Igbo calendar

The Igbo calendar (Igbo: Ògụ́àfọ̀ Ị̀gbò) 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).[1]

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.[2]

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.

Market days

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:

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

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. The traditional time keepers in Igboland are the priests or Dibia.[3]

No. 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)[1]

The days correspond to the four cardinal points, Afọ corresponds to north, Nkwọ to south, Eke to east, and Orie to west.[4] 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.[5]

An example of a month: Ọnwa Mbụ

Eke Orie Afọ Nkwọ
1 2
3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26
27 28


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."[6]

Naming after dates

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.[3][7]

Months and meanings

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.

Ọnwa Mbụ

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.[8]

Ọnwa Abụo

This month is dedicated to cleaning and farming.

Ọnwa Ife Eke

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

Ọnwa Anọ is when the planting of seed yams start.

Ọnwa Agwụ

Ịgọchi na mmanwụ come out in this month which are adult masquerades. Ọnwa Agwu is the traditional start of the year.[9][10] The Alusi Agwu, after which the month is named, is venerated by the Dibia (priests), by whom Agwu is specifically worshipped, in this month.

Ọnwa Ifejiọkụ

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.

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.

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.


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.[11]

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.[12]


  1. ^ a b Onwuejeogwu, M. Angulu (1981). An Igbo civilization: Nri kingdom & hegemony. Ethnographica. ISBN 978-123-105-X.
  2. ^ Jọn Ọfọegbu Ụkaegbu (1991). Igbo Identity and Personality Vis-à-vis Igbo Cultural Symbols. Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca, Facultad de Filosofia.
  3. ^ a b Udeani, Chibueze C. (2007). Inculturation as dialogue: Igbo culture and the message of Christ. Rodopi. pp. 28–29. ISBN 90-420-2229-9.
  4. ^ Isichei, Elizabeth Allo (1997). A History of African Societies to 1870. Cambridge University Press. p. 247. ISBN 0-521-45599-5.
  5. ^ "Aṅụ Magazine" (1). {Cultural Division, Ministry of Education and Information}. 1979: 79, 104. ISSN 0331-1937. LCCN 88659506.
  6. ^ Sylvanus Nnamdi Onuigbo (2001). The history of Ntuegbe Nese: A Five-town Clan. Afro-Orbus Publishing Company, Limited. ISBN 9789783525368.
  7. ^ "Naming practice guide UK 2006" (PDF). March 2006. Retrieved 2009-04-16.
  8. ^ "Day MASSOB Took Over Nri Kingdom". Thenigerianvoice.com. 21 March 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-11.
  9. ^ Aguwa, Jude C. U. (1995). The Agwu deity in Igbo religion. Fourth Dimension Publishing Co., Ltd. p. 29. ISBN 978-156-399-0.
  10. ^ Hammer, Jill (2006). The Jewish book of days: a companion for all seasons. Jewish Publication Society. p. 224. ISBN 0-8276-0831-4.
  11. ^ Godwin Boswell Akubue (1 January 2013). Cow Without Tail, Book 1. Dorrance Publishing. ISBN 9781434915399.
  12. ^ Emmanuel Kaanene Anizoba (2010). Ngü Arö Öka: The Öka Lunar Calendar, 2010-2021. Demercury Bright Printing & Publishing.

External links


Year 1088 (MLXXXVIII) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.


Year 1102 (MCII) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.


Year 1201 (MCCI) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.


Year 1230 (MCCXXX) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.


Year 1290 (MCCXC) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.


Year 1376 (MCCCLXXVI) was a leap year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.


Year 1419 (MCDXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.


Year 1537 (MDXXXVII) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.


Year 1554 (MDLIV) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.


2023 (MMXXIII)

will be a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar, the 2023rd year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 23rd year of the 3rd millennium, the 23rd year of the 21st century, and the 4th year of the 2020s decade.


2027 (MMXXVII)

will be a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar, the 2027th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 27th year of the 3rd millennium, the 27th year of the 21st century, and the 8th year of the 2020s decade.


