4/12/2011

Ile Omugwo

This is an age old Igbo custom.
When a woman is pregnant and her due date approaches, her mother comes in to 
stay with her for the birth and at least 2 months post-partum. Her mother (the grandma) bathes the baby, does all the cooking, and also bathes the new mother helping her massage the necessary areas with hot water.
A special delicacy the woman eats at this time is ji mmiri (mmili) oku uda i.e
yam peppersoup with 2 special spices called uda and uziza.
In Anambra area, it is called ofe nsala,  a very light thickner( e.g a piece of
mashed yam) is used and is usually eaten with pounded yam.
The soup is filled with dried fish (mangala), stock fish (okporoko) and sometimes
beef. It is hot hot hot and the hot pepper and uda and uziza they say is expected to
help the woman's body heal from the stress of childbirth.

The new mother is not expected to lift a finger during omugwo or go outside. She just eats and nurses her baby and others take care of the chores and she cannot have sex with her husband during this period.
How wonderful, how the forefathers knew even before medical science about postnatal.
Most of them put on weight at omugwo! :-)

Some new mothers who do not have the luxury of their mom being with them at
Omugwo struggle by themselves. A caring husband will cook the ji mmili oku  with uda and uziza and okporoko for his wife and bring it to the hospital each time
with plenty of left over at home.

Traditionally, after the mom leaves, the mother in law then comes to stay for her
own omugwo visit. Women whose mothers are bereaved usually have an aunt or older sister do the omugwo. When the visit is over, the grandma or whoever did the omugwo goes home with new wrappers, blouses and a lot of other goodies because it's assumed that the new baby has ruined all her wrappers with urine and feces.


5 comments:

  1. good job... it like you hv been with us(igbo's) all ur life. I like this......

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  2. Just randomly came across this and I love this!!

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  3. I was looking for nsala recipe when i came across this. This is lovely

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  4. Thanks to y'all. I am happy that you like it.
    Dalu.

    ReplyDelete