Yoruba calendar

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The Yoruba calendar (Kojoda) year runs from 3 June to 2 June of the following year. According to this calendar, the Gregorian year 2014 A.D. is the 10056th year of Yoruba culture. The traditional Yoruba week has four days. The four 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.

The seven days are: Ojo-Aiku (Sunday), Oko-Aje (Monday), Ojo-Ishegun (Tuesday), Ojo-Riru (Wednesday), Ojo-Bo/Alamisi (Thursday), Ojo-Eti (Friday) and Ojo-Abameta (Saturday).

Time is measured in isheju (minutes), wakati (hours), ojo (days), ose (weeks), oshu (months) and odun (years). There are 60 (ogota) isheju in 1 (okan) wakati; 24 (merinlelogun) wakati in 1 ojo; 7 (meje) ojo in 1 ose; 4 (merin) ose in 1 oshu and 52 (ejileladota)ose in 1 (okan) odun. There are 12 (mejila) oshu in 1 (okan) odun.

Calendar examples[edit]

“KṒJṒDÁ” - 'Ki ṓjṓ dá: may the day be clear(ly foreseen), calendar'.

KṒJṒDÁ 10053 / CALENDAR 2011–2012 [1]
ÒKÙDÚ 10053 / June 2011
ȮSĖ 91st 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
ṓjṓ-Ṡàngó /Jakuta 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Ṓjṓ-Ȯrùnmílá /Ìfá / Awo 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
ṓjṓ-Ògún 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28
Ṓjṓ-Ȯbàtálá 1 29 30

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 the thinker, Remi-Niyi Alaran, the Gregorian year 2011 AD is the 10,053th year of Yoruba records of time.[2] 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.

KṒJṒDÁ 10053 / CALENDAR 2011–2012 [3]
ÒKÙDÚ 10053 / June 2011
ȮSĖ Week 22nd 23rd 24th 25th 26th
ṓjṓ-Àíkú Sunday 5 12 19 26
ṓjṓ-Ajé Monday 6 13 20 27
ṓjṓ-Ìṡḗgun Tuesday 7 14 21 28
ṓjṓ-RíRú Wednesday 1 8 15 22 29
Ṓjṓ-RuBȯ Thursday 2 9 16 23 30
Ṓjṓ-Ėtì Friday 3 10 17 24
Ṓjṓ-Àbámḗta Saturday 4 11 18 25

Calendar terminologies[edit]

ȮSĖ in Yoruba calendar DAYS in Gregorian calendar [4]
ṓjṓ-Àíkú Sunday
ṓjṓ-Ajé Monday
ṓjṓ-Ìṡḗgun / Atalata Tuesday
ṓjṓ-Rú / Alaruba Wednesday
Ṓjṓ-Bȯ / Alamisi Thursday
Ṓjṓ-Ėtì / Jimoh Friday
Ṓjṓ-Àbámḗta Saturday

The alternative day names: Atalata, Alaruba, Alamisi and Jimoh are of Moslem / Islamic origin.[5]

Oṡu in Yoruba calendar Months in Gregorian calendar [6]
ÒKÙDÚ June
AGḖMṐ July
ÒGÚN August
OWḖwḖ September
ṐWAwa October
BḔLU November
ṐPḖ December
ṠḔRḔ January
ÈRÉLE February
ḔRḔNA March
IGBE April
ḔBÍBÍ May

The year in festivals[edit]

Note: since there are thirteen months in the Youruba calendar, the relation between the Gregorian and Yoruban months is approximate only.

Ajȯdun Yoruba [7]


Sere/ January[edit]

Erele / February[edit]

Olokún = Oríṣà of Okún, the deep seas or oceans, patron of sailors, and guardian of souls lost at sea. Erele/Feb 21-25

Erénà / March[edit]

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:

Igbe / April[edit]

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)

Èbìbí / May[edit]

Egungun (Commemoration of the Ancestors, including community founders and illustrious dead. Èbíbí: starts last Saturday of May, for 7 days

Okudu / June[edit]

  • 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 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.

Agẹmo / July[edit]

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

Ogun / August[edit]

Oshun-Oshogbo

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

Òwéré / September[edit]

Ọwara / October[edit]

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?

Bèlu / November[edit]

Òpé / December[edit]

Obajulaiye (Oríṣà of Ṣòwò (Commerce) and owo (wealth). Òpé 15

Onset of the second dry season (winter solstice)

References[edit]

External links[edit]