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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Akan Days Of The Week & Akan Day Names And Their Meanings

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post presents some information about the Akan (Ghana, Ivory Coast) days of the week and the tradition of conferring names based on the day that a child is born.

The content of this post is presented for folkloric and cultural purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.

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LIST OF AKAN DAY NAMES
Note: This list combines information from a Wikipedia article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akan_names and from a Twi/Akan names website http://www.twi.bb/akan-names.php.

The Wikipedia link also presents some Jamaican variants of these Akan names. Although that article doesn't mention it, those Jamaican variants and some of these standard Akan days & their other variants) were also found in the United States and in South America. The word given after "Association" means that people born on this date are associated with that word or trait.

The two examples of name variants given in this compiled list come from that second link. That link also includes additional variants and pronunciations. .

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First day of the Akan week: Kwasíada [Sunday]; Male name: Kwasí [variants: Kwesi, Kosi]; Female name: Akosua [variants: Akosi, Esi]; Association: Universe

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Second day of the Akan week: Ɛdwóada [Monday]; Male name: Kwadwó [variants: Kodjo, Kojo]; Female name: Adwoa [variants: Adjoa; Adjua]; Association: Peace

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Third day of the Akan week: Ɛbénada [Tuesday]; Male name: Kwabená [variants: Kobby, Kobina]; Female name: Abenaa [variants: Abena, Abla]; Association: Ocean

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Fourth day of the Akan week: Wukúada [Wednesday]; Male name: Kwakú [variants: Kuuku, Kweku]; Female name: Akua [variants: Akuba; Ekua], Association Spider*

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Fifth day of the Akan week: Yáwóada [Thursday]; Male name: Yaw [variants: Ekow, Yaba]; Female name: Yaa [variants:
Aba, Ayawa]; Association: Earth

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Sixth day of the Akan week: Efíada [Friday]; Male name: Kofí [variants: Fiifi, Koffi]; Female name: Afua [variants: Afi, Afia], Association: Fertility

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Seventh day of the Akan week: Méméneda [Saturday]; Male name: Kwámè [variants: Komi, Kwamena]; Female name: Amma [variants: Ame, Ameyo]; Association: God
-snip-
*In Wikipedia's Akan day name chart, the word "spider" is linked to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anansi. My summary of the meaning of Anansi (spider) in Akan culture and in the African Diaspora of Jamaica, the United States etc is that Anansi symbolized/s wisdom and the use of your mind to overcome adversity.

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AKAN DAYS NAMES, CREATIVE ACTS AND THEIR MEANINGS
From https://otafregya.wordpress.com/2012/11/21/akan-days-namescreative-acts-and-their-meanings/ Posted on November 21, 2012 by obibini, culled from http://www.ghanaweb.com

[Note: Pancocojams Editor's comment: Corrections to typos are given in brackets. I've reformatted this excerpt to improve its readability.]

"ONYANKOPON KWAME-The Great Name of God
The word ‘OIAMEKOPON’ is what has been corrupted into ‘ONYANKOPON.’ Each syllable signifies one of the characteristics of GOD.

“O” is the shortest and most basic name of GOD in Akan. It signifies HIS/HER universality,completeness and perfection.This has something to do with the Sun. ”O” also signifies a Being or agent capable of achieving a purpose,as in ‘Onipa’,’Otumfuo’,’Oboade3’,’Onyansafo,’etc, etc.

“IA”,which can be written “YA”, ”JA” or “EA” meaning “being” or “agent” has been corrupted to “(N)YA ,“ which connotes wisdom, as in “NYANSA.”

“ME” signifies a Self –Consciousness personality.”ME” also means “I” in Akan and could mean satisfaction as found in the word “OMEE”(satisfaction).

“KO” means “one” and points to the oneness of God as a Being without a rival.

“PON” means “great” and depicts the supremacy of God as the sovereign of the universe. This idea of greatness appears in words like “Obrempon”,”Odupon”,etc

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KWAME-KOYAME
The Akan day name for God is KWAME,which was originally “KO-YA-ME” or “KO-IA-ME,” can be etymologically broken up into the syllables KO, YA and ME.

“KO” means “Life” as found in “KOSUA” (egg) which, when written properly is “KO-SU-YA”(literally ‘life-water-being’) signifying “water-containing-life being.”

“SU” is the ancestral form of “NSUO” (water).e.g “KOTO”(crab) translates into “empty life” because of a crab’s hollow nature /emptiness.

“YA/IA/EA” means “agent”,”being”, or father as in “AGYA.”

“ME” means “satisfaction” or “I. ”Putting the syllables together, ”KO-YA-ME” translates into “satisfied father of life.”

It is for ease of pronunciation and assimilation of sounds that “KO-YA” became “KWA” through contraction.
Hence “KWA” means “Father of life, wisdom” or “The Life Being”(signifying original source of life).

“KWA” is therefore also one of the basic names of God....

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KWASIADA – KWASI/ESI
“KWASIADA” means the day on which “KWA”(the Creator) descended.

“DA” means ‘day’ and “SI” means ‘to descend.’ ”KWASIADA” (KO-YA-SI-DA) therefore means “Creator-of-Life-Descended-Day”. That is, the day on which “KWA” descended to begin creating the world.

Males/females born on this day are named KWASI AND ESI respectively. KWASI(KO-YA-SI) means “the Lord of Life Descent” and ESI means “descent.”

KWASI and ESI are therefore names to commemorate the 1st creative act of God which was HIS/HER descent that brought light.
-snip-
Although this information isn't included in this article, it is implied: Kwasiada [Sunday] is the first day of the week.

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DWOADA – KWADWO/ADWOA
“DWOADA”(Monday) corresponds to the day on which “KWA” created the firmament.

