Yoruba calendar

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The Yoruba calendar (Kojoda) is a calendar used by the Yoruba people of southwestern and north central Nigeria and southern Benin. The calendar has a year beginning on the last moon of May or first moon of June of the Gregorian calendar. The new year coincides with the Ifá festival

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, Ifá 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: Ọjọ́-Aiku (Sunday), Ọjọ́-Aje (Monday), O̩jọ́-Iṣẹgun (Tuesday), Ojo-Irú (Wednesday), Ọjọ́-Bo̩ (Thursday), Ọjọ́-E̩tì (Friday) and O̩jọ́-Àbamé̩ta (Saturday).

Time is measured in iseju aaya (seconds), iṣeju (minutes), wakati (hours), ọjọ́ (days), o̩sẹ̀ (weeks), oṣu (months) and o̩dun (years). There are 60 (ogota) iseju aaya in 1 (ookan) iseju (minute); 60 (ọgọta) iṣẹju in 1 (ookan) wakati; 24 (merinlelogun) wakati in 1 ọjọ́; 7 (meje) ọjọ́ in 1 ọsẹ̀; 4 (mẹrin) ọsẹ̀ in 1 oṣu and 52 (mejilelaado̩ta) ọsẹ̀ in 1 (ookan) o̩dun. There are 12 (mejila) oṣu in 1 (ookan) ọdun.

Calendar examples[edit]

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

KṒJṒDÁ 10057/ CALENDAR 2014-2015
ÒKÙDÚ 10053 / June 2011
ȮSĖ 91st 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
O̩jó̩-Ṡàngó /Jakuta 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
O̩jọ́-Ȯrùnmílá /Ìfá / Awo 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
Ọ́jọ́-Ògún 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28
Ọjọ́-O̩bàtálá 1 29 30

The traditional Yoruba calendar (Kọ́jọ́da) 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 2020 AD is the 10,062nd year of Yoruba records of time.[1][unreliable source?] 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.

KỌ́JỌ́DÁ 10053 / Calendar 2011–2012
ÒKÙDÚ 10053 / June 2011
O̩SẸ̀ Week 22nd 23rd 24th 25th 26th
o̩jọ́-Àíkú Sunday 5 12 19 26
o̩jọ́-Ajé Monday 6 13 20 27
o̩jọ́-Ìṣẹ́gun Tuesday 7 14 21 28
o̩jọ́-Rírú Wednesday 1 8 15 22 29
o̩jọ́-Bo̩ Thursday 2 9 16 23 30
o̩jọ́-E̩tì Friday 3 10 17 24
o̩jọ́-Àbámẹ́ta Saturday 4 11 18 25

Calendar terminologies[edit]

ȮSĖ in Yoruba calendar Day in Gregorian calendar
Ọjọ́-Àíkú Sunday
Ọjọ́-Ajé Monday
Ọjọ́-Ìṣẹgun Tuesday
Ọjọ́-Irú Wednesday
O̩jọ́-Bọ́ Thursday
O̩jó̩-Ẹtì Friday
Ọjọ́-Àbámẹ́ta Saturday
Oṡu in Yoruba calendar Months in Gregorian calendar
ÒGÚN August
OWḖWḖ September
ṐWAWA October
BḔLU November
ṐPḖ December
ṠḔRḔ January
ÈRÉLE February
IGBE April

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

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]

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]

  • June 3: Onset of the Yoruba New Year (2020 is the 10,062nd year of Yoruba culture). Ọrúnmilà / Ifá = Oríṣà of Divination and founder of the Ifá sciences, whose divination is with 16 palm nuts. Mass gathering of the yoruba
  • 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.

Agẹmo / July[edit]

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]

Oṣun-Oṣogbo Oṣun = Oríṣà of Fertility and custodian of the female essence. who guides pregnancies to term. Ogun: last weekend of August

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.

Òwéré / September[edit]

It is the month in which festivals are being celebrated and a month of blessing. It celebrates how Yoruba is a rich culture.

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

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.

Bèlu / November[edit]

Òpé / December[edit]

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

Onset of the second dry season (winter solstice)


External links[edit]