The Berber calendar is the agricultural calendar traditionally used by Berbers. It is also known as the fellaḥi (ﻓﻼّﺣﻲ "rustic" or ﻋﺠﻤﻲʿajamī "foreign" calendar). The calendar is utilized to regulate the seasonal agricultural works.
A calendar is a system of organizing days for social, religious, commercial or administrative purposes. This is done by giving names to periods of time, typically days, weeks, months and years. A date is the designation of a single, specific day within such a system. A calendar is also a physical record of such a system. A calendar can also mean a list of planned events, such as a court calendar or a partly or fully chronological list of documents, such as a calendar of wills.
Berbers, or Amazighs, are an ethnic group of several nations indigenous mostly to North Africa and in some northern parts of Western Africa.
The Islamic calendar, a lunar calendar, is not suited for agriculture because it does not relate to seasonal cycles. [ citation needed ]In other parts of the Islamic world either Iranian solar calendars, the Coptic calendar, the Rumi calendar, or other calendars based on the Julian calendar, were used before the introduction of the Gregorian calendar.
The Islamic, Muslim, or Hijri calendar is a lunar calendar consisting of 12 lunar months in a year of 354 or 355 days. It is used to determine the proper days of Islamic holidays and rituals, such as the annual period of fasting and the proper time for the pilgrimage to Mecca. The civil calendar of almost all countries where the religion is predominantly Muslim is the Gregorian calendar. Notable exceptions to this rule are Iran and Afghanistan, which use the Solar Hijri calendar. Rents, wages and similar regular commitments are generally paid by the civil calendar.
A lunar calendar is a calendar based upon the monthly cycles of the Moon's phases, in contrast to solar calendars, whose annual cycles are based only directly upon the solar year. The most commonly used calendar, the Gregorian calendar, is a solar calendar system that originally evolved out of a lunar calendar system. A purely lunar calendar is also distinguished from a lunisolar calendar, whose lunar months are brought into alignment with the solar year through some process of intercalation. The details of when months begin varies from calendar to calendar, with some using new, full, or crescent moons and others employing detailed calculations.
The Iranian calendars or Iranian chronology are a succession of calendars invented or used for over two millennia in Iran also known as Persia. One of the longest chronological records in human history, the Iranian calendar has been modified time and time again during its history to suit administrative, climatic, and religious purposes.
The current Berber calendar is a legacy of the Roman province of Mauretania Caesariensis and the Roman province of Africa, as it is a surviving form of the Julian calendar. The latter calendar was used in Europe before the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, with month names derived from Latin. Berber populations previously used various indigenous calendars, such as that of the Guanche autochthones of the Canary Islands. However, relatively little is known of these ancient calendrical systems.
The Roman provinces were the lands and people outside of Rome itself that were controlled by the Republic and later the Empire. Each province was ruled by a Roman who was appointed as governor. Although different in many ways, they were similar to the states in Australia or the United States, the regions in the United kingdom or New Zealand, or the prefectures in Japan. Canada refers to some of its territory as provinces.
Mauretania Caesariensis was a Roman province located in what is now Algeria in the Maghreb. The full name refers to its capital Caesarea Mauretaniae, in order to distinguish it from neighboring Mauretania Tingitana, which was ruled from Tingis.
The Julian calendar, proposed by Julius Caesar in 46 BC, was a reform of the Roman calendar. It took effect on 1 January 45 BC, by edict. It was the predominant calendar in the Roman world, most of Europe, and in European settlements in the Americas and elsewhere, until it was refined and gradually replaced by the Gregorian calendar, promulgated in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII.
The agricultural Berber calendar still in use is almost certainly derived from the Julian calendar, introduced in the Roman province of Africa at the time of Roman domination. The names of the months of this calendar are derived from the corresponding Latin names and races of the Roman calendar denominations of Kalends, Nones and Ides exist: El Qabisi, an Islamic jurisconsult by Kairawan who lived in the 11th century, condemned the custom of celebrating "pagans'" festivals and cited, among traditional habits of North Africa, that of observing January Qalandas ("Kalends").The length of the year and of the individual months is the same as in the Julian calendar: three years of 365 days followed by a leap year of 366, without exceptions, and 30- and 31-day months, except for the second one that has 28 days. The only slight discrepancy lies in that the extra day in leap years is not usually added at the end of February, but at the end of the year. This means that the beginning of the year (the first day of yennayer ) corresponds to the 14th day of January in the Gregorian calendar, which coincides with the offset accumulated during the centuries between astronomical dates and the Julian calendar.
