Nigerian Community where Virgin girls are Paraded naked for initiation into womanhood - SALIENT TIMES ONLINE

Nigerian Community where Virgin girls are Paraded naked for initiation into womanhood

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As many would say; culture is the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society. This definition is what could be said of a particular Nigerian community where virgin girls dance naked for initiation into womanhood.

In this article we shall be introducing to you a particular town in Rivers State called Ogu, where half unclad young virgins are paraded for womanhood initiation ceremony.

The ceremony which is known asIria, is held annually for virgins between the ages of 14 to 17 and in preparation of cleaning these young virgins and introducing them into womanhood.
According to report, this practice has been on since 16th Century and it's predominantly practice by the Okirika people of Niger Delta.
The ceremony is a cerebration of feminity, preparing the tribe girls for marriage. In the course of the ceremony, ladies comes out half unclad to witness the occasion.

It's believed that as every girl child is born, they develop romantic attachment with the water spirits of the tribe. Therefore, undergoing this ritual ceremony will help the girls 'detach' themselves from the spirits so they may marry.
Initiation Process:

There are three stages in the ceremony, firstly girls between the ages of 14-17 will begin the process of becoming 'wife material'. Before they can start, they have to stand in front of their entire tribe to have their naked bodies painted and inspected to insure their virginity.

Secondly, after inspection, the girls will be held in rooms called "fattening rooms". Here they can be held in the rooms for 1- 6 months. While in the rooms, they will learn songs to sing on the final day of the ritual, these songs are believed to release the girls from the water spirits.
On the final day of the ritual, the girls will travel together down to the river while singing the songs they have learned in "fattening room". At the river, the Osokolo (senior male of the tribe) will beats the women with sticks to ward off the spirits.

Once the ceremony is over, the town square will be decorated for the girls to celebrate their transition into womanhood. When the transformed women are released, songs and drums will be played, each girl having throne like chairs to sit on with their initiation certificate in their hands for display while the guests are entertain with dance.