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.The traditional time keepers in Igboland are the priests or Dibia.
The new year in Igbo calendar starts on the 3rd week of February.
|No.||Months (Ọnwa)||Gregorian equivalent|
|1||Ọnwa Mbụ||(3rd week of February)|
|3||Ọnwa Ife Eke||(April)|
|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)|
Months and meanings
The first month starts from the third week of February making it the Igbo new year.
This month is dedicated to cleaning and farming.
Ọnwa Ife Eke
Is described as the hunger period.
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, of which the month is named after is venerated by the Dibia (priests), of which Agwu is specifically worshiped by, in this month.
This month is dedicated to the yam deity ifejioku and yam rituals are performed in this month.
Ọnwa Alọm Chi
This month sees the harvesting of the yam.
Ọnwa Ilo Mmụọ
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.
Ọnwa Ede Ajana
Ọnwa Ụzọ Alụsị
The last month sees the offering to the Alusi
The names of the day's have their roots in the mythology of the Kingdom of Nri. Eri, the sky-descended founder of the Nri kingdom, had gone on to break the mystery of time and on his journey he had saluted and counted the four days by the names of the spirits that governed them, hence the names of the spirits eke, orie, afọ and Nkwo became those of the days of the week. These spirits, who were fishmongers, were sent down by Chukwu (Great God) in order to establish markets throughout Igboland which they did by selling fish.
An example of a month: Ọnwa Mbụ