Society and Culture

The significant of time in Igbo culture

In Uke Idemili North Local Government, Anambra State, it is believed that “Ckukwu” sees that the sun travels across the world in the day time to cut it in two and the moon travels across it at night to cut in two, but as the sun and moon travel in different paths, so the world is divided by Chukwu into four parts, and so Chukwu created four days; Orie, Afo, Nkwo, Eke. This is why the number four is sacred to them. Here there is a mixture of science and religion. God is seen as the author of time and the calendar. Duku Omenka Chukuegu epitomizes this divine authorship of time by attempting for the first time and symbolically a statue of God with the five units of Igbo calendrical symbols engraved on the statue.
Eze Ugbala gives weight to this line of thought when he says that “The Igbo believe that there are some angels and spirits who serve and assist God in the administration of the four corners of the earth venerated in the four MARKET days of EKE, ORIE, AFO, NKWO”.
 Ichie Chukwuma Okafor (65 years in Uke) states that “these spirits have their local names and they change or vary from place to place. For example, in many town in the South of Igbo land, Agwu is the patron of Eke, Ogwugwu – patron of Orie, Amadioha – patron of Afo, and Ala guards Nkwo day. In the town of Enyi-Ogwugwu Umuelem and Umuhu, Afo-Enyiogwugwu, Nkwo-ala Oboama and Umuoye”.  Moreover, according to Eze Ugbala Ugo, Eke corresponds to east, Orie – West, Afo – North and Nkwo – South. He affirms that the native days of obligation are fervently observed. “Some communities decide to adopt any of the four market days for thei rest from farming in the land. It is    considered NSOALA for anybody to farm on the holy day of obligatory rest”. In Igbo land the names of our four market days in the week EKE, ORIE, AFO, NKWO are original, immutable and traditional from time immemorial. Thus, as this declaration points out, the four – day Igbo week is found in Beni , Yoruba, and Igala with simi9laritity in the names. It is also alleged that the four –day week is found in Eastern Ghana, Southern Togo and Dahomey, all of Nupe, Yoruba-land, Edo, Ibibio area and the Cameroon. It is found in Southern Ivory Coast . The zone with the four-day week is postulate to extend to the South East of the Congo area.
The number 4 (four) and 7 (seven) are specially    symbolic because of their calendrical relations. Four as a number is very sacred in Igbo rituals. In all human relations, all human beings are equal in so far as human equality is not measured by size but by values. The common Igbo man knows that the Eze (king) or   president is not more of equality is natural and it reflects in all aspects of Igbo life: religious, social, political and otherwise.

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