Explanation of the concept as found in the novel:
Okonkwo breaks the sacred Week of Peace when he noticed that one of his wives, Ojiugo, leaves her hut without making dinner, frustrating him to the point of beating her up. He is forced to repent by a priest by sacrificing a nanny goat and a hen and paying a fine of one length of cloth and 100 crowries.
Okonkwo does so, and goes on to criticize another clan’s custom of placing the bodies of those who die during the Week of Peace in the Evil Forest. Following the Week of Peace, villagers begin preparing the land for planting new seeds. Nwoye and Ikemefuna help Okonkwo in this process. However, he finds fault in their labour. He tries to help them become better farmers.
The week of peace was one of the means of unification for the clan and appeasement for the gods in control over their crops.
Summary of a contemporary article:
Last week, Nigerians marked the Week of Peace. They spent time meditating and with their families in order to restore their inner peace. This annual event is important in the Igbo culture and is followed by the sowing season for all the crops. They believe that in order to have a good, clean crop, the spirit must first be cleansed. No marital relations, physical abuse, or hurtful language is allowed during this week. Spiritual purity is held very dear in Igbo culture and the Week of Peace is a prime example of this.
Catshanghai. Web. 14 Apr. 2011.
Cover, Its. "Ibo Culture as Seen in "Things Fall Apart"" Lbo's Blog. Web. 14 Apr. 2011.
The Nigerian Inquirer - the #1 Nigerian News Website. Web. 14 Apr. 2011. <http://www.nigerianinquirer.com/>.