There is an adage that says he who brings Kolanut bring life.
Today, we are going to be discussing the significance of kola-nut (Evwe) in Urhobo land.
In Urhobo land, Kola-nut (together with alligator pepper and bitter kola are optional) symbolizes plenty, and good auspices among the Urhobo people, breaking of Kola nut is a crucial aspect of the rite of welcome and the ritual which precedes community and clan meeting and establishes a symbol of trust, peace and feeling of communality.
In Urhobo land, there is no traditional meeting or gathering without the presence of kola-nut.
Kola-nut does not sit by the side of a gathering. It must be at the center of the gathering and in some cases, on the table before the eldest man in the gathering. It must be the center of attraction.
Kola-nuts are used in all our ceremonies such at marriage, burial, communal gathering, festivals, etc.
In Urhobo land, there are lots of nuts, ranging from the coconut, walnut, groundnut amongst others. But there is a saying in Urhobo that no matter how big a coconut is, it cannot be used in place of kola-nut in a gathering of the Urhobo people.
There are different kinds kola-nuts base on their part. There are the ones with two part, three parts, four parts and even five or six part.
In a regular gathering in Urhobo land, how many parts a kola has is of no significance except in a marriage setting where the kola with four parts is required to administer prayers for the couple. In the absence of the four parts kola-nut, the one with five parts will be recommended. This is so because, one part of the four parts will be used to make the sealing prayers for the couple, one for the bride’s parents, one for the groom’s parents and one for the oldest man in the gathering.
In Urhobo nation, it is generally believed that all Urhobo men are potential kings or chiefs hence the traditional Urhobo coinage Komo_komo_re_Urhobo_ovie. For this reason, all presented kola-nuts must be supported or wedged with money and drink.
There are two sets of money you drop alongside a plate kola-nut(s). first, you drop money for the eldest man to break the kola and pray. Then, you support the kola-but with more money for the kola-nut not to roll over the plate.
When Kola-nut is offered in a public ceremony be it marriage, burial, festival or other traditional functions, the youngest is required by custom to take the plate (saucer) of kola-nut(s) to the eldest, who receives the plate keeps the money for the breaking of the kola and appoints an emergency treasurer to hold the money used to wedge the kola-nut(s).
He gives order to the youngest to breaks the kola nuts into bits then the eldest shares amongst all present with prayers offered for various blessing. During the sharing of the kola-nuts, the host is the first to be prayed for and given kola-nut before others (sometimes the eldest person of the host home). The eldest man who does the breaking of the kola-nuts comes last. Remember no junior man performs this exercise in the presence of an elder, except he is an Ovie.