MAMBILLA NEW HARVEST FESTIVAL (KUM) CORN.
Comr. L N. NJIABON
New corn festival is one of the popular feast in Mambilla, which is usually celebrated yearly The festival is as old as some community in MAMBILLA land itself.
THE ORIGIN OF CORN IN MAMBILLA
When corn was first discovered in MAMBILLA, people were eager to take it as food because of hunger but they were at the same time afraid of death, since they didn’t know if it would be edible. Tungbo, & daga, Boma, People, being the eldest lineage in MAMBILLA , were asked to taste the corn. According to history,tungbo, daga, boma, because of fear of death, in turn shifted the risk of tasting the corn to Vir, the smallest and the least in MAMBILLA in those days..Vir People, according to information, obediently took the risk of testing the corn. The whole community waited for ten market days to know if they will die. But finally vir people survived the risk- they did not die. Then other communitiesnin Mambilla joined them.
Today, however, the entire MAMBILLA people is still giving the virPeople that respect, hence they are the first and the only clan(out of the so many sub-lineages/Clans in MAMBILLA land) that will harvest and display the New corn harvest festival according culture, but unfortunately people have forgotten about the New corn harvest Festival.
In the past, the new corn harvest festival, like every other part in mambilla land, used to go with some sacrifices to appease the god of corn”for a good harvest. The farmer after the successful harvest in the farm, will come back home and slaughter a cock(chor) at the back of his house. The cock will be used to prepare with the new harvest corn”, which is share to elder people in the family, and community. for prayer and blessing, children are also invited to partake in the feast.
But today, the story is no more ,Christianity & Islam has rose, tackled and stippled Mambilla culture, some of the negative conditions and practices of her culture and religion. Today with Christianity & Islam in mambilla we no longer practice our culture, as it use to be in the past, we see it now that is evil,
A lot of social changes in the cultural and religious practices in mambilla have been recorded. Committed mambilla Christians & Islam embrace the Christian faith, Islam the Muslim faith to the utter neglect of the negative mambilla culture. Without doubt, mambilla has witness a social changes In her culture,
In theory of social change, Murdock has the view that cultural changes occurs whenever social behavior persistently deviates
from established cultural habits in any direction, it results in modification first in social expectation and then in customs,
beliefs and rules. This is indeed the case in mambilla today.
NEW CORN HARVEST FESTIVAL It was or/and is one of the most important festivals in MAMNILLA LAND in those days. It is the day an mambilla Man/Woman receives and hosts a feast with his/her grandchildren, relations or descendants. The feast, according to an oral information, is only restricted to relatives, descendants and grandchildren , it is also associated with making friends and associates. Mew corn harvest festival is so important to the extent that, on that day, even the elders still visit their maternal home.
Although, today the story is no longer the same as it has become a story of the past, and the youths are directly or indirectly suffering its negative effect in many areas of life. For instance, a young man will engaged himself in a secret serious relationship with a young girl from another lineage which may last for about 3-4 years before they agreed to marry each other. But sadly their parents will stop the marriage, because they are from one descendant.
Apart from the joy that goes with the feast, the festival, however, helps one to recount his/her descendant. It also helps in the area of marriage or relationship as it was and it is still regarded as an abomination for an mambilla man or woman to marry or have sexual contact with his/her blood relation below his/her fifth generation.
The festival is as old as the community itself. An oral tradition reviews that when the children are going to visit their maternal Parents, they go along side with some items like; fowls head, the jaw etc. The first son hands over the head of the fowl to the eldest brother of his mother while the second son hands over the jaw to his maternal parents. As they are going back, the following items, such as (VIAH) GINI PIG, farm products such as garden eggs;egg,groundnut , mushroom etc. will be given to them as gifts from their maternal parents.
None have associates The festival with diabolic activities. Although there could be some doubt, if there is no fetish activity attached to the feast going by its tradition(like; Children visiting their maternal parents with fowl’s head, the jaw etc)
However way one may look at it, the festival calls for a serious attention. It therefore needs a total religious re-visitation. if there is any mambilla Cultural feast or festival that ought to be modernized so that It can sooth the life and activity of the modern man, I think it should be a new corn harvest festival. Our ultimate objective should be to bring back the spirit of culture, thereby putting into control, our relationship with one another.
NEW CORN HARVEST FESTIVAL IS NOT DIABOLIC.