The Akan word for firmament or sky is “YU”,”WI” or “YU-MU” which became “WIM” and is now being corrupted into “DWO” to mean ‘cool’ or ‘cold’ [since] “WI”(firmament) itself is regarded as being cold. Another word used in translating ‘firmament’ is “NTREMU” which connotes “expanse"...

KWAYUDA” or “KWAWIWDA(KO-YA-YU-DA), means “Lord of Life Firmament day” and is the 2nd day of the week.

“KWADWO/ADWOA [therefore means] ”Lord of Life Firmamant Day.”

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BENADA- KWABENA/ABENA
“BENADA,BENEADA, or BEDA (Tuesday) is the 3rd day of the week and the day on which land was made to appear.

“BE” is the root word for “BEA” which means place,location or land in Akan.”BE-NA-DA” therefore translates into “Land’s Day” or “Day of the Land”(BE-DA).

It is for this reason that fishermen do not go to sea on Tuesdays in Ghana.

“KWA-BE-NA-DA” or “KO-YA-BE-NE-DA) which has been shortened to “KWABENA” means “Lord of Life’s Land Day.” “ABENA” means “Land’s Day.”

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WUKUADA- KWAKU/AKUA
WUKUADA”(Wednesday), according to the book of Genesis was the day on which the heavenly hots (sun,moon and stars) appeared.

“WUKUADA” was originally pronounced “YU-KU-DA” or “WI-KU-DA.”

“YU” or “WI” means heavens,sky, or firmament.

“KU” means “group”,”society” or “host.”Hence “WUKUADA/YUKUDA/WIKUDA”
means “the Day of the Heavenly Hosts.” That is,the day on which the heavenly hosts(sun,moon,stars) became visible or appeared.

“WUKUADA”(4TH day) is the shortened form of “KWAYUKUWDA”(KO-YA-(YU)-KU-DA) meaning “Lord of Life’s Sky (heavenly) Host Day .

“KWAKU” therefore means “Lord of Life’s Group/Host.Kwaku /AKUA commemorate the creation of the sun,moon and stars.

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YAWOADA- YAW/YAA
“YAWOADA”(Thursday), the 5th day of creation,was the day on which various life forms (plants,animals,..) were created.

“YA” means “Life”.

“WO” means “bring forth” or “reproduce”

“DA” means “day”

“YAWOADA” therefore means “the day life was brought forth, began or was born.”That is,”Day of Reproduction.”
Akans call earth(ASASE) “YAA” in recognition of the earth bringing forth “life” for the 1st time on creation Thursday.

KWAW, KWAWO, KOYAWO/YAW(YAO)/YAA/AYA/AWO therefore commemorate this day and mean “Lord-of-Life Reproduction.”

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FIADA- KOFI/AFIA
“FIADA/FIDA”(Friday) is a combination of 2 words in Akan. “FI” means “home” and “DA” means “day.”
Hence “FIADA” means “home day.”That is the day on which the 1st home was created or
Established.This corresponds with “Eden”(the 1st garden-home) being made for man/woman on the 6th day of the week. It also signifies “couple life”(the day man and woman lived in or established a home together).

“FIADA” is a shortened form of “KWAOFIDA(KO-YA-OFI-DA) which means “Lord of Life’s Home Day.”

KOFI/AFIA therefore mean “Lord of Life Home” and commemorate the creation of the 1st home in the Garden of Eden and the institution of marriage.

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MEMENEDA- KWAME/AMA
“MEMENEDA/MEMEMDA (Saturday) is the 7th day of the week .

“ME” is one of the names of GOD which means “satisfaction.” When “MEN” or “MEN(E) is shortened into “MEE”, it comes to mean “the satisfaction day of ME;” hence “MEMENEDA” means the “satisfaction day of God.”

The Akan word for “rest” is “HO-ME” and so the day of rest is called “HO-ME-DA.”

“MEMEEDA” could mean “ME-HOMEDA, ”i.e “I AM’s rest day.”MEMENEDA” therefore translates into “God’s Rest Day.”
“I AM” is translated into Akan as “ME-NE,” thus “MEMENEDA” also connotes “I AM’s DAY.”

“KWAMEMENDA (KO-YA-ME-MEN-DA), meaning “Lord of Life’s Satisfaction Day” has been shortened to “KWAME.”
“KWAME/AMMA/AME/AMEMENA are names that commemorate the institution of rest, i.e KWA’s rest day.

This is why Akan societies observe Saturday as the Sabbath.

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Akan day names therefore represent the creative acts of the Supreme God that the Akan have known and worshiped since ancient times...

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1 comment:

  1. The "Kwa" element at the beginning of a number of the West African Akan male day names reminds me of the "Kwa" in the South African Zulu place name KwaZulu. But -at least from the online search that I've done thus far- there doesn't seem to be any linguistic connections between those two word elements.

    Here's a quote from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KwaZulu-Natal about the meaning of the name "KwaZulu":
    "KwaZulu-Natal (/kwɑːˌzuːluː nəˈtɑːl/; also referred to as KZN or Natal and known as "the garden province"[4]) is a province of South Africa that was created in 1994 when the Zulu bantustan of KwaZulu ("Place of the Zulu" in Zulu) and Natal Province were merged...

    When the homeland of KwaZulu, which means "Place of the Zulu" was re-incorporated into the Natal province after the end of apartheid in 1994, the province of Natal, which had existed between 1910 and 1994, was renamed KwaZulu-Natal. The province is home to the Zulu monarchy; the majority population and language of the province is Zulu. It is the only province in South Africa that has the name of its dominant ethnic group as part of its name."

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