The people’s pride in their culture and history whether in Diaspora or in the homeland draw parallels with the ancient Delphi in Greece inscriptions of:
1. Know Thyself
2. Nothing in excess
In order to take one’s place in the world with confidence, one needs to know oneself; the people know very much the Kingdom’s heroic past and traditions. Aside from the Benin Bronzes which recorded some of the kingdom’s achievements, oral traditions passed down successfully through the ages preserves the history well too. The Kingdom’s people know themselves very well and are very proud of their ancestors’ achievements.
The lesson from the ancient world ‘Know thyself and show thyself’ is evident in their opulent red coral fashion.
On the principle of nothing in excess, the Benin culture continue to reinvent itself by adapting to changes in the world around it e.g. in the marriage ceremonies. An Edo wedding combines traditional Edo ceremonies with Western style Christian ceremonies which they take great care not to mix on the same day. The marriage ceremonies are spread over a couple of days so that the celebrants can observe all aspects of both cultures. On different days they give their full attention to their traditional ceremonies and only when these are completed, do they turn to and complete the western religious ceremonies.
The Kingdom’s story continues to evolve, its script continually added to by
influences from developments in the world around it e.g. in trading with the Portuguese in the 14th century onwards, they adopted and used firearms in warfare; with the British Empire taking over, they embraced
Christianity and new administration system, now with digital advancement,
the people continue to remain open to change in order to better themselves.
The Red coral Kingdom’s principles live, richer and grander in culture than ever before.