As part of our 7 days celebrating EWAD UKs 7th year anniversary we wanted to post an educational piece. To help teach others about the Igbo market days.
Just like the Gregorian calender has 7 days in the week, in Igbo land the native calender has 4 days in a week ( Izu ) - Eke, Orie Afo and Nkwo. The Igboman works in the farm for three days and rests on the fourth day. Eke is usually observed as a day of rest although some communities can decide on any day for their day of rest. Nobody works on the day of rest. These market days are very significant in Igbo culture and are observed in every Igbo community .
According to Igbo historical records,these names were derived from four messengers wise men (trading in fish) who came to visit the Nri Kingdom in the reign of Eze Nrijiofor . They presented him with four earthen pots (ite ano) and instructed him to keep the pots in front of the shrine outside the palace (Obu) with each one facing the sun.
Eke who was the spokesman said that the pots were sent by the Gods ( Chukwu) and instructed the Eze Nrijiofor to observe those names as market days, during which they should be buying and selling. By noon that day the wise men vanished from the palace without a trace . The news spread all over Igboland and it is still observed to this day.These market days are used in Igboland to count Izu (Igbo native week). Therefore, Eke, Oye, Afor and Nkwo (four market days) make one Izu (week) in Igbo calendar.
Eke , Afo Orie and Nkwo make one ( Izu) week in the Igbo calender 7 weeks makes a month (Onwa).
These market days can also be used as a form of identification. Newborn babies are sometimes named on the market day they were born although this is no longer common .An example is myself named Mgborie because I was born on Orie day, for the male version of the name will be Okorie .
Stay tuned to learn more about our Igbo culture.
Society of Igbo professionals - www.societyof Igboprofessionals .org
History of the Igbo people - Elizabeth Isichei
An Igbo civilisation -Nri kingdom .Onwuejeogwu M Anguli. 19981 .