Why is November a sacred month in Zimbabwe?


Why is November a sacred month in Zimbabwe?

 

Culturally marrying in November is a taboo.

November or Mbudzi is a month in which no ceremonies or rituals may be done. If one intends to have a ceremony or event in this month, a spirit medium will have to intercede on their behalf the traditional courts close off.

Today many people take the precision of traditional calendars for granted, unaware of the significance and impact of doing so.The African traditional calendar is based on the Earth’s rotation around the Moon.

The basics are that in November people don’t marry, they don’t perform traditional rites and so forth. But what has not been explained is: why is this so? And when does the traditional November start and end?

According to African tradition, this is the month that the ancestors do not deal with earthly issues but deal with Musiki, God, on various issues tabled before the ancestors during the course of the year.

 

The traditional calendar of the Shona is based on the movement of the moon. Hence, the Shona calendar has 13 months in a year. The Shona believe that ancestral spirits rest during the month of November, known as mwedzi we mbudzi. During this month everything with links to the spiritual and ancestral world of Zimbabwean tradition temporarily ceases to function because ancestors will be resting. Mutinhima (2015) writes: "According to African [sic] tradition, this is the month that the ancestors do not deal with earthly issues but deal with Musiki, God, on various issues tabled before the ancestors during the course of the year." In this way "Cultural ceremonies such as biras, kurova makuva or even traditional marriage rites are regarded as taboo during this month" (Mukunguta 2014). Talk about ancestors taking a rest does not, however, mean that the spiritual realm ceases to exist during this period. November is a month of regeneration for animals. Hence, it is taboo among the Shona to slaughter goats (mbudzi) or to marry during the month of November. It is also taboo to perform cultural and religious rites such as kurova guva, bira, among others. Thus the Shona have come up with an eco-theology and an eco-spirituality that aim to preserve and protect nature as part of nurturing a sustainable eco-system, where human beings are but one of multiple actors in the universe.

 

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