Africa Proconsularis was a Roman province on the northwest African coast that was established in 146 BC following the defeat of Carthage in the Third Punic War. It roughly comprised the territory of present-day Tunisia, the northeast of Algeria, and the coast of western Libya along the Gulf of Sirte. The territory was originally inhabited by Berber people, known in Latin as Mauri indigenous to all of North Africa west of Egypt; in the 9th century BC, Phoenicians built settlements along the Mediterranean Sea to facilitate shipping, of which Carthage rose to dominance in the 8th century until its conquest by the Roman Republic.
The Roman calendar was the calendar used by the Roman kingdom and republic. The term often includes the Julian calendar established by the reforms of the dictator Julius Caesar and emperor Augustus in the late 1st century BC and sometimes includes any system dated by inclusive counting towards months' kalends, nones, and ides in the Roman manner. The term usually excludes the Alexandrian calendar of Roman Egypt, which continued the unique months of that land's former calendar; the Byzantine calendar of the later Roman Empire, which usually dated the Roman months in the simple count of the ancient Greek calendars; and the Gregorian calendar, which refined the Julian system to bring it into still closer alignment with the solar year and is the basis of the current international standard.
A leap year is a calendar year containing one additional day added to keep the calendar year synchronized with the astronomical or seasonal year. Because seasons and astronomical events do not repeat in a whole number of days, calendars that have the same number of days in each year drift over time with respect to the event that the year is supposed to track. By inserting an additional day or month into the year, the drift can be corrected. A year that is not a leap year is called a common year.
There are standard forms for the names of the Amazigh (Berber) calendar. The table below also provides the forms used in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.
Morocco, officially the Kingdom of Morocco, is a country located in the Maghreb region of North Africa with an area of 710,850 km2 (274,460 sq mi). Its capital is Rabat, the largest city Casablanca. It overlooks the Mediterranean Sea to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Morocco claims the areas of Ceuta, Melilla and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera, all of them under Spanish jurisdiction.
Algeria, officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of North Africa. The capital and most populous city is Algiers, located in the far north of the country on the Mediterranean coast. With an area of 2,381,741 square kilometres (919,595 sq mi), Algeria is the tenth-largest country in the world, the world's largest Arab country, and the largest in Africa. Algeria is bordered to the northeast by Tunisia, to the east by Libya, to the west by Morocco, to the southwest by the Western Saharan territory, Mauritania, and Mali, to the southeast by Niger, and to the north by the Mediterranean Sea. The country is a semi-presidential republic consisting of 48 provinces and 1,541 communes (counties). It has the highest human development index of all non-island African countries.
Tunisia, officially the Republic of Tunisia, is a country in the Maghreb region of North Africa, covering 163,610 square kilometres. Its northernmost point, Cape Angela, is the northernmost point on the African continent. It is bordered by Algeria to the west and southwest, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Tunisia's population was 11.435 million in 2017. Tunisia's name is derived from its capital city, Tunis, which is located on its northeast coast.
|Month||Riffian (north Morocco)||Shilha (south Morocco)||Kabyle (Algeria)||Berber of Djerba (Tunisia)||Tunisian Arabic||Libyan Arabic|
In addition to the subdivision by months, within the traditional agricultural calendar there are other partitions, by "seasons" or by "strong periods", characterized by particular festivals and celebrations.
Not all the four seasons have retained a Berber denomination: the words for spring and autumn are used almost everywhere, more sparingly the winter and, among northern Berbers, the Berber name for the autumn has been preserved only in Jebel Nafusa (Libya).
Libya, officially the State of Libya, is a country in the Maghreb region in North Africa, bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad to the south, Niger to the southwest, Algeria to the west, and Tunisia to the northwest. The sovereign state is made of three historical regions: Tripolitania, Fezzan and Cyrenaica. With an area of almost 1.8 million square kilometres (700,000 sq mi), Libya is the fourth largest country in Africa, and is the 16th largest country in the world. Libya has the 10th-largest proven oil reserves of any country in the world. The largest city and capital, Tripoli, is located in western Libya and contains over one million of Libya's six million people. The second-largest city is Benghazi, which is located in eastern Libya.
