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The Igbo calendar (Igbo : Ògụ́àfọ̀ Ị̀gbò[ citation needed ]) is the traditional calendar system of the Igbo people from present-day Nigeria. The calendar has 13 months in a year (afo), 7 weeks in a month (onwa), and 4 days of Igbo market days (afor, nkwo, eke, and orie) in a week (izu) plus an extra day at the end of the year, in the last month. The name of these months was reported by Onwuejeogwu (1981).
Igbo is the principal native language of the Igbo people, an ethnic group of southeastern Nigeria. The language has approximately 44 million speakers, who live mostly in Nigeria and are primarily of Igbo descent. Igbo is officially recognized as one of the three major official languages in Nigeria. Igbo is written in the Latin script, which was introduced by British colonialists.
A calendar is a system of organizing days for social, religious, commercial or administrative purposes. This is done by giving names to periods of time, typically days, weeks, months and years. A date is the designation of a single, specific day within such a system. A calendar is also a physical record of such a system. A calendar can also mean a list of planned events, such as a court calendar or a partly or fully chronological list of documents, such as a calendar of wills.
Although worship and spirit honoring was a very big part in the creation and development of the Igbo calendar system, commerce also played a major role in creating the Igbo calendar. This was emphasized in Igbo mythology itself. An example of this is the Igbo market days of which each community has a day assigned to open its markets, this way the Igbo calendar is still in use.
Some Igbo communities have tried to adjust the thirteen month calendar to twelve months, in line with the Gregorian calendar.
The calendar is neither universal nor synchronized, so various groups will be at different stages of the week, or even year. Nonetheless the four-eight day cycle serves to synchronize the inter-village market days, and substantial parts (for example the Kingdom of Nri) do share the same year-start.
The Kingdom of Nri was a medieval polity. The kingdom existed as a sphere of religious and political influence over a third of Igboland, and was administered by a priest-king called an Eze Nri. The Eze Nri managed trade and diplomacy on behalf of the Nri people, a subgroup of the Igbo-speaking people, and possessed divine authority in religious matters.
Igbos generally have four market days, namely: eke, orie, afor and nkwo. The market days according to the Igbo calendar follow each other sequentially as shown below:
The Igbo people are an ethnic group native to the present-day south-central and southeastern Nigeria. Geographically, the Igbo homeland is divided into two unequal sections by the Niger River – an eastern and a western section. The Igbo people are one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa.
In various parts of Igboland, each community has a market named after the aforementioned four market days, e.g., Eke market, Afor market.
In the traditional Igbo calendar a week (Igbo : Izu) has 4 days (Igbo : Ubochi) (Eke, Orie, Afọ, Nkwọ), seven weeks make one month (Igbo : Ọnwa), a month has 28 days and there are 13 months a year. In the last month, an extra day is added.[ clarification needed ] The traditional time keepers in Igboland are the priests or Dibia.
Igboland, also known as Southeastern Nigeria, is the homeland of the Igbo people. It is a non-governmental cultural and common linguistic region in southern Nigeria. Geographically, it is divided by the lower Niger River into two unequal sections – an eastern and a western section. It is characterised by the diverse Igbo culture and the equally diverse Igbo language.
|No.||Months (Ọnwa)||Gregorian equivalent|
|3||Ọnwa Ife Eke||(April–May)|
|7||Ọnwa Alọm Chi||(August to early September)|
|8||Ọnwa Ilo Mmụọ||(Late September)|
|10||Ọnwa Okike||(Early November)|
|11||Ọnwa Ajana||(Late November)|
|12||Ọnwa Ede Ajana||(Late November to December)|
|13||Ọnwa Ụzọ Alụsị||(January to early February)|
The days correspond to the four cardinal points, Afọ corresponds to north, Nkwọ to south, Eke to east, and Orie to west.These spirits, who were fishmongers, were created by Chineke (Faith and Destiny) in order to establish social system throughout Igboland.
While there are four days, they come in alternate cycles of "major" and "minor", giving a longer eight day cycle.
An example of a month: Ọnwa Mbụ
The Igbo calendar is not universal, and is described as "not something written down and followed ... rather it is observed in the mind of the people."
Newborn babies are sometimes named after the day they were born on, though this is no longer commonly used. Names such as Mgbeke (maiden [born] on the day of Eke), Mgborie (maiden [born] on the Orie day) and so on were common among the Igbo people. For males Mgbo is replaced by Oko (Igbo: Male child [of]) or Nwa (Igbo: Child [of]). An example of this is Nwankwo Kanu, a popular footballer.
The following months are in reference to the Nri-Igbo calendar of the Nri kingdom which may differ from other Igbo calendars in terms of naming, rituals, and ceremonies surrounding the months.
