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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The three basic aspects of sacred meal tradition in Igbo religious culture (a case study) n. 1
Author:Ifesieh, E. IfemegbunamISNI
Periodical:Cahiers des religions africaines
Geographic term:Nigeria
Subjects:African religions
religious rituals
eating customs
Abstract:Meals are one of the essential needs of man. The author presents a close analysis of the phenomenon of the meal in order to discover the true transcendence of man inasmuch as this phenomenon embodies many authentically anthropological as well as religious values. The meal is the social centre of the religion of the Igbo of Nigeria. Related to man, meals are characterized by three basic aspects: a biological aspect (meals providing necessary nourishment which preserves man's health and well-being); a social aspect (eating and drinking together manifests mutual relationships within the family or larger groups and enhances peace and unity); and a religious aspect. In a religious context, meals become endowed with special power. Man recognizes this power and uses sacred meals as a means of either placating the gods when they are offended, or as an occasion for praying for man's needs of life. Sacred meals which imply sacrifice or ritual take place on two levels: the family level and the level of the clan and the community. There are many different types of sacred meals. Among the Igbo, sacred meals include, among others, thanksgiving meals, supplicatory meals, expiatory meals, and titlemaking meals. The author concludes with a note on the ethical code of conduct with respect to sacred meals. Ref.