Categories: Ebira Lifestyle

Economic Activities of the Ebira People in Ebiraland: Weaving, Farming, Blacksmithing and Beyond

Introduction

The Ebira people known as “Anebira” hail from Kogi State in Nigeria. The Anebira are renowned for their vibrant culture and rich economic activities. The economic activities of Anebira are rooted in the primary occupation passed across generations in Ebiraland by their ancestors before the advent of modernization and technology. This article explores the economic endeavors of the Ebira people, Through their entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to preserving cultural traditions, the Ebira people have crafted a unique economic landscape that reflects their heritage and contributes to the local and national economy.

Primary Occupations of the Ebira People

Agriculture

The ancestors of Ebira people known as Ohiku Anebira in ebira tribe are believed to be farmers. Farmers in Ebiraland are called Anaare. They have a strong agricultural tradition and engage in various farming activities which they have transferred from generation to generation. They are known to be very good at cultivating yam. Some say the reason Ebira people are big growers of yam is because they love eating pounded yam. Some say it is because they have been blessed by Ori (harvest deity) with the skills of cultivating yam. And truthfully, the Ebira people celebrate Echori known as “the yam festival” annually, to appreciate Ori for blessing them with a robust yam harvest. They also cultivate other crops such as cassava, sesame seed, maize, millet, and groundnuts, which serve as staple foods and sources of income. The fertile lands surrounding the Ebira communities provide favorable conditions for agricultural productivity, enabling them to contribute significantly to the food supply in Kogi State.

Trade and Commerce

The Ebira people have a long history of engaging in trade and commerce. The art of trading are believed to belong the Ebira women. They are the major participants in the markets. When the household head, the father of the house, comes home with his farm harvest, it is the duty  of the wife to take some to the market to sell. It is also customary for the wife or women to go to the market to buy anything the family needs. With their strategic location along important trade routes, they have become key players in the regional trade network. Ebira traders are known for their business acumen and are involved in the exchange of goods such as livestock, agricultural produce, textiles, and traditional crafts. They participate in local markets and travel to neighboring states to establish trade relationships, fostering economic growth within their communities.

Artisanal Crafts

The Ebira people possess remarkable skills in various artisanal crafts, including, blacksmithing, , carving and. These crafts play a vital role in their economic activities, as they produce aesthetically pleasing and functional items that are in demand both locally and beyond. The artistry and craftsmanship of Ebira artisans have earned them recognition and patronage, boosting the local economy and providing livelihood opportunities.

Blacksmithing as a primitive craft in Ebiraland

Blacksmithing in Ebira tribe is called “Uhi” and the blacksmiths are called “Umuhi“. They were also known back then as Aningyere meaning the people of Igyere. Blacksmiths in the primitive days of Ebiraland were ascribed very high scocial status in the community. This is because they are the fabricators of almost all the tools, equipments, and materials relating to metal used in the community. The livelihood of the farmers depend on the blacksmiths. They depend on the blacksmith to make them hoe, cutlasss and other equipments. The hunters also depend on them to make hunting tools. The households depend on them to make household equipments made of metals such as pots, spoons etc. They are held to be of high repute in the society.

Cloth Weaving

One of the most captivating economic activities among the Ebira people is cloth weaving, predominantly performed by Ebira women. This traditional craft holds deep cultural significance and has been passed down through generations. Using locally sourced materials such as cotton and silk, Ebira women skillfully weave intricate patterns and designs, creating unique fabrics with vibrant colors. These fabrics are used to make clothing, ceremonial attire, and other textile products.

Traditional Cloth Weaving of Ebira Women

The art of cloth weaving is a cherished tradition among Ebira women. It is a skill acquired through years of apprenticeship and practice, showcasing the rich cultural heritage of the community. The weaving process involves various steps, beginning with the harvesting of cotton or silk from the fields. The fibers are then spun into threads using traditional spinning wheels or hand spindles.

Once the threads are ready, they are dyed using natural pigments extracted from plants, roots, and bark. The dyeing process is often accompanied by songs, dances, and communal gatherings, reflecting the social significance of cloth weaving within the Ebira society.

After dyeing, the threads are carefully arranged on a loom, and the weaving begins. Ebira women skillfully maneuver the threads, creating intricate patterns and designs that are unique to their cultural identity. The weaving process requires precision, patience, and creativity.

The finished fabrics exhibit a remarkable blend of colors and patterns, reflecting the artistic talents of the Ebira women. These fabrics are not only worn as clothing but also serve as important symbols of cultural identity during ceremonies, festivals, and other significant occasions.

Art and Entertainment

Another primitive occupation of Anebira is Entertainment. Ebira people love entertainment and back then entertainers were high in demand. They are needed to perform in festivals, rites, and important ceremonies. The entertainers include drummers, singers, and dancers. Although innovation has taken over today in entertainment, it is still a big practice in Ebiraland to generate income.

Conclusion

The economic activities and occupations of the Ebira people in Ebiraland reflect that they are vibrant and diverse ethnic group engaged in various sectors. The Ebira people have historically been known for agricultural livelihood, with farming forming a significant part of their economic activities. They cultivate crops such as yam, cassava, maize, and vegetables, contributing to the local food production and subsistence economy.

In addition to agriculture, trade and commerce play a crucial role in the economic landscape of Ebiraland. The Ebira people, especially the women, are known for their entrepreneurial spirit and involvement in small-scale businesses. Markets, such as the popular Okene Market, serve as the major hub where a wide range of goods are exchanged in Ebiraland

Furthermore, crafts and handiwork hold importance in the economic activities of the Ebira people. Skilled artisans engage in traditional crafts such as pottery, weaving, wood carving, and blacksmithing. These crafts not only contribute to the local economy but also showcase the rich cultural heritage of the Ebira people.

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