The first month starts from the third week of February making it the Igbo new year. The Nri-Igbo calendar year corresponding to the Gregorian year of 2012 was initially slated to begin with the annual year-counting festival known as Igu Aro on February 18 (an Nkwọ day on the third week of February). The Igu Aro festival which was held in March marked the lunar year as the 1013th recorded year of the Nri calendar.
This month is dedicated to cleaning and farming.
Is described as the fasting period. It is the period in which all must fast in sacrificial harmony to the goddess Ani of the Earth.
Ọnwa Anọ is when the planting of seed yams start.
Ịgọchi na mmanwụ come out in this month which are adult masquerades. Ọnwa Agwu is the traditional start of the year.The Alusi Agwu, after which the month is named, is venerated by the Dibia (priests), by whom Agwu is specifically worshipped, in this month.
This month is dedicated to the yam deity ifejioku and Njoku Ji and yam rituals are performed in this month for the New Yam Festival.
This month sees the harvesting of the yam.
A festival called Önwa Asatọ (Igbo : Eighth Month) is held in this month.
Ana (or Ala ) is the Igbo earth goddess and rituals for this deity commence in this month, hence it is named after her.
Okike ritual takes place in this month.
Okike ritual also takes place in Ọnwa Ajana.
The last month sees the offering to the Alusi.
Two major festivals are the new year festival (Igu Aro), due around 18 February, the planting season when the king, the Eze Nri in the Nri area, tells the Igbo to go and sow their seed after the next rainfall, and the Harvest festival (Emume Ọnwa-asatọ) in the eighth month.
The Nri-Igbo yearly counting festival known as Igu Aro marked 10 March 2012 as the beginning of the 1013th year of the Nri calendar. The festival was delayed due to other events.
Imöka is celebrated on the 20th day of the second month.
Odinani comprises the traditional religious practices and cultural beliefs of the Igbo people of southern Nigeria. Odinani has monotheistic and panentheistic attributes, having a single God as the source of all things. Although a pantheon of spirits exists, these are lesser spirits prevalent in Odinani expressly serving as elements of Chineke, the supreme being or high god. Chineke is a compound word encompassing the concept of chí is the creator (nà) is a verb meaning 'that' while ékè means create. Chineke therefore means the Creator or the God that created all things. The concept of Chúkwú was largely propagated by the Aro-Igbo of Arochukwu in eastern Igboland who wielded much spiritual force over the eastern Niger Delta in the 18th century due to their operating of the Ibini Ukpabi oracle.
Arochukwu, sometimes referred to as Arochuku or Aro-Okigbo, is the third largest city in Abia State in southeastern Nigeria and homeland of the Igbo subgroup, Aro people. It is composed of 19 villages with an overall leader called Eze Aro. Arochukwu is a principal historic town in Igbo land. It was also one of the cities in the Southern protectorate targeted by the British colonial government. Several historic tourist sites exist in the city. The mystic Ibini Ukpabi shrine, the slave routes and other relics of the slave trade era are frequently visited by tourists. It is also in the food belt of Abia state where most of the staple foods are.
Nnewi is the second largest city in Anambra State in southeastern Nigeria. Nnewi as a metropolitan city encompasses 2 local government areas, Nnewi North, Nnewi South; Nnewi North is commonly referred to as Nnewi central, and comprises four autonomous quarters: Otolo, Uruagu, Umudim, and Nnewichi. Nnewi North also includes Ichi, an autonomous neighbouring town. The first indigenous car manufacturing plant in Nigeria is located in the city while the first wholly made-in-Nigeria motorcycle, the 'NASENI M1' was manufactured in Nnewi.
Arondizuogu (Aro-ndizuogu) is a town inhabited by the Igbo subgroup, the Aro people in the Imo State of Nigeria. The Arondizuogu community is believed to have migrated from Arochukwu in the present Abia State to their present settlements in across three local governments in Imo state. These include Okigwe, Ideato North and Onuimo Local Governments, although there are others of Aro descent in other local governments in Imo State.
Nri is an Ibo city-state in Anambra State, Nigeria. The Kingdom of Nri was the center of Ibo culture, religion, and commerce West Africa. It was the seat of a powerful and imperial state that influenced much of the territories inhabited by the Ibo of Awka and Onitsha to the east; the Efik, the Ibibio,to the South; Nsukka and Asaba, and the Anioma to the west. Politically, Nri is known to be the most origins of the Eze kingship in Ibo societies. But Nri and its rulers were also known for their reverred traditional religious institutions that instilled both awe and fear in those who made pilgrimages to the shrines. The religious practices believed in the existence of one supreme creator God, 'Chukwu Okike'; but the Eze Nri was seen as a potent who had powers to undo evil and cleanse the land from abominations and taboos.
