02.01.2003 Feature Article

Akan system of "9 Cycles of 40 days": Its linkage to Biblical times.

Akan system of 9 Cycles of 40 days: Its linkage to Biblical times.
02.01.2003 LISTEN

In Genesis 7:12, the floods that caused destructions on earth for 40 days and 40 nights in Noah's days is discussed. Genesis 8:6 tells us that Noah opened the windows of the Ark in 40 days after it rested upon the mountains of Ararat. Genesis 50:2-3 here Israel (Jacob), the father of Joseph is said to have been embalmed in 40 days. In Akan funeral norms, 40 days is exceptionally noteworthy. Fast forward to the New Testament. Mark 1:12, Jesus, The Son of Man, chilled in the wilderness for 40 days. Matthew 4:2 and Luke 4:2, again, The Son of Man fasted 40 days and 40 nights to overcome temptations of Satan. For some unexplained reason the Ascension Day (Jesus ascended into Heaven), is commemorated by Christians on the 40th day after Easter. The number 9 in Numerology is considered a mystical number. From a religious point of view the number 9 is spiritually significant or symbolic The Akans of Ghana have religious ceremonies and festivals calendar, which is based on "Nine Cycles of Forty days". This has been in existence since time immemorial. Thanks to the traditionalist (mostly traditional rulers) who have tenaciously held on to this tradition until today. After visiting the "Dark Continent" Europeans reported that we had no culture, history, or any form of civilization. Yet this calendar was in use by our Kings and Chiefs. Every Akan worth his/her salt knows what is an Adae. It marks a period in time on two days of the week, Wednesday and Sunday (every 40 days, the Akan calendar has 40 days). The Akwasidae, Sunday Adae is a traditional holiday, which is marked with religious rituals and ceremonies. It is still performed in Ghana today. Each of the "Nine Cycles of Forty days" is marked by this Adae. This day is dedicated to the living, the dead and future generations. How ironical that a people without any form of civilization had a system so close to the earliest of biblical times? Fellow Africans/Africanists, the way we know has powerful implications for the way we live. It is time for us to acknowledge our rich culture and history and break out of the mental slavery. Kwame Dwamena Dakwa, Educational Psychologist

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