The Four Days Of The Traditional Yoruba Week That You Never Knew And What They Do On Those Days
If you ask many Yorubas today to list out the days of the traditional Yoruba week, you are most likely going to hear something like this after a confident smile: Aiku, Aje, Isegun, Ojoru, Ojobo, Eti and Abameta. However, those are not the days of the traditional Yoruba week. Those are simply the days of the week made up so as to adapt to the seven-day week of the Gregorian calendar. So what are the proper days of the week of the Yorubas? Well, before the colonialists came with the Gregorian calendar, the Yorubas already developed their own advanced calendar system. It was called the Kojoda and according to the Yoruba Kojoda, we are now in the year 10059 (Gregorian is 2017). A Yoruba calendar year (Kojoda) which starts on what is 3rd of June of a Gregorian calendar to the 2nd of June of the next Greogrian year has 91 weeks with each week having four days. So let us talk about the Yoruba week. The four days are:
- OJO OGUN: The Yorubas count these four days of the week starting from Ojo Ogun (Day of Ogun, the god of iron). Ojo Ogun is the first day of traditional Yoruba week and it is the day when the Ologun or the worshippers and devotees of Ogun worship this particular deity. On Ojo Ogun, the Ologuns worship and celebrate with various food items that are considered to be the favourite of Ogun. These include ekuru (a kind of steamed bean pudding), ewa (beans) and iyan (pounded yam). However, the most important item of sacrifice on Ojo Ogun is the dog. Since Ogun like balanced diet, it looks like Ojo Ogun will be my own favourite day of the week o. By the way, in some other parts of Yorubaland, it is also called Ojo Osoosi, named after another god, Osoosi, who is regarded as the brother of Ogun and Sango.
- OJO JAKUTA: After Ojo Ogun comes the second day of the week. Ojo Jakuta is also called Ojo Sango. Sango is the Yoruba god of thunder, lightning and (electricity). The day in some parts of Yorubaland is called Ojo Oya. On this day dedicated to Sango, his worshippers stream out wearing bright red and white attires as those are Sango’s favourite colours and they do the worship by presenting edible items like amala with gbegiri soup, bitter cola and guguru (pop corn). For Sango, the most important sacrificial animal is the ram. I think I will decamp to Ojo Jakuta. Jakuta means ‘Someone Who Fought With Stones’.
- OJO OSE: This is the third day and it is set aside for the worship of Orisha Nla (The Great Deity). The favourite food item used for this day is the ake beef but snails are also used for the sacrifices. Now I am not sure of my favourite day of the week again. On this special day, all the worshippers of Orisha Nla wear white garments and clean all their houses and environs. This same day can be dedicated to the worship of Obatala, Sonponna (god of small pox), Iyaami (the Mothers or Great Witches) and the Egungun (Masquerades).
- OJO AWO: Ojo Awo (Day of the Deity) is the day set aside for Ifa (Oracle) and just like Orisha Nla, Ifa also prefers delicacies made from the ake beef. This same day can also be dedicated for the worship of Esu, Osun and Orunmila.
So as you can see, the Yorubas named their weeks after their gods, the same way the days of the Gregorian calendar are named after ‘pagan’ gods. See image below depicting the gods of the week of the Gregorian calendar:
The only difference is that the Yorubas did that thousands of years earlier.
Thanks for your time.
- Yoruba Gurus: Indigenous Production of Knowledge in Africa by Toyin Falola, pages 70-71.
- Yoruba Calendar
- Orisha Osoosi
- Names of the days of the week