By Izunna Okafor, Awka
Government has said that only local delicacies will be served at 2023 Anambra combined New Yam Festival, as no foreign cuisine will grace the table that day at the occasion.
The Anambra State’s Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Mr. Don Onyenji stated this while briefing newsmen in his office in Awka on Thursday ahead of the event. The decision, he said, is in line with and a practical manifestation of the state’s commitment to preserving its rich cultural heritage.
Commissioner Onyenji, who said the 2023 Anambra New Yam Festival is the first of its kind, expressed his enthusiasm for the Festival’s cultural significance and its role in unifying the people of Anambra.
He highlighted the importance of embracing local traditions and cuisine as part of the celebration, reemphasizing that only local delicacies, such as yam (prepared in different forms), tapioca (àbàchà), ụgba, among others, would be served at the Festival, in addition to chilled fresh palm wine to water it down, to make the day a memorable cultural experience.
“The New Yam Festival is not just a celebration; it is a testament to our commitment to preserving and promoting our cultural heritage,” Commissioner Onyenji said.
He added that the event will feature arrays of cultural displays, including traditional wrestling, masquerades, cultural dance, parade by all the 21 local government areas of the State, among other side attractions
Furthermore, the Commissioner unveiled an exciting competition that is set to add an extra layer of excitement to the festival, as he said farmer with the largest yam in Anambra State will be honored with a mouthwatering prize during the event.
He also expressed appreciation to Governor Chukwuma Charles Soludo for his interest and tireless efforts to boost leisure, tourism, and general infrastructural development in the state, as could be seen in the transformative works going on in different sectors of the State.
According to him, the event, scheduled for Saturday, October 21, 2023 at the Alex Ekwueme Square in Awka, is part of Governor Soludo’s vision to showcase and celebrate the rich Anambra/Igbo cultural heritage to the world.
He further said that while Governor Soludo will serve as the Chief Host of the event, the Chairman of the Anambra State Traditional Rulers Council and Traditional Ruler of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe, will serve as the Royal Father of the Day.
Onyenji added that he and the state’s Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hon. Tonycollins Nwabunwanne will be the co-host of the event filled with splendor and spectacle, hinting also that participation at the event is free and open to all, while every community is also encouraged to also showcase their local cuisine at the well-garnished celebration.