An interesting element is the existing opposition between two 40-day terms, one representing the allegedly coldest part of winter ("The nights", llyali) and one the hottest period of summer ("The Dog Days", ssmaym, awussu).
The coldest period is made up by 20 "white nights" (Berber: iḍan imellalen, Arabic: al-lyali al-biḍ), from 12 to 31 dujamber (Gregorian dates: 25 December - 13 January), and 20 "black nights" (Berber: iḍan tiberkanin/isṭṭafen, Arabic al-lyali al-sud), beginning on the first day of yennayer, corresponding to the Gregorian 14 January.
The first day of the year is celebrated in various ways in the different parts of North Africa. A widespread tradition is a meal with particular foods, which vary from region to region (such as a couscous with seven vegetables). In some regions, it is marked by the sacrifice of an animal (usually a chicken). In January 2018, Algeria declared Yennayer a national holiday – a landmark policy considering how the Amazigh are marginalized in Northern Africa.
A characteristic trait of this festivity, which often blurs with the Islamic Day of Ashura, is the presence, in many regions, of ritual invocations with formulas like bennayu, babiyyanu, bu-ini, etc. Such expressions, according to many scholars, may be derived from of the ancient bonus annus (happy new year) wishes.
A curious aspect of the Yennayer celebrations concerns the date of New Year's Day. Though once this anniversary fell everywhere on 14 January,because of a likely mistake introduced by some Berber cultural associations very active in recovering customs on the verge of extinction, at present in a wide part of Algeria it is common opinion that the date of "Berber New Year's Day" is 12 January and not the 14th. Previously the celebration at the 12, two days before the traditional one, it had been explicitly signaled in the city of Oran.
El Azara (Arabic : العزارة) is the period of the year extending, according to the Berber calendar, from 3 to 13 February and known by a climate sometimes hot, sometimes cold.
Before the cold ends completely and spring begins fully, there is a period of the year that is very feared. It consists of ten days straddling the months of furar and mars (the last five of the former and the first five of the latter), and it is characterised by strong winds. It is said that, during this term, one should suspend many activities (agricultural and artisan), should not marry nor go out during the night, leaving instead full scope to mysterious powers, which in that period are particularly active and celebrate their weddings. Due to a linguistic taboo, in Djerba these creatures are called imbarken, i.e. "the blessed ones", whence this period takes its name.
Jamrat el Ma (Arabic : جمرة الماء), "embers of the sea", 27 February, is marked by a rise in sea temperature.
Jamrat el Trab (Arabic : جمرة التراب), "land embers" in English, is the period from 6 to 10 March and known to be marked by a mixture of heavy rain and sunny weather. Jamrat or coal is a term used to describe the state of the earth during this period which becomes warm.
Like the strong winter cold, the Dog Days also last 40 days, from 12 yulyuz (25 July) to 20 ghusht (2 September). The apical moment of the period is the first of ghusht "August" (also the name awussu, widespread in Tunisia and Libya, seems to date back to Latin augustus). On this date, particular rites are performed, which manifestly derive from pre-Islamic, and even pre-Christian, traditions. They consist, in particular, of bonfires (which in many locations take place around the summer solstice: a custom already condemned as Pagan by St. Augustine), or water rituals, like those, common in the coastal towns of Tunisia and Tripolitania, that provide to dive in the seawaters for three nights, in order to preserve one's health. In these ceremonies, whole families used to enter the water, bringing with them even their pets. Though the rite has been revisited in an Islamic frame (in those nights, the water of the Zamzam Well, in Mecca, would spill over, and in the sea there would be beneficial sweet water waves), many call this celebration "the nights of the error". It was in fact usual that, in order to achieve fertility and prosperity, men and women copulated among the flucts.
Another important period for the agricultural calendar is that of the ploughing. In this context, a date considered fundamental is the 17th of (k)tuber, in which one may start ploughing his fields. In Arabic, this period is called ḥertadem, that is "Adam's ploughing", because in that date the common ancestor of humanity is said to have begun his agricultural works.
