Igbo new year started from 18th February 2022 according to Gregorian Calendar

Obinwannem News Igbo new year started from 18th February 2022 according to Gregorian Calendar

The first month begins in the third week of February, marking the beginning of the Igbo new year.

The Nri-Igbo calendar year corresponding to the Gregorian year of 2012 was originally scheduled to begin on February 18 (an Nkw day in the third week of February) with the annual year-counting festival known as Igu Aro.

The Igu Aro festival, held in March, marked the moon year as the Nri calendar’s 1013th recorded year.

Igbo calendar:

The Igbo calendar is the traditional calendar system of Nigeria’s Igbo people.

The calendar has 13 months (afo), 7 weeks (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.

Onwuejeogwu reported the names of these months (1981).

Some Igbo communities have attempted to convert the thirteen-month calendar to a twelve-month calendar in accordance with the Gregorian calendar.

Because the calendar is neither universal nor synchronized, different groups will be at different points in the week, or even the year.

Nonetheless, the four-eight day cycle serves to synchronize inter-village market days, and significant parts (such as the Kingdom of Nri) share the same year-start.

Months and meanings

1, Ọnwa Mbụ
2, Ọnwa Abụo
3, Ọnwa Ife Eke
4, Ọnwa Anọ
5, Ọnwa Agwụ
6, Ọnwa Ifejiọkụ
7, Ọnwa Alọm Chi
8, Ọnwa Ilo Mmụọ
9, Ọnwa Ana
10, Ọnwa Okike
11, Ọnwa Ajana
12, Ọnwa Ede Ajana
13, Ọnwa Ụzọ Alụsị

Market days

Igbos have four market days per year: Eke, Orie, Afor, and Nkwo. According to the Igbo calendar, the market days are listed in the following order:

1, Eke
2, Orie
3, Afor
4, Nkwo

Each community in Igboland has a market named after one of the four market days mentioned above, for example, Eke market or Afor market.

A week (Igbo: Izu) has 4 days (Igbo: Ubochi) (Eke, Orie, Af, Nkw), seven weeks make one month (Igbo: nwa), a month has 28 days, and there are 13 months in a year.

An extra day has been added in the last month (an intercalary day). The priests, or Dibia, are the traditional timekeepers in Igboland.

A week (Igbo: Izu) has 4 days (Igbo: Ubochi) (Eke, Orie, Afo, Nkwo), seven weeks make one month (Igbo: onwa), a month has 28 days, and there are 13 months in a year.

An extra day has been added in the last month (an intercalary day). The priests, or Dibia, are the traditional timekeepers in Igboland.

Months (Ọnwa) Gregorian equivalent

1 Ọnwa Mbụ (February–March)
2 Ọnwa Abụo (March–April)
3 Ọnwa Ife Eke (April–May)
4 Ọnwa Anọ (May–June)
5 Ọnwa Agwụ (June–July)
6 Ọnwa Ifejiọkụ (July–August)
7 Ọnwa Alọm Chi (August to early September)
8 Ọnwa Ilo Mmụọ (Late September)
9 Ọnwa Ana (October)
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: Afo to the north, Nkwo to the south, Eke to the east, and Orie to the west.

Chineke (Faith and Destiny) created these fishmonger spirits in order to establish a social system throughout Igboland.

While there are four days, they are divided into “major” and “minor” cycles, resulting in a longer eight-day cycle.

The Igbo calendar is not universal, and it has been described as “not something is written down and followed.” Rather, it is observed in people’s minds.

Date-based naming

Although it is no longer common, newborn babies are sometimes named after the day they were born.

Mgbeke (maiden [born] on the day of Eke), Mgborie (maiden [born] on the day of Orie), and other names were popular among the Igbo people.

Mgbo is replaced by Oko (Igbo: Male child [of]) or Nwa for males (Igbo: Child). Nwankwo Kanu, a well-known footballer, is an example of this.

Months and their meanings

The months listed below are from the Nri-Igbo calendar of the Nri kingdom, which may differ from other Igbo calendars in terms of naming, rituals, and ceremonies associated with the months.

Onwa Mbu – First Month

The first month begins in the third week of February, marking the beginning of the Igbo new year. The Nri-Igbo calendar year corresponding to the Gregorian year of 2012 was originally scheduled to begin on February 18 (an Nkw day in the third week of February) with the annual year-counting festival known as Igu Aro. The Igu Aro festival, held in March, marked the lunar year as the Nri calendar’s 1013th recorded year.

Onwa Abuo – Second Month

This month is all about cleaning and farming.

Ọnwa Ife Eke

Is described as the fasting period, which is also known as “Ugani” in Igbo, which means “hunger period.” It is the time when everyone must fast in sacrificial harmony to the Earth Goddess Ani.

This month is dedicated to finding one’s Ikenga through conquering personal and communal struggle, so many communities host competitive wrestling events.

Ọnwa Anọ

The planting of seed yams begins in Onwa Ano. This is the month of the Ekeleke dance festival in many communities, which emphasizes optimism, perseverance in the face of adversity, and the arrival of better days.

Ọnwa Agwụ

This month sees the release of Igochi na mmanwu, which are adult masquerades. The traditional start of the year is Onwa Agwu. The Alusi Agwu, after whom the month is named, is venerated in this month by the Dibia (priests), who specifically worship Agwu.

Ọnwa Ifejiọkụ

This month is dedicated to the yam deities ifejioku and Njoku Ji, and yam rituals for the New Yam Festival are performed.

Ọnwa Alọm Chi

This month marks the beginning of yam harvesting. This month is also a time for women to pray and meditate. The Alom Chi is a shrine or memorial that a woman constructs in memory of her ancestors.

This month is dedicated to reuniting with the ancestors through the breaking of kola and communion with them. Onwa Alom Chi is also dedicated to venerating mothers and motherhood, honouring womanhood, remembering one’s ‘first mother’ (the woman from whom all humanity and creation descended), and connecting one’s children, including those yet to be born.

Ọnwa Ilo Mmụọ
A festival called Önwa Asatọ (Igbo: Eighth Month) is held in this month.

Ọnwa Ana
Ana (or Ala) is the Igbo earth goddess and rituals for this deity commence in this month, hence it is named after her.

Ọnwa Okike
Okike ritual takes place in this month.

Ọnwa Ajana
Okike ritual also takes place in Ọnwa Ajana.

Ọnwa Ede Ajana
Ritual Ends

Ọnwa Ụzọ Alụsị
The last month sees the offering to the Alusi.

Festivals

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.

Mazi Akachukwu Udoka Obinwannem News writers / 21/02/2022

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