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The meaning of months of the year — Xitsonga

Months of the year in Xitsonga
Vatsonga have a unique way of marking the passage of time, with each month symbolizing a different aspect of nature and life. In January, they celebrate Sunguti, which represents the beginning or genesis of a new cycle. February is known as Nyenyanyana, a month when baby birds hatch and fill the skies. As March arrives, the birds have grown up, reaching the near adult or adult stage, and it is called Nyenyankulu. April brings Dzivamisoko, a time when herdboys set traps to catch mature birds during the hunting season.

May is known as Mudyaxihi, a month of abundance and choice, as the fields yield a variety of food crops for people to enjoy. Khotavuxika arrives in June, marking the start of the cold season. July is called Mawuwani, characterized by light breezes and the subtle sounds of wind passing through the Vatsonga lands. As August comes, the winds intensify, and it becomes Mhawuri, a month of gale winds.

In September, Ndzhati arrives, accompanying rainstorms with thunder and lightning. It is believed that the falling of an animal from the sky signifies the advent of rain. October is Nhlangula, when trees, particularly the nhlangula tree, bear fruit and offer sustenance. Hukuri follows in November, a month when many chickens lay and hatch their eggs, symbolizing fertility and growth.

Finally, in December, N'wendzamhala marks the end of the cycle. It is a time when impalas breed in large numbers, and hunting season begins anew. Each month in the Vatsonga calendar tells a story, connecting the people to nature's rhythms and cycles, as they observe and celebrate the ever-changing world around them.

Traditionally, the cycle of Vatsonga calendar begins in Spring (September) and ends in August. The chronology in this post follows the Western calendar.


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