2050 (MML)

will be a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar, the 2050th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 50th year of the 3rd millennium, the 50th year of the 21st century, and the 1st year of the 2050s decade.


2059 (MMLIX)

will be a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar, the 2059th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 59th year of the 3rd millennium, the 59th year of the 21st century, and the 10th and last year of the 2050s decade.


Awgbu is a town in Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra State, South East of Nigeria. The town of Awgbu had an estimated population of 120,000 as at 2006. Awgbu town shares boundaries in the West by Agulu and Mbaukwu, in the East by Ndikelionwu, Omogho and Awa, in the North by Umuawulu and Amaetiti while in the South by Nanka. The indigenes of Awgbu are the descendant of Ezekanunu. Ezekanunu has six sons from five wives: They include Ugwu, Abor, Osikwu, Ohzu and Amugo (twin brothers) and Mbulukor. Ohzu and Amugo are twins of the same mother. The practice then being that inheritance are shared (na afo nne) according to wives. Ohzu and Amugo, being that they are twins of the same mother always get a portion. This is evident in the number of five villages we have in Awgbu. The villages are five instead of six because Ohzu and Amugo which are twins are counted as one village.

The indigenous people of Awgbu are Igbo and speak Igbo language. All saints Roman Catholic Church is the seat of Roman Catholic Church in Awgbu under Archdioceses of Awka. While Anglican church also has its two major parishes in the Town, which include: Immanuel Anglican church, Saint Mark's Anglican church and other smaller parishes. Both Roman Catholic and Anglican denominations are the leading Christian families in Awgbu. Awgbu is a well Cultured Town, highly Hospitable, have deep respect for their Culture and Tradition. Awgbu indigenes are popularly known as NDI- AWGBU EBENESE.

Awgbu has Seven Primary Schools and Three Secondary Schools; One Post Office, A Micro Finance Bank Awgbu Micro Finance Bank and a Police Station Awgbu Police Station.

H.R.H. Igwe Michael Okechukwu, Atu Mgbedike Eze di Ora Mma 2nd is the Ruling Monarch of Awgbu. He succeeded late H.R.H. Igwe Micheal Ezeayom, Eze di Ora Mma 1st. who died in 1989.

Odo bridge reputed to be the 2nd longest bridge in Anambra state after that of River Niger bridge, was constructed in 2010 by the Government of Mr Peter Gregory Obi, the Governor of Anambra State. The bridge is located between Awgbu and Amaokpala and by extension to Federal Polytechnic Oko, Anambra state. Another major road is under construction starting from Eke-Awgbu Market and traverses the various communities of Ama-Etiti, Okpeze and Ndi-Ukwuenu. This road when completed shall be the shortest possible link to Enugu for Imo State Indigenes and greater part of Anambra Towns and Villages.

Awgbu has one main market that trades on a specific day of the Igbo calendar called Eke-Awgbu which trades on every Eke market day of Igbo calendar. The market is currently in a very poor and shabby state due to land disputes challenges, as being alleged that land owners have refused to release their land for construction of shopping malls and modern Market. Awgbu natives also found it difficult to dispose of their land for development, this has also hampered community developments.

Awgbu is rich in ecology and well positioned to serve as melting point for Eco Tourism. Awgbu has one of the largest Raffia Palm Plantations. This informs why Awgbu is popularly known to produce good and quality Raffia Palm wines. It is the best natural wine producer in the whole of South East Nigeria. Awgbu is richly endowed with such natural mineral deposits as Natural Gas, Clay, Bentonite, and Lead. Awgbu has five Lakes.


Ekwereazu (or Ekwerazu) is a town in Mbaise, Imo State, Nigeria. It is made up of six communities: Oparanadim, Mpam, Ihitteafoukwu, Umuokirika, Obohia and Ekwereazu Town.

Ihitteafoukwu has four villages, namely, Ogbor, Umueze, Umunomo and Umuchieze.

