New Yam Festival is a thanksgiving festival otherwise known by different names among various sub-ethnic groups in Igboland. Igbo New Yam Festival, ”Iri Ji Ohuu” ”Ikeji” ”Iwa Ji” is one of the most important and Most Celebrated festivals in Igboland, The Iri ji festival which is an annual cultural festival of the Igbo people held at the end of the rainy season between late July to October is practiced throughout Igbo Land and beyond.
The New Yam Festival ”Iri Ji Ohuu” symbolizes the conclusion of a harvest and the beginning of the next work cycle, The essence of the Festival is to officially present the newly harvested yams to God and the ancestors of the land. The festival is also an avenue to thank God for sustaining the life of the farmers, the indigenes of the land and the farm product (yam) through a successful planting season.
The New Yam Festival ”Iri Ji Ohuu” is a unifying factor within various communities in Igbo land.
On that day of the festival, the most fattened yam tubers donated by an accomplished Di Ji will be presented to the Eze after which the festival begins with the breaking of kolanuts by the traditional ruler of the community and later the slicing and consumption of roasted yam tubers with palm oil. The condiments usually used to cook the tubers of yam for a New Yam Festival are usually Fresh Palm Oil, Salt, Utazi, Pepper, Onions and Crayfish, among others. Two special delicacies usually prepared on that ceremonial day include: Boiled White Yam (with its tubers) coupled with its red oily sauce; and Yam Porridge.
Highlight of the New Yam Festival is the cutting and Eating of the new Yam, Royal Dance, Cultural Dance, Masquerade Parade & Dance and musical rendition by various cultural groups in the community.