The Unique and Interesting Idoma Funeral Rites

The Unique and Interesting Idoma Funeral Rites

Idoma is a significant tribe in Benue State, Nigeria. It is Benue’s second most widely spoken language. It is also the second-largest ethnic community in Benue state. Benue State is divided into three (3) zones: A, B, and C. The Tiv control Zone A and B, while Zone C is controlled by the Idoma. In this article, I will be sharing with you how the Idoma funeral rite is.

Idoma Funeral Process

The Idoma funeral rite is frequently followed by other traditional activities and involves a lot of procedures. In Idoma land, men and women, youths and children have various burial standards.

When an elderly person passes away in Idoma land, it is normally the duty of the clan’s oldest man, who is normally the first son or daughter of the deceased, to deliver the awful news to the community’s elderly. This is usually done with kola nuts and palm wine, which alerts the elderly that their father has passed away.

Afterward, the elderly will sit down and propose the burial arrangements. Sometimes, they may give the deceased family a few days to pick out a favorable date to avoid clashing with the community activities.

Once the date has been approved by the grieving family, the elders usually mobilize the community youth to begin excavating the grave. The culture demands that the youths should be given a he-goat, food, and drinks after or during the digging process.

But as soon as an old person stops breathing, their body is routinely taken to a mortuary although it is inappropriate to start a funeral service for an adult on the day of his or her death. The purpose of keeping the body in the mortuary was to allow time for a suitable funeral, as well as to avoid the smell and rotting of the body. But there is a local way of preserving the corps due to a lack of medical facilities such as a mortuary.

However, it depends on the family status. Whereas, if a youth gives up the ghost, they are buried instantly without time wastage because the culture doesn’t usually permit teenagers to be taken to the mortuary.

The process of preservation might also be carried out by family members in a specific local manner, such as smoking the dead body or undergoing embalmment, which would only keep the corpse from stinking or rotting for a few days.

The Idoma funeral rite usually takes place within two or three days of the obituary being published. A day before the final funeral ritual, the body is taken from the mortuary to the deceased’s home, and wake-keeping arrangements begin, which always start at night and last until daylight.

However, an elderly man or woman’s body must be buried with a white linen cloth in Idoma land. If a family member has died, the first son is called “Okpra”, and the first daughter is also called “Ada”, his wife, and his son’s in-laws must provide one white linen cloth. White linen cloth is used to cover or wrap the corpse before placing it inside the casket.

Also, only two linen clothes are essential for the burial; the rest can be kept and sold afterward. However, older adults are buried in a special black linen cloth from their first son, while younger people are buried in white sackcloth.

On the day of the final burial, the corpse is bathed by some groups of elders, after which the funeral rites commence with the family, a congregation of elders, relatives, friends, and well-wishers surrounding the casket, after which the ceremony begins with traditionalists performing rites accompanied by gunshots, and the corpse is eventually buried. But, praise God, religion (both Christianity and Islam) saved the people from these practices.

The ‘Alekwu’ cult performs rituals on the body after various arguments concerning the reason for death is reached, after which masquerades and other dancing groups frequently perform rituals on the corps.

In a case study of Christianity, a clergy frequently perform prayers and services, followed by offerings and tributes from family, relatives, friends, and well-wishers as a gesture of affection and a final goodbye.

Male corpses are been buried facing “Eno One” (East), whereas female corpses are buried facing “Eno Ochi” (North).

Post Funeral Rite

Following the Idoma funeral rite, the “Ai Anya” (old women in the clan) would return to the deceased’s home to warm the room and dance with the family members, sleeping there for seven or fourteen days depending on how close the relationship was.

During this time, the deceased’s children would come out one by one to dance and support the old women with money and other valuables, particularly kola nuts and drinks, at regular intervals.

In addition, depending on the status or age of the deceased, the post-burial ritual is usually held on the seventh (7th) or fourteenth (14th) day after the corpse has been buried.

Memorial Day

The final Idoma funeral rite, also known as “memorial,” can be performed on any day after the body has been laid to rest, but they are usually performed one year after the corpse has been buried.

During this moment of Memorial Day, the home-calling funeral rite, also known as the “manliness rite, “will be performed early in the morning on the day of the final burial and will cost the family a he-goat, rooster or male chicken .

It means calling home the deceased from his farm because, it was believed that once a man died, he would go and stay on his farm. If not, until this sacrifice is made, the man might remain there and be capable of killing his siblings in the future.

On this final day, all of the deceased’s first sons and first daughters, with a strong wrapper tied around their waist, and his friends, would prepare and walk to the deceased’s farm with holes and cutlasses, with the first son leading the way in the front during the home calling sacrifice.

The he-goat would be strangled and returned home. But if it’s a rooster or male chicken, it’ll be strangled, roasted, and eaten right there on the farm. Once that’s done, they’ll start heading back home with firewood and other items, with no one expecting to look back since it’s believed the father would follow them.

