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Kola Nut - Óji

The kola nut is the fruit of the kola tree, a genus (Cola) of trees that are native to the tropical rainforests of Africa. The caffeine-containing fruit of the tree is used as a flavouring ingredient in beverages, and is the origin of the term “cola”.



The first taste is bitter, but it sweetens upon chewing. The nut can be boiled to extract the cola. Kola nut is known within the western world as an ingredient with soft drinks however it has incredible significance with Igboland.



The Breaking of the Kola Nut

Igbo elders believe that once the Kola nuts have been blessed with incantations (which can only be said in Igbo) then and only then will the visitors feel ensured that they are well and truly welcomes.

The Kola Nut tradition is used for a variety of events, but it is a principal when welcoming guest to a village or house. Igbo elders believe that once the Kola nuts have been blessed with incantations (which can only be said in Igbo) then and only then will the visitors feel ensured that they are well and truly welcomes.


The Kola Nut Ceremony



During a Kola Nut ceremony typically the host presents a plate with a number of kola nuts (ranging from 2-16) to the leader of the delegation. The leaser will then take the plate and show it to the elders (senior members of his entourage).


To acknowledge that he has seen the plate he briefly touches the plate with his right hand before passing it on (so on and so forth)


“Oji luo uno okwuo ebe osi bia”

When the plate is then returned to the host he will take the plate to the visitors and would typically say

“Oji luo uno okwuo ebe osi bia” translated means “When the kola nut reaches home it will tell where it came from” This proverb says that the visitor needs to show the kola nut to his people at home as proof of having visited this village.

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