In a statement to the press in Awka, Don Onyenji, the Commissioner for Culture, Entertainment, and Tourism in Anambra State, announced that the state will host its grandest and most vibrant new yam (Iri Ji) festival on October 21.
The festival will take place at the prestigious Alex Ekwueme Square in Awka, with the distinguished presence of the Obi of Onitsha and Chairman of Anambra Traditional Rulers Council, Igwe Alfred Achebe, as the honorary guest.
Onyenji emphasized the significance of the Iri Ji festival, as it commemorates the bountiful harvest season and highlights the pivotal role of yam as the primary crop in Igbo land.
He also highlighted Anambra’s rich cultural heritage, which encompasses various intangible traditions and ceremonies, with the new yam festival being the most popular one. Typically, this festival is celebrated between August and November each year.
The Commissioner reassured that Anambra is a peaceful and secure state, extending a warm invitation to all to join in the festivities.
Onyenji said: “In line with Governor Chukwuma Soludo’s agenda for reviving and promoting the Igbo cultural heritage, I want to inform you that the Anambra Iri Ji festival will be held on October 21.
“As a state, Anambra is selling the festival to the world as one major cultural event; so, the 2023 Iri Ji festival will be one with a difference.
“All the traditional rulers in the state and town union leadership will be there, and the 21 local councils will be on parade.
“The festival is all about love and sharing; we invite all Anambra and non-Anambra citizens to come and witness the cutting of yam, as well as the celebration associated with it.”
Onyenji also stated the governor, who would be the chief host, would recognize the person with the biggest yam with the ‘king of yam’ (Eze Ji) award.