Okirika-nwe-Eke is made up of Umuevu and Akpim which previously were part of Umuokirika. The central market called Eke Okwe gives the community its name. The community residents are mostly Roman Catholics with two big churches but Igbo traditional ceremonies like Iri Ji, Mgba and Ekpe are observed. The majority of the youth reside outside the town but maintain contact with their home town. The yearly reunion is evident during Christmas season when the village can barely contain its members returning from around the world.

There is intermarriage within the community and this takes a tripartite form between Lomoma [Umuevu], Mpe na Ezeala [Umuevu] and Akpim. Intramarriage within each of the three communities is not permitted, considered a taboo, and has been so for over a century.

Ekwereazu has a government-funded secondary school and two primary schools.

Mpam is made of two parts namely: firstly Mpam Isieke consisting of Umuegwu, Nnemere and Umuaju and secondly Mpam Owere which comprises Umuohuo and Okponkume. The people are predominantly Catholic with a sprinkling of Anglicans, Pentecostal and a handful of atheists. They celebrate Iri ji Mbaise on the 15th of August every year and also celebrate the "Orururu Nnemere" festival which is an annual event every last week of the year precisely on the last Orie market day in the Igbo calendar.

Most development is from self-help community efforts. The people and their leaders usually meet every eight days at the Eke Okwe market square to deliberate on matters affecting the community.

The easiest route to the village is from Ogbe in Ahiara along the Owerri-Umuahia road which leads to the centre of the village. Other minor access roads are in from Agu na Eze, Oru na Lude, Nkwoala and Afo Ukwu around the village. The town shares boundaries with Ahiara, Ikeduru, and Obowo.

Igbo Eze South

Igbo Eze South (or Igboeze South) is a Local Government Area of Enugu State, Nigeria. Its headquarters are in the town of Ibagwa-Aka (or Ibagwa-Eka).

It has an area of 158 km² and a population of 147,328 at the 2006 census. Ten towns make up Igbo-eze south Local. These are Eror Agu, Unadu, Itchi, Nkalagu-Obukpa, Ibagwa Aka, Iheakpu -Awka, Uhunowerre, Ovoko-Ulo, Ovoko-Agu Iheaka. Agriculture and trade are the mains economic activities. Agro produce like Yams, Palm oil, Cassava, Bambara Nuts, Palm Kernel, Cowpea, and Livestock are produced and traded at the market.

There are major Markets in Igbo-eze south, these include Orie Igbo-eze, Nkwo Ibagwa, Ahor Unadu, Eke itchi. These market mostly operate on a rotational basis representing the Four market days of traditional Igbo Calendar-Eke, Orie, Ahor, Nkwo


The rainy season begins in March/April and lasts until October/November[8] with annual rainfall varying from 1,400mm to 2,000mm

An average annual temperature above 20 °C (68.0 °F) creates an annual relative humidity of 75%. With humidity reaching 90% in the rainy season. The dry season experiences two months of Harmattan from late December to late February. The hottest months are between January and March.

The postal code of the area is 413.

Intercalation (timekeeping)

Intercalation or embolism in timekeeping is the insertion of a leap day, week, or month into some calendar years to make the calendar follow the seasons or moon phases. Lunisolar calendars may require intercalations of both days and months.


Obodoukwu (English pronunciation: /oh-bəʊ-dəʊ-kwoo/, Igbo: Obódòúkwū) is a suburb town in Ideato North Local Government Area, in Imo State a Southeastern state in Nigeria. It consists of nine villages: Umuagbadagwo,Umunwarahu, Umume, Umumejiaku, Umunkwukwa, Umuoka, Umuezugo/Umuezesheta, Uzubi and Ugbele which consists of kindreds. The marketplace in Obodoukwu is called Eke, which is one of the weekdays in the Igbo calendar.

Oru na Nneude

Oru na Nneude (alternately Oru na Lude) 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.

Nearly universal
In wide use
In more
limited use
By specialty
Displays and
Year naming
Igbo topics
(chronological order)

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