The Traditional Calendar Structure Of Igbo People

Obinwannem News The Traditional Calendar Structure Of Igbo People

The Igbo calendar (Oguafo) is the traditional calendar system of the Igbo people of South-East.

The calendar has 13 months (onwa) in a year, 7 weeks (Izu) in a month, and 4 days of Igbo market days (Eke, Orie, Afor, Nkwor) in a week plus an extra day at the end of the year in the last month.

Although worship and spirit honoring was a huge part in the creation and development of the Igbo calendar system, commerce also played a role in creating the Igbo calendar. This was emphasized in the Igbo mythology itself.

For example, on the Igbo market days, each community has a day assigned for it to open its markets.

Some Igbo communities have tried to adjust the 13-month calendar to 12 months in line with the Gregorian calendar.

The Igbo calendar is not a universal one, and it’s also not synchronized. Therefore, various communities can be at various days of a week, month and year.

Nevertheless, the 4-day cycles serve to synchronize the inter village market days, and substantial parts do share the same year start.

They generally have 4 market days, these days are Eke, Orie, Afor And Nkwor. Seven weeks make one month, 28 days make one month and 13 months make one year.

The Igbo months and their equivalent to the Gregorian calendar:

Onwa Mbu (February – March)

Onwa Abuo (March – April)

Onwa Ife Eke (April – May)

Onwa Ano (May – June)

Onwa Agwu (June – July)

Onwa Ifejioku (July – August)

Onwa Alom Chi (August- early September)

Onwa Ilo Mmuo (late September)

Onwa Ana (October)

Onwa Okike (early November)

Onwa Ajana (late November)

Onwa Ede Ajana (late November to December)

Onwa Uzo Alusi (January to early December)

Adiele Afigbo (2005), identifies two major festivals that are celebrated in Igbo land, and they are:
The new year festival (Igu Aro) and the new yam festival (Ifejioku). The new year festival is usually done on February 18th. However, the Eze Nri is still responsible for declaring the festival open.

The new yam festival (Ifejioku) is also a thanksgiving festival to the earth goddess “Ani” for a bountiful harvest. Yams are symbolic in this festival because it is the major food crop of the Igbo

Nwachineke Onyeke Chekwube reporting, Obinwannem news writer/October 21, 2021.

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