Photo Credit: Jessica Felicio
Twin Capital Igbo-Ora, Nigeria Celebrates World Twins Festival
In Nigeria, a growing city called Igbo-Ora is known as the twin capital due to it having the highest rate of twin births in the world. The town is the home of the annual World Twins Festival, which celebrates the many twins that reside in their community. The landmark event is a week-long festival in which the local community looks to their twin neighbors to pay their respects for the phenomenon that has become a cultural norm.
From October 3rd through 9th, the twins of Igbo-Ora bond through intellectual debates, cultural games, and other festivities. They get together to follow local traditions and honor Thanksgiving Sundays. These are days in which they attend church dressed in their finest clothing and make offerings and donations. Other church services are also held during which cleansing rituals are practiced.
Although no scientific justification has been produced to explain the anomaly that exists in this Nigerian community, many locals believe there is a spiritual reason the city has so many identical twins. Others believe the high rates of twin births can be attributed to a diet rich in okro leaves, which happen to be the main ingredient in one of the region’s most popular traditional dishes, ilasa soup.
However, it is worth noting that although the cities surrounding Igbo-Ora all follow the same habit of eating these prickly green leaves, their twin populations do not even come close to matching the consistent amount of twins to be found in the twin capital.
During this year’s World Twins Festival, National Hospital Abuja will be highlighted due to their groundbreaking achievement of separating conjoined twins. In November 2019, Goodness and Mercy Ede were successfully separated with the help of over 70 hospital workers. Prior to this achievement, this type of surgery had never been done in the country.
The World Twins Festival has become a popular attraction drawing many tourists who wish to experience the twin capital of the world for themselves. There, seeing double is not out of the ordinary.