The sun is one of the most universally revered objects in human history. Just about every culture on the planet honors it for all the different gifts thatit brings to our planet, bringing both the light and heat that make life on our planet possible.
For one, our method of keeping time is based on it,as for the majority of human history, our clocks were sundials. Most of our modern calendars (including days of the week ala Sun-day), are based off it, and lot of our major holidays originally started as solar equinox or solstice celebrations (such as Easter and Christmas respectively). Even western astrology focuses on a person’s sun signs.Needless to say, our lives revolve around the sun…literally.Amongst Ndi Igbo, the Sun was referred to as Anyanwu (An-yan-wew). This is a combination of two different words. The first word, anya means eye. The second word, anwu, means light. Together, the phrase reads as “eye of light.”Metamorphosing the sun as an eye is not an exclusively Igbo concept. Another famous exampleof this can be found in the ancient Egyptian character of Ra, who was depicted as a Falcon headed man who hand a sun disk on his head.A modern example of a celestial eye can be found on the left side of a dollar bill.
The beautiful sculpture (attached) of the Igbo sun god Anyanwu was made by Professor Ben Chukwukadibia Enweonwu and presented to the United Nations on the occasion of Nigeria’s 2nd Independence Day anniversary.
Anyanwụ shares similarity with the Roman Sol Invictus, sun deity introduced into Rome through ancient Egypt. A festival called ‘Dies Natalis Solis Invicti’ was held during the last month of the year to mark the birthday of the unconquered Sun.It was adopted by Germanic tribes colonised by theRomans and referred to as Sonntag. In the language of one Germanic tribe called the Anglo-Saxons (English), the day of the sun god Sonntag is known as Sunday.