However, if the deceased’s family is upbeat, a cow can be killed and shared amongst them. However, as Christianity and Islam arose, the culture began to fade away, and as a result, no record of this tradition was ever retained.


Christianity and Islam have taken hold of the Idoma people’s beliefs, and the Idoma’s funeral rite is gradually becoming more modern. Without articles like this, no one can know how funeral rite is being performed.

The Idoma people used to grumble about the conversion of Paganism to Christianity, which went against the people’s native cultures and traditions. However, I suggest that a people’s culture and traditions should be adaptable. It should be updated regularly to reflect changes in people’s socioeconomic circumstances.

The Interesting Rites of the Idoma Naming Ceremony You Should Know

The Interesting Rites of the Idoma Naming Ceremony You Should Know

The Idoma naming ceremony is a ceremony performed to usher in a new baby to the world. Idoma is one of the languages in Benue State, Nigeria. It is the second majority language spoken in Benue in north-central Nigeria. Also, the second-largest ethnic group in Benue State. 

In terms of culture, Idoma has a diverse range of traditions. In their traditional dress, the Idoma use two primary colours: red and black. The red represents monarchy, while the black represents the soil and burial shrouds.

The Idoma people occupy nine (9) local government areas out of the 23 local governments, the Idoma local government includes Ado, Agatu, Apa, Obi, Ohimni, Ogbadibo, Oju, Okpokwu, and Otukpo local government areas. Idoma has a very large population of about 3 million people.

The people of Idoma have a traditional ruler called Och’idoma, who handles the affairs of the Idoma people. The Idoma people are unique in terms of their culture and traditions. Therefore, I will be sharing with you the unique way in which the Idoma naming ceremony is carried out. 

Idoma Naming Ceremony

A naming ceremony is a process of assigning a name to a child who has just been born. It is usually performed to welcome a new child into a family.

Idoma naming ceremony is a postnatal event that is customarily held after a child is delivered, much as it is in other cultures. It however differs from the naming ceremony in Hausaland.

The birth of a child into an Idoma family is a thing of joy as the entire family is excited most importantly, giving glory to God for the gift of life and the sound delivery of the baby. Therefore, they don’t hesitate in celebrating the baby and the mother in an event known as the naming ceremony.

However, this procedure can be influenced by the religion of the parents, traditional worshipers or Christian worshipers, and others. Furthermore, the Idoma naming ceremony is usually carried out on the seventh day of a child’s birth.

The Necessary Procedure for Naming a Child in Idoma

This process has been in existence right from the beginning. Let’s take a look at them:

Step 1: A time is set on the seventh day for the child’s birth if both parents find it convenient for them. But it’s optional, so it can be on the seventh, twelfth, or fourteenth day after the child’s birth, but originally, it is best done after seven days.

Step 2: All family members are invited from both parents, likewise well-wishers, and friends. Furthermore, the women amongst the guests usually make a certain sound as soon as the child is brought out for the naming ceremony.

Step 3: A prayer is said before the entire process begins. It’s said depending on the religious beliefs of the parents.

Step 4: Worship will be ascribed to God by an individual according to their religious beliefs.

Step 5: Both the mother and father are asked to speak, after which the naming proper begins.

Step 6: An elder or a pastor depending on their religion takes the baby and asks the people in attendance to say a collective prayer for the child – praises, and prayers are offered for the blessing of a newborn baby.

Step 7: Afterwards the name of the child is called out, which is chosen based on the agreement of the father and mother. Both parents express their love and commitment to their child, recognize the role of family and friends, and express hope for their child’s future.

Step 8: Palm oil will be brought closer to the baby, after which a drop will be put in the baby’s mouth and everyone present will taste the oil, as a sign of blessing for the baby. After that, the celebration begins, which means dancing and eating, followed by receiving gifts from well-wishers.

Step 9: Finally, everyone who took part in the naming ceremony is rubbed with white powder.

However, on that day of the naming ceremony, the child is expected to be circumcised if he is a male, and the ears of the female are pierced (optional). Oftentimes, this is done in the early hours of the day before the naming ceremony properly begins. 

Essentially, the ideas for the Idoma naming ceremony are tailored to the religion of the parents. Unless the parents are deeply religious or culturally inclined, it is not surprising that some parents name their baby at the time of birth.

Perhaps, you’re unsure of what name to give to your child, check out the names below and their meanings for both masculine (males) and female (feminine).

Native Idoma Male Names and Their English Meaning

1. Ameh: A strong man/ Man of wisdom.
2. Akum: My own
3. Adole:  Father of the house
4. Adokole: The man of the house
5: Abahi: Someone born with a silver spoon

Native Idoma Female Names and Their English Meaning

6. Ada:  First daughter
7. Ene:  Mother
8. Enayi: Mother of Children
9. Ehi: Gift
10. Enuwa: Their mother


The Idoma people’s mode of naming a child isn’t complicated but very easy. Also, you don’t have to gather a crowd before the naming ceremony is valid. Therefore, it’s within an affordable budget of how much it costs to raise a child in northern Nigeria.