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The Yoruba calendar (Kojoda) year starts from 3 June to 2 June of the following year. According to this calendar, the Gregorian year 1958 was the 10000th year of Yoruba culture. The traditional Yoruba week has four days. The 4 days that are dedicated to the Orisa go as follow:
- Day 1 is dedicated to Obatala (Sopanna, Iyaami and the Egungun)
- Day 2 is dedicated to Orunmila (Esu and Osun)
- Day 3 is dedicated to Ogun (Osoosi)
- Day 4 is dedicated to Sango (Oya)
To reconcile with the Gregorian calendar, Yoruba people also measure time in seven days a week and four weeks a month. The four day calendar was dedicated to the Orisas and the seven day calendar is for doing business.
Time is measured in isheju (minutes), wakati (hours), ojo (days), ose (weeks), oshu (months) and odun (years). There are 7 ojo in 1 ose; 4 ose in 1 oshu and 52 ose in 1 odun. There are 12 oshu in 1 odun.
Calendar Examples[edit | edit source]
“Kṓjṓdá” – 'Ki ṓjṓ dá: may the day be clear(ly foreseen), calendar'.
|ṓjṓ-Ṡàngó / Jakuta||2||6||10||14||18||22||26||30|
|Ṓjṓ-Ȯrùnmílá / Ìfá / Awo||3||7||11||15||19||23||27|
The traditional Yoruba calendar (Kojoda) has a 4-day week and 91 weeks in a year. The Yoruba year spans from 3 June of a Gregorian calendar year to 2 June of the following year.
According to the calendar developed by Remi-Niyi Alaran the Gregorian year 2014 is the 10056th year of Yoruba records of time. With the British colonial and European cultural invasions, came the need to reconcile with the Gregorian calendar: Yoruba people also measure time in seven days a week and 52 weeks a year.
Calendar Terminology[edit | edit source]
The alternative day names are of Islamic origin.
The year in festivals[edit | edit source]
Olokún = Oríṣà of Okún, the deep seas or oceans, patron of sailors, and guardian of souls lost at sea.
- Erele/Feb 21-25
Annual rites of passage for men
- Èrèna/March 12 – 28
Oduduwa (odudu, the dark pigment; ni ewa, is the beauty) / Iyaagbe (iya, mother; agbe, who receives) = Oríṣà of Earth and matron of the Ayé. Oduduwa endows the ebony dark skin pigment that accords greatest gifts of spirituality, beauty and intellect to the bearer. The essence of procreative love.
- Èrèna/March 15 – 19
Oshosi = Oríṣà of Adventure and the hunt
- Èrèna/March 21 – 24:
Ogun = Oríṣà of the metal and war crafts, and engineering. The custodian of truth and executioner of justice, as such patron of the legal and counselling professions who must swear to uphold truth while biting on a piece of metal.
Oshun = Oríṣà of Fertility and custodian of the female essence. who guides pregnancies to term.
- Igbe starts last Saturday of April, for 5 days-
Onset of wet season (Spring)
Egungun (Commemoration of the Ancestors, including community founders and illustrious dead. Èbíbí: starts last Saturday of May, for 7 days
- Okudu 3: Onset of the Yoruba New Year (2008 is the 10,050th year of Yoruba culture)
- Okudu 7 - 8: Shopona (Oríṣà of Disease, shopona, small pox is a viral disease) and Osanyin (Oríṣà of Medicine and patron of the healing professions: osan, afternoon; yin, healing)
- Okudu 10 - 23: Annual rites of passage for women
- Okudu 18 - 21: Yemoja = matriarch of the Òrún-Rere). Oduduwa gave birth to a boy Aganju (Land) and Yemoja (Water) from marriage to Ọbàtala. Yemoja in turn birthed many other Oríṣà. The old Ile-Ife kingdom arose on her burial site.
Ọrúnmilà / Ifá = Oríṣà of Divination and founder of the Ifá sciences, whose divination is with 16 palm nuts. Mass gathering of the yoruba
- Agẹmo: first and second weeks in July
Oko (Agriculture) Harvesting of the new Yam crop.
Ẹlégba-Bara (Ẹlégba, one who has power to seize) / Eṣu (shu, to release eject from; ara, the body) = Oríṣà of male essence and Power, who is the great Communicator and messenger of the will of Olódùmarè. No woman should bara (ba ra, to rub with, have intercourse with) a man who has not done Ikola (circumcision: ike, cutting; ola, that saves) in sacrifice to Ẹlégba.
- Agẹmo second weekend of July
Ṣàngo (shan, to strike:/ Jakuta:ja, fight; pẹlu okuta, with stones). The Oríṣà of Energy – Ara (Thunder) and Manamana, make fire (Lightning) whose divination is with 16 cowries and whose messenger and water-bearer is Oshumare (the Rainbow).
- Agẹmo: third week of July
Ọbàtálá = (Obà,to possess; ti ala, of visions or Oríṣà-nla, the principal Oríṣà). Patriarch of Òrún-Rere, the heaven of goodly spirits and beneficial ancestors. As Olódùmarè is too powerful and busy to be pre-occupied by the affairs of any one living being. Ọbàtálá functions as the principal emissary of Olódùmarè on Aye, and is the custodian of Yoruba culture. The aso-ala (white cloth) worn by Ọbàtálá initiates is to signify need to be pure in intent and action: A recurring punishment for social misfits was to try to keep white cloth clean in Africa's tropical and dusty climate. The misappropriation of aso-ala connection to Ọbàtálá was/is a major weapon against the Yoruba in their psychological resistance of foreign invasion, as Christian and Islamic converts were/are indoctrinated that anything considered 'white' is pure: a notion that has also become a key tenet of racialist supremacy
- Ogun: last weekend of August
Oya (Orísà of the odo Oya (river Niger) whose messenger is Afefe (the Wind), and guardian of gateway between the physical realm (Aye) and the spiritual realm (Òrún). Ọwaro Osun (Orísà of the odo Oṣun and patron of the (sovereign) Ijebu nation Ọwaro third weekend of October
Onset of the dry season (Autumn)
Shigidi (Orísà of Òrún-Apadi, the realm of the unsettled spirits and the ghosts of the dead that have left Aye and are forsaken of Òrún-Rere. Custodian of nightmares and patron of assassins. Solemn candlelight to guide the unsettled away from your residence, else they settle in your dolls or other toys.
- Ọwaro 30 World Slavery Day?
Obajulaiye (Oríṣà of Ṣòwò (Commerce) and owo (wealth).
- Òpé 15
Onset of the second dry season (winter solstice)