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Rave of yuletide season in Anambra

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THE yuletide season comprises of the Christmas and the New Year celebrations. It refers to the time around the Christmas season and extending to the first and second week of the New Year, known as anuli ekeresimesi and afo ohuru in Igbo language.

Generally, it is a holiday period that is recognised for celebrations and other peculiar events. It is also the longest and most patronised period that brings a lot of people from different places and from all walks of life down to their place of nativity. So many issues and problems are revisited during this period; as it is a period that could afford to pull a people together in large numbers to form a sizeable quorum and take decisions on issues of common interest.

It is remarkable to note that ndi Igbo are dominantly residing outside Igboland in search of golden fleece, no wonder a period like this creates an enabling atmosphere for people in different places to embark on a journey home to visit and to empathise with their kith and kin  within and in other parts of the world. Everybody who can afford this leisure will not hesitate to seize the availing opportunity of the season.

Again, the yuletide is a season for assorted festivities in Igboland and every other part of the world. Many Igbo sons and daughters in other lands always find it necessary to travel to their country homes at this time to take part in different festivities lined up for this season. Such festivals, however, differ from place to place. Little wonder, major cities in Nigeria always look empty during Christmas and New Year festivities as most Igbo people travel to their homelands.

The reason is not farfetched, for the Igbo man values his homeland passionately and  life is always bubbling as people return not only to show off things they have acquired, but, also to take part in activities which have been lined up to make the period and their stay at home worthwhile.

Specifically, in Anambra State, the major festivals lined up for the year include: the Ofala festival by most communities and other cultural and social festivities.

To this end, the state government under the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs, Indigenous Artworks, Culture and Tourism spearheaded by the ebullient Commissioner, Sally Mbanefo, deemed it fit and made it a yearly affair to roll out programmes stemming from a high powered Christmas carols, art exhibitions, musical concerts, street carnivals, masquerade festivals and cultural dances, among others. This programme is coordinated in high scale by the government arm under the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs. In this year’s programme, there is corroboration with Stanel Group, a private enterprise.

In fact, the state is full of activities ranging from wedding, house dedication, chieftaincy title taking, age grade initiation, harvest and thanksgiving. More so, every successful persons in Igboland, especially those whose ‘palm kernels have been cracked by the benevolent god’ (according to Chinua Achebe) this year, see this period as a time to flaunt their successes.

One peculiar factor about this period is that there is no time in the year that could boast of massive mass return of the indigenes both at home and in diaspora and, as such, everybody looks forward to coming home to participate in some of these programmes lined up.

Fortunately, it is on record that the state Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, in many ways and forms demonstrated his strong desire for the emancipation of the people towards coming to their motherland. This informs his keen interest in sensitising  ndi Anambra in sync with the state’s programmes and projects.

He has shown support in various ways to see that the people of Anambra State are given every needed support to come home and be part of the success making of various divergent programmes and projects embarked on by his administration all through the season. Free bus services given to those coming back home; creating a conducive atmosphere for workers to enliven their yuletide celebrations, while the roads are given a facelift to ease movement and smooth sail of traffic. All these form part of the build up for the yuletide celebrations.

This period in history of the state gingers a lot of activities in various sectors of life, for instance, one can easily see a high and steady progression of structures and edifices receiving finishing touches in readiness for the festive seasons.

The market is bubbling with activities. One could see a very high level of buying and selling of goods and services in accelerated levels.

Another notable thing is that hotels are seen to be busy readying for patronage from those who want to use the hotels for the yuletide celebrations.

Tourism sites and recreational grounds do receive high patronage. More so, the towns and villages in the state do  fill up with indigenes, friends and visitors who in one way or the other, are participating in one programme or the other.

One could see bags of Anambra rice and other locally produced rice all circulating the markets.

Assorted meat brands are seen exchanging hands while the state and its great chefs are busy mustering favourite delicacies in anticipation for this festive period – this is the beauty of the yuletide season in Anambra State, the Light of the Nation, the hub of social cultural integration and emancipation in Africa.

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