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The Ceremony Made in the Iriabo Rite of Passage

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The Iriabo tribe is a group of people located in Nigeria, Africa. The Iriabo tribe is also known as Iriapu. Boys and girls have rituals to become men and women, which means that they must participate in ceremonies to reach adulthood. In order to reach adulthood, boys and girls must be at the age of 14-16. Some things that are being done in this ceremony is girls will learn traditional songs and dances and boys will be put into a sacred forest to jump over bulls. Two other tribes also join the Iriabo tribe during this ceremony: the Waikiriki and Okrika who are neighbors with the Iriabo. Iriabo people believe that once boys and girls complete these rituals, they become new people and start a new life, which means they have officially become men and women.

In order for boys to reach manhood, they are taken to a sacred forest. When they are in the sacred forest, they must experience “symbolic death.” Symbolic death means that they are going to become adults like a newborn and start a new life. Sacred forests prohibit hunting, but an exception is made in which one must hunt a lion to become a man. They could only hunt using a spear. In the sacred forest, they have to jump over 20-40 bulls. Boys must be strong and must take risks to do this ritual. Boys are not allowed to cry or express pain while doing these rituals. If they do cry or express pain, they will not be accepted as an adult. Once this ritual is done the young boys will be known as a men.

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In the Iriabo tribe, the girls must spend several weeks in a room with rich local foods wearing copper coils around their legs to restrict movement. Only girls are allowed in the room. They are in the room for 1-6 months. While wearing the copper, they have to learn traditional songs and dances from the elders in the village. The girls also are taught self discipline. Unlike the boys they are allowed to express pain and cry. They cannot refuse to participate in the ceremony. If they refuse they will not be accepted in the tribe and will not become women. The girls in this tribe are also known as the Iria. Iria came from the name of the tribe Iriabo. Once the girls are finished with rituals they are allowed to get married.

In the Iriabo tribe, the boys are taken into a sacred forest. They have to jump over 20-40 bulls. The girls spend several weeks wear copper around their legs and learn songs and dances they are also taught self-discipline. At the end of the girls ritual they are allowed to get married. When young boys and girls have completed these rituals, they have officially become men and women. Boys and girls must complete the tasks in their ceremony without complaining or refusing, to show their strength to become men and women. This tribe was interesting because of how they did these rituals. It was interesting why they did these ceremonies. The boys and girls are finally prepared to take on the responsibilities of being adults.


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