Following centuries-long contacts with the Arab-Islamic culture, the celebrations linked to the Julian calendar have been sometimes integrated into the Islamic calendar, leading to the suppression of some traditional holidays or to the creation of duplicates.
The most evident example are the celebrations for the new year, which in many cases have been transferred to the first Islamic month, i.e. Muḥarram , and more precisely to the ʿĀshūrā’, which falls on the 10th day of that month. This holiday has an important mournful meaning in the Shia Islam, but it is substantially ignored among Sunnis. Many studies have shown the relationships between the joyful celebration of this holiday in North Africa and the ancient New Year's Day celebrations.
Arabic and Berber names of the Islamic months
|Arabic name||Berber name|
|1||Muḥàrram|| babiyannu (Ouargla)|
|2||Sàfar||u deffer ʿashura'|
|4||Rabiʿ al-thani||u deffer elmilud|
|5||Jumada al-awwal||melghes (Djerba)|
|6||Jumada al-thani||asgenfu n twessarin "the rest (the waiting) of the old women" (Ouargla)|
sh-shaher n Fadma (Djerba)
|7||Rajab||twessarin "the old women"|
|8||shaʿaban||asgenfu n remdan "the rest (the waiting) of Ramadan" (Ouargla)|
|9||Ramadan||sh-shaher n uzum' "the month of the fasting" (Djerba)|
|10||Shawwal||tfaska tameshkunt "the little holiday" (Djerba)|
|11||dhu al-qaʿida||u jar-asneth "that between the two (holidays)" (Djerba)|
|12||Dhu al-Hijjah||tfaska tameqqart "the big holiday" (Djerba)|
|tayyuret tezwaret||The first small moon|
|tayyuret teggwerat||The last small moon|
|tasra tezwaret||The first herd|
|tasra teggwerat||The last herd|
|awdayeɣet yezwaren||The first antelope babies|
|awdayeɣet yeggweran||The last antelope babies|
|awzimet yezwaren||The first gazelle babies|
|awzimet yeggweran||The last gazelle babies|
|ayssi / aysi||?|
Not much is known about the division of time among the ancient Berbers. Some elements of a pre-Islamic, and almost certainly a pre-Roman calendar, emerge from some medieval writings, analyzed by Nico van den Boogert. Some correspondences with the traditional Tuareg calendar suggest that in antiquity there existed, with some degree of diffusion, a Berber time computation, organized on native bases.
There are not enough elements to reconstruct this calendar fully, but known characteristics include many month names' appearing in couples (in the Tuareg world, even in triplets), which suggests a time division different from the present one, made up of months of about 30 days.
Some further information, although difficult to specify and correlate with the situation in the rest of North Africa, may be deduced from what is known about time computation among the Guanches of the Canary Islands. According to a 17th-century manuscript by Tomás Marín de Cubas, they
computed their year, called Acano, by lunations of 29 days (suns) beginning from the new moon. It began in summer, when the sun enters in Cancer, on June 21: at the first conjunction (at the first new moon after the Summer solstice) they celebrated nine festival days for the crop.
The same manuscript states (although somewhat obscurely) that graphical-pictorical records of such calendarial events (tara) were made on different supports, and on this basis some modern scholars identified alleged descriptions of astronomical events connected to annual cycles in a series of geometric paintings in some caves of Gran Canaria island, but the results of these studies are for now highly speculative.
The name of only one month is known in the native language, handed down as Beñesmet. It seems it was the second month of the year, corresponding to August. Such a name, in case it was made up by something like *wen "that of" + (e)smet (or (e)zmet?), may correspond, in the list of medieval Berber month names, with the ninth and tenth months, awzimet (properly aw "baby of" + zimet "gazelle"). But data are too scarce for this hypothesis to be deepened.
The traditional Berber calendar was not linked to an era with respect to which years were calculated. Where traditional ways to compute the years have been preserved (Tuareg civilization), years are not expressed with numbers but each of them has a name characterizing it.
