Original

Igbo names and spellings for various settlements
Abakaliki is Abankaleke; Afikpo is Ehugbo; Awgu is Ogu; Awka is Oka; Bonny is Ubani; Enugu is Enugwu; Ibusa is Igbuzö; Igrita is Igwuruta; Oguta is Ugwuta; Onitsha is Onicha; Owerri is Owere; Oyigbo is Obigbo... any more will be added.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Owere Creation Story

Photo: Mbari votive shrine in Percy Amaury Talbot (1926). "The peoples of Southern Nigeria." Vol. II, fig.13. via the Musée du quai Branly.

Creation of the days from the Owere (Owerri) area:

Chineke created four people [...] and put those four people inside the house in four rooms. Eke, Orie, Afo, Nkwo. These are men, and he also put women in a separate room. Then Eke suggested it would be a good idea for Ala to exist. The land just came out, and existed before we met it. The land and the sky are the same. [...] No one gave birth to them. Then Chineke called in all the gods and fixed a time for creating the days. Chineke asked, "Which of you knows the days?" Agwushi [god of divination] said he knew. "This is Eke, the next is Orie, then Afo, then Nkwo. These are the four days of the world." Chineke took Agwushi and gave him to all [...] to feed them....Then Chineke told Agwushi to go to man and leave part of himself [...] [Eke, Orie, Afo, Nkwo], and also to [...] every god—Amadioha, Ala, and all the others.

– Ugo of Ihette via Herbert Cole (1982). Mbari.

According to this record of a creation story from the Owere (Owerri) area, the days are four men put into four rooms, but there's also mention of women, although their number and relation to the men isn't substantiated, it's plausible that they are also four. Could the Izù ukwu, the eight day week, be a pair of four male and four female primordial entities making eight in total?

Also, it's interesting how the name for week or group of the days is ízù, when the entities are said to congregate in various Igbo creation stories, like ìzù, a meeting or council. Even the nsibidi signs for the four (or eight) directions is similar to the nsibidi sign for meeting or congregation, which is also similar or the same as the four and eight rods.

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