AeetesQ, African Homes

Brooms: The tale of Abiku and 5 hilarious uses of the broom.

Brooms are one of the primary cleaning equipment in Nigerian homes, schools and offices. They are easy to use, very affordable; They also are durable and we can use them in several ways.

Brooms: The tale of Abiku and 5 hilarious uses of the broom.
Image by Hans Braxmeier

The primary use of a broom

Broom is the manual version of a vacuum cleaner and the more local version of the plastic broom.

They make the traditional African broom out of palm rods or grass. We shred the leaves of the palm tree from the stem. The stem is dried, gathered together and bound with a string, ropes and other binding tools.

African Broom
Image by Daniel Kirsch
  • We use brooms to gathering dust and dirt.
  • We can attach a stick to brooms to use them for cobwebs
  • In some Nigerian cultures, we used specific brooms to make soup. These are shorter and firmer that than the traditional brooms used for sweeping. We mainly used them to smoothen Ogbono soup and Okoho (Benue indigenous soup).
  • Home decorations: In sophisticated European homes, they have recognised brooms for their ability to add class and beauty to penthouses and mansions.

Hilarious uses in Nigeria.

  • Broom as used for whipping terrible children: these parents have not heard of the Abiku tale, because in Nigeria, whips, Koboko, shoes and other Nigerian disciplinary tools.
  •  Used in good African proverbs: from the old Nigerian kid drama “Tales by Moonlight.” Our parents use brooms to depict the importance of unity in the family and other groups. We can easily break a single stick of broom, while we cannot break a bunch.

Nigerian Legends and folktales related to brooms

  •  When used at the wrong time, brooms can sweep away wealth and life force. Although I may not be the biggest believer in superstition in most African traditions (specifically in Nigeria), sweeping at night is anything from a bad omen to a sign of witchcraft. In other African regions, sweeping at night would cause sweep away one’s wealth and life force.
  • It is unacceptable to hit someone with a broom. This is perhaps because it links to Abiku (a belief related to children is reincarnation several times but dies at infancy or a particular age).
Image by lumpi 

All About the legend of Abiku and brooms

According to the legend of Abiku, we believe that when a child comes as an Abiku. They cause unbearable pain for the parents, especially their Mothers.

The child is marked each time they reincarnate until it becomes unbearable for the parents. They make the parents or chief priest punish the corpse of the said child. They offer sacrifices in some stories, while others believe in beating their corpse with brooms, whips and preventing them from returning.

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors 

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