Ethnic Composition and Culture: The inhab itants of Imo State are lgbos, a culturally homoge neous group. The lgbo language is spoken throughout the state with minor differences in dialects. The official language of the state is how ever, English. Imo State has a very rich cultural her itage. This is manifested in dressing, music, dance, festivals, arts and crafts, and the traditional hospitality of the people.
Festivals: There are many traditional festivals observed in the State. Each community has differ ent festivals celebrated in honour of ancient deities or to mark an important event in the history of the area. There are different festivals to usher in the harvest season, the most popular being the Ahiajoku Festival, which is observed in all the farm ing communities.
Music and Dancing: Imo State is rich in tradi tional music and dances, which have persisted in spite of foreign influences. The lgbos have different types of music to suit various occasions, such as work, leisure, marriage, and funeral.
Much of the traditional music is a combination of vocal and instrumental artistry, which produces a tuneful melody. Honoured traditional music and dances include Abigbo, Ekpe, Ikoro, Okonko, Mmawa, et cetera
Dress: The traditional apparel for the men is an overflowing jumper or a longsleeved shirt worn over the George wrapper, which is tied round the waist, flowing down to the ankles.
This dress is complemented with a cap and a walking stick, which serves as an instrument of support and defence. The traditional wear for the women is a blouse, worn over a loin cloth. This female outfit goes with a headtie, ear rings and necklaces.
Arts and Crafts: Traditional artists abound in the state. Works of art produced in the state include: carved doors, walking sticks of different designs, sculptures, flutes, wooden mortars and pestles, gongs, and the famous talking drums. Metal works and various types of fabrications are locally produced.
Culture: Part of the culture of the state is the lgbo traditional hospitality to visitors, which begins with the presentation of kolanuts to the visitor.
The kolanut signifies that the visitor is heartily wel comed. The ritual of the presentation of the kolanut is consummated with the offering of prayers and thanksgiving or petition to the supreme God and other deities, for the protection of the visitor and the host.
Religion: There is freedom of worship in Imo State and religion occupies a central place in the lives of the people. The people are predominantly Christians of different denominations.
There are also a good number of Moslems in the state. They live together in harmony with their Christian neigh bours. Some people in the state still cling to the local traditional religion.
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