The traditional Igbo way of life presented in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart is considerably different from the culture of the colonial influences which eventually settle in Umuofia. The traditional Igbo culture is marked by their belief in personal gods, called chi, over the Western Christian God; they are polytheistic rather than monotheistic. Their actions determine how their personal gods react, which resembles what Hindus and Buddhists call karma.
The Igbo culture in Achebe's novel has customs that are substantially different from those Western readers are familiar with. The Igbo men take multiple wives; the number of wives a man has is equivalent to their social standing and wealth. Other customs include the labeling of certain areas taboo and forbidden for the clansmen to visit and the importance placed upon snakes. Snakes are sacred animals in Okonkwo's village. Finally, the village follows and deeply respects the advice passed on by the Oracle of the Hills and Cave. The Oracle is hugely important in determining various decisions for the clan. These are just some of the elements of traditional Igbo life Achebe depicts.