By Okey Obiozo
Umatu is the festival in Onitsha that commemorates the harvest of Corn (Maize,) it is held after the harvest of Maize. This is why according to Ezennia Obiozo Erokwu of Isiokwe, the major delicacy during the festival is Nni-oka (Corn Meal), regarded as the main food of Onitsha people, made from corn and served with Ogbono (Draw- Soup).
Though other delicacies and assorted drinks are available, Nni-oka is served in surplus as a major part of the festivity.
Furthermore, it is the first of the festivals preceding Ofala and it is celebrated in turns. The Obi of Onitsha is the first to celebrate the harvest of Corn in a year by inviting his subjects to his palace as his guests.
As the Obi has set the ball rolling, it becomes the turn of the Okpalas who incidentally are the Diokpas of the nine villages of Onitsha.
Thereafter, it becomes the turn of the respective Ndiches to partake in the festival in their capacities.