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In ethics, value denotes something degree of importance, with the aim of determining what action or life is best to do or live, or at least attempt to describe the value of different actions. It may be described as treating actions themselves as abstract objects, putting value to them. It deals with right conduct and good life, in the sense that a highly, or at least relatively highly, valuable action may be regarded as ethically ―good‖ (Adjective sense), and an action of low, or at least relatively low, value may be regarded as ―bad‖. (Wikipedia)
Values are important and lasting beliefs or ideals shared by the members of a culture about what are good and desirable. Values have major influences on people‘s behaviours and attitudes and serve as broad guidelines in all situations. (BusinessDictionary.com)
Tradition can be defined as pertinent, lasting beliefs, culture and rituals among a society, passed down from one generation to another imbued with the concrete or abstract qualities or injunctions that are regarded as supernatural from God, gods, goddesses, heroes, legends, humans, animals and plants. They include symbolic representations and activities in events, festivals and rituals comparable with the sacred activities of the – Asaa Traditional Festival of Nkpologue (Ezugu 6).
Traditional Values are those physical or abstract qualities possessed by particular elements, events, rituals or phenomena held in high-esteem, respect and obedience by individuals. Such values govern and regulate the physical and psychological behavior of individuals living in a particular culture or a geographical area.
Africans as we know are a resilient people, and over time they have developed value systems and ways of coping with life and maintain their communities and to survive great hardships either in the African continent or in the Diaspora. The traditional life of the clan in most tribes of Africa has, as its core value, protection of the family and perpetuation of the tribe. In his traditional life the African holds certain things to be of great value. It is these values which give him a distinct cultural personality and enable him to make some contributions to world knowledge, history, philosophy and civilization. It is not my task in this study to articulate all the cultural values of the African, but only the dominant ones.
One of the foremost traditional values of the African is having a large family. Children are of supreme value to the African. His primary purpose for marriage is children and to have as many of them as possible. This is the reason why polygamy or the union of one man with several women still holds great attraction for him, and also why the birth rate in Africa is among the highest in the world. The fact is that the African still counts his blessings by the number of children he has, whether they are educated or not, rich or poor, healthy or sick, well-fed or hungry. The African smiles at the sight of his numerous children and is unmoved at the turmoil at his gate as he has a lot of arrows in his quivers.(Seo Ogbonmwan, 2008).
Respect for elders:
Another great value in traditional Africa is respect for old people (―Senior Citizen‖), particularly one‘s parents, grandparents and relatives. The elders are revered by the young as the grey hair is associated with wisdom and God‘s blessings. The respect and honour bestowed on the ancestors percolate through the old people—one‘s parents, grandparents and other relatives—as living embodiments of wisdom and of the good moral life who are expected sooner or later to join other good ancestors in the land of the ―living dead‖. Old age therefore is an important value to the African. Even the children look forward to old age unlike now when hormones are being taken to remain forever young. (Seo Ogbonmwan, 2008)
As part of the respect for elders, the Benin people of southern Nigeria have a unique way of respecting their elders and identifying their family of origin people say La tose (Edohen of Benin), La emore (Eni of Uzae(Ijare) , La Umogun (Royal blood from Eweka 1) La Ogiesan (Ezomo of Benin) of which there are 56 of them in total. These salutations are in electronic from at (www.edoglobalorganization.org).
Worship of Ancestor:
―Igba Evo‖- A day when special homage is paid to all ancestors. ―Igo Idi and Ihe Nshi‖, that is, sacrificing to the dead priests and elders of the clan in commemoration of their past roles as keepers of the conscience of the clan when they were alive. ―Ahor Nna‖, on this day, Ahor, everyone whose father (Nna) is dead, sacrifices to him to enlist his help and protection. (Ezugu 12-13).
The worship of our ancestors is the basis for the honour and respect accorded to old people in the traditional Africa culture is their closeness to the ancestors, for in his, ontological conceptual scheme the African places his old relatives on his great hierarchy of beings.
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