woman is referred as Okposho-Oba.

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