Some of the festivals in Ihiagwa include;
THE ODU FESTIVAL
The Odu festival of the Ihiagwa people is celebrated by the Ihiagwa people to mark the new yam festival. This new yam festival otherwise called the iri ji ohuru in Ibo language is an age long culture of all the Ibo speaking ethnic-group of the south-eastern Nigeria of which Ihiagwa is part of them. In celebrating this festival every Ibo speaking ethnic-group in the south-eastern part has a peculiar way of celebrating theirs and has special names to identify it.
The ODU festival is a great festival of the Ihiagwa people and it is used to signify the go ahead of the indigenes to eat the new yam. During this period, the new yam has matured, The Aguzieafor’s in the Ihiagwa autonomous community i.e. the people from Ibuzo in Ihiagwa sounds the gong to alert the other villagers and the nearby communities that the time to eat the new yam has come. This is otherwise called the Okokorongu i.e. the sounding of the new yam festival gong. At the sound of this gong the indigenes will now match to Iriamogu, which is the kingship seat of the Ihiagwa people and also the first village i.e. the Opara of the Ihiagwa people.
After that, the Ezeario which is the chief priest of the Otamiri deity (Otamiri is the chief deity of the Ihiagwa people) and also the head of the Oha Ihiagwa performs some traditional rights and the new yam festival or eating rather takes off.
THE ONUNUN OPARAOGU OTAMIRI FESTIVAL
The Oha Otamiri is also the Oha of Ihiagwa i.e. those elderly men chosen from each village of the Ihiagwa autonomous community.
Otamiri as earlier said is the chief deity of the Ihiagwa people, while the Oha Otamiri is the Oha’s i.e. the elders from the different village units of the Ihiagwa autonomous community.
Amongst the Oha Otamiri is the Ezeario who is the head of the Oha’s.
This Ezeario could either be from the Iriamogu village i.e. The Akufor family to be precise or he could be from the Osunkwo family in Ibuzo Village. The Ezeario is vested on an individual by reincarnation. That is to say that any Ezeario is a reincarnate of the previous Ezeario.
This Onunun Oparaogu Otamiri festival is usually performed during the crowning of the Eze i.e. The King.
THE ONUNUN OPARAOGU OTAMIRI PILGRIMAGE
This is a yearly pilgrimage embarked upon by the traditional Chief priest of the Oparaogu deity and also the Oha Otamiri’s in Ihiagwa.
During this pilgrimage, there is usually a four day non-farming and an eight days of incessant rainfall otherwise called the MGBADA IHIAGWA, after which the traditional chief priest must have come back.
This journey is usually began by the traditional Chief Priest of Oparaogu who goes by night on the Afor market day. Yes it has to be by night because Oparaogu is a very powerful deity and this is usually called NIGHT JOURNEY.Also the traditional Chief priest has to go first before the Oha Otamiri’s so as to make the way for them. The Oha Otamiri’s goes by day and on the Nkwo market day. This is the reason why the local market of the Ihiagwa people is on an NKWO MARKET DAY and called NKWOUKWU IHIAGWA and also the Nkwo is also a day of rest for the Ihiagwa people when they are forbidden to farm.
It is wise to mention the fact that any body who must embark on the Onunu pilgrimage must be free of guilt in all it’s ramifications since the deity Oparaogu is not a God of evil. The Traditional Chief Priest of Oparaogu usually warns them about this on his return because after he must have returned that they are allowed to go.
This Onunu Oparaogu pilgrimage marks the end the Igbo calendar year and the beginning of the new year/new yam festival in Igbo land. It is after the Oha Otamiri’s must have come back, and announced their return that every community in the Owerri senatorial zone is free to chose their new yam festival date and also other festivals such as the ORU OWERRI.
Hence that is the reason why the Ihiagwa people are called the AGUZIEAFOR’S i.e. calendar keepers