Umukabia is a village in the Ohuhu community of Umuahia North Local Government Area, Abia State, Nigeria. There are also several other villages in Nigeria with the same name. Umukabia comprises 3 small villages namely; Okpuala being the eldest, followed by Umuagbom and Azummiri. Within these 3 small villages are 6 compounds-For Okpuala, they comprise-Agbom Na Omurumba and Umu Eze Aguma. Azumiri is regarded as a single compound. In the case of Umuagbom, there are three compounds, namely, Umuezeocha, Ibeneze also Uhu Ukwu Na Ezegiri and Ukwu Udara. Noteworthy is that each of these compounds finds further sub-divisions, comprising family units, each headed by a patriarch, usually the oldest male member of that family unit. This oldest male is also regarded as the ultimate repository of the knowledge, cultures and traditions of the family unit and sometimes Umukabia as a whole. He performs all the rituals and ceremonies regarding the compound and seeks reciprocals with the ancestors through oracles and ritualizations. Consistent with the acephalousness of the Igbo, these elders or patriarchs constitute Umukabia's democratic dispensation and policy making unit, in that they collectively make and take decisions on behalf of the entire Umukabia community.Whatever decisions they make is binding across the village and even beyond to Diasporic sons and daughters of Umukabia. Umukabia's renowned market day is known as Orie Umukabia Orie. Umukabia has a major river known as Ikwu, which traverses the villages in Umuire, Umuegwu Okpula Former Eastern Nigeria Premier, Dr. Michael Iheonukara Okpara's village and flows into the famous Imo River basin Imo/Abia States, Nigeria.Legend has it that Umukabia sits on a large rock which has made it impossible for bore holes to be successfully dug in any part of the village for the purposes of extracting water. The village holds annual ceremonies known as Iri Ji festival and Ekpe festival which is termed as the village Christmas and holds on an Orie market day after Christmas but never on a Sunday.
Ekwereazu is a town in Mbaise, Imo State, Nigeria. It is made up of six communities: Oparanadim, Mpam, Ihitteafoukwu, Umuokirika, Obohia and Ekwereazu Town.
Aguleri, meaning "Agulu of Eri", is a town in southeastern Nigeria. It is a major cradle of Igbo civilization, and the first settlement of Eri (Eri-aka) was in Aguleri. Its Ezeora dynasty, which has produced 34 kings to date, is one of the oldest in eastern Nigeria. Aguleri is located in the present Anambra State, and forms part of Igboland. The town has a population of about 890,000.
Oru na Nneude is a village in Ahiara, Imo State, Nigeria. It is divided into two sections, Oru and Nneude, the division between which was apparent as early as the late 1950s. The population of Oru is over 5,200, and Lude over 4,700.
Alusi or Alushi are spirits that are worshiped and served in the Igbo religion. There are many different Alusi and each has its own purpose and function.
Igbo culture are the customs, practices and traditions of the Igbo people of southeastern Nigeria. It comprises archaic practices as well as new concepts added into the Igbo culture either by cultural evolution or by outside influence. These customs and traditions include the Igbo people's visual art, music and dance forms, as well as their attire, cuisine and language dialects. Because of their various subgroups, the variety of their culture is heightened further.
The New Yam Festival of the Igbo people is an annual cultural festival by the Igbo people held at the end of the rainy season in early August.
Igbo Eze South is a Local Government Area of Enugu State, Nigeria. Its headquarters are in the town of Ibagwa-Aka.
Igbo names are traditionally and historically constructed in a fashion similar to Arabic naming convention & old European naming. In this convention there are no family names, instead one is known through their immediate male lineage.
Ogbunike is a town in the Oyi local government area of Anambra State, Nigeria.
Omuma town is the headquarters of Oru East, a local government area of Imo State in south eastern Nigeria. Is located at latitude 5.5594893° N and longitude 6.9720482° E. Omuma town is one of the oldest towns in Imo State. It's bounded on the north by Mgbidi on the east by Amiri and Otulu, on the west by Nempi Omuma has four communities, Abia-Omuma,Ozuh-Omuma, Umuhu-Omuma and Etiti-Omuma.
Afiaolu is a traditional festival held annually in Nnewi around August. The Afiaolu festival commences on “Eke” day with what is traditionally described as “IWAJI” and Ikpa Nku, this heralds the availability of new yam as well as thanksgiving to God. The festival includes a variety of entertainments including performance of ceremonial rites by the Igwe (king), cultural dance by girls and masquerade dance.
Nando is a town in Anambra East Local Government Area of Anambra State. It is located at the Awkuzu junction boundary with Nteje, Umuleri and Igbariam.