Bishop Okoye Ascribes Tradition to God as Adazi- Nnukwu Celebrates New Yam Festival

The auxiliary bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Awka, His Lordship Most Rev. Jonas Benson Okoye, has attributed different human traditions to God, saying that tradition belongs to God and to whom it will return to.
He stated this while speaking to Fides on the importance of sustaining the tradition of New Yam Festival at St. Andrews Catholic Church, Adazi-Nnukwu in Anaocha LGA of Anambra State, during the maiden New Yam Festival organized by the new leadership of Adazi-Nnukwu Town Development Union and the thanksgiving Mass for the successful installation of Igwe Prof. Augustine Ikechukwu Obiekezie, the Adama of Adazi-Nnukwu.
He maintained that the motive of the festival in different communities that celebrated the feast was to appreciate God who made it possible for the people to experience a bountiful harvest. According to the auxiliary bishop, people at the beginning of every planting season went to God, seeking for a good harvest after which they returned to God to offer thanks.
He said that the attitude of appreciating God started from ancient times when people still believed in different oracles they believe derived their strength from the big God known as Chineke or Chukwu. He emphasized the need for people to develop the mind set of appreciating any favour they received either from God or their fellow human being, pointing out that it provoked more benefit and blessing.
He described the New Yam Festival as an important tradition which should be promoted and maintained as people during the celebration offered quality thanks to the God of harvest that had control over different atmospheric conditions and who owned everything under the earth.
He noted that the thanksgiving Mass with which the Adazi-Nnukwu Community started the celebration of the festival, was the community's little way of thanking God for a bountiful harvest.
He said that such bountiful harvest should not be linked to what the farmers enjoyed alone but also to progress which people experienced in their different occupations and businesses which they believed were synonymous with bountiful harvests.
He stressed the importance of culture in the religious life of the people of Adazi-Nnukwu, noting that the belief of the people in a big God called Chineke, dated back to time.
The Catholic prelate expressed the interest of Catholics in promoting the cultural and traditional beliefs of people as it was responsible for the identity which people enjoyed in society.
He said the Church was never against culture and tradition, except the ones which contradicts the gospel of Christ.
He advised people to associate themselves with culture and tradition which were in line with the teachings of the Church and the Gospel of Christ as contained in the Holy Bible.
He then urged them to dissociate themselves from the negative ones as they had different negative connotations and ways of hurting the believers in years to come.

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