In the Igbo culture, Ikenga is the god of strength and war. It is a horned deity and one of Igboland’s most powerful and respected gods.
Ikenga is a personal embodiment of human endeavor, achievement, success, and victory. The title is grounded in the belief that a man has the power to accomplish things in his hand. It also governs the industry, farming, and blacksmithing, and is celebrated yearly with an annual festival. The titleholders believe that the title brings wealth, fortune, and protection.
Men of good repute and men who have shown unarguably good character in their communities earn the title of Ikenga. The title is also a staff of authority for Igbo Kings.
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The two-faced Ikenga is the oldest concept of its type in Igboland. It is a two-faced god; with one face looking at the old year while one face looks at the new year. This is the basis of the oldest Igbo calendar.
Ikenga requires consecration before usage. Normally, the god is consecrated in the presence of one’s kinsmen or age mates by the lineage head. Offerings of things like yam, cock, wine, kola nut, and alligator pepper are sacrificed to it.
The Ikenga is maintained, kept, or owned by men. It is also occasionally kept and owned by women of high reputation and integrity in society.