Starting from the 1960s, however, on the initiative of the Académie Berbère of Paris, some Berbers have begun computing the years starting from 950 BC, the approximate date of the rising into power of the first Libyan Pharaoh in Egypt, Shoshenq I, whom they identified as the first prominent Berber in history (he is recorded as being of Libyan origin). 2019 corresponds to the 2969th year of the Berber calendar.For example, the Gregorian year
This innovation has been adopted with conviction by many supporters of the Berber culture and is now a part of the cultural heritage of this people, fully integrated in the system of traditional customs related the North-African calendar.[ citation needed ]
The Berber languages, also known as Berber or the Amazigh languages, are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family. They comprise a group of closely related languages spoken by the Berbers, who are indigenous to North Africa. The languages were traditionally written with the ancient Libyco-Berber script, which now exists in the form of Tifinagh.
The French Republican calendar, also commonly called the French Revolutionary calendar, was a calendar created and implemented during the French Revolution, and used by the French government for about 12 years from late 1793 to 1805, and for 18 days by the Paris Commune in 1871. The revolutionary system was designed in part to remove all religious and royalist influences from the calendar, and was part of a larger attempt at decimalisation in France. It was used in government records in France and other areas under French rule, including Belgium, Luxembourg, and parts of the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Malta, and Italy.
Tifinagh is an abjad script used to write the Tamazight languages.
The Coptic calendar, also called the Alexandrian calendar, is a liturgical calendar used by the Coptic Orthodox Church and also used by the farming populace in Egypt. This calendar is based on the ancient Egyptian calendar. To avoid the calendar creep of the latter, a reform of the ancient Egyptian calendar was introduced at the time of Ptolemy III which consisted of the intercalation of a sixth epagomenal day every fourth year. However, this reform was opposed by the Egyptian priests, and the reform was not adopted until 25 BC, when the Roman Emperor Augustus imposed the Decree upon Egypt as its official calendar. To distinguish it from the Ancient Egyptian calendar, which remained in use by some astronomers until medieval times, this reformed calendar is known as the Coptic calendar. Its years and months coincide with those of the Ethiopian calendar but have different numbers and names.
New Year's Day, also simply called New Year or New Year's, is observed on January 1, the first day of the year on the modern Gregorian calendar as well as the Julian calendar.
The intercalary month or epagomenal days of the ancient Egyptian, Coptic, and Ethiopian calendars are a period of five days in common years and six days in leap years in addition to those calendars' 12 standard months, sometimes reckoned as their thirteenth month. They originated as a periodic measure to ensure that the heliacal rising of Sirius would occur in the 12th month of the Egyptian lunar calendar but became a regular feature of the civil calendar and its descendants. Coptic and Ethiopian leap days occur in the year preceding Gregorian leap years.
Berberism or Amazighism is a Berber political-cultural movement of ethnic, geographic, or cultural nationalism, started mainly in Kabylia, Algeria and in Morocco, later spreading to the rest of the Berber communities in North Africa. A Berber group, the Tuaregs, have been in rebellion against Mali since 2012, and established a temporarily de facto independent state called Azawad, which identified itself as Berber.
The Islamic New Year, also known as Arabic New Year or Hijri New Year, is the day that marks the beginning of a new Hijri year, and is the day on which the year count is incremented. The first day of the year is observed on the first day of Muharram, the first month in the Islamic calendar. The epoch of the Islamic era was set as 622 Common Era (CE), the year of the emigration of Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to Medina, known as the Hijra. All religious duties, such as prayer, fasting in the month of Ramadan, and pilgrimage, and the dates of significant events, such as celebration of holy nights and festivals, are calculated according to the Islamic calendar.
The Armenian calendar is the calendar traditionally used in Armenia.
The Berber Latin alphabet is the version of the Latin alphabet used to write the Berber languages. It was adopted in the 19th century, using varieties of letters.
Mohamed Chafik, born 17 September 1926, is a leading figure in the Amazigh cultural movement. An original author of the Amazigh Manifesto, he was later appointed as the first Rector of the Royal Institute of the Amazigh Culture. He has worked extensively on incorporating Amazigh culture into Moroccan identity and is a leading intellectual of the Moroccan intelligentsia.
The Javanese calendar is the calendar of the Javanese people. It is used concurrently with two other calendars, the Gregorian calendar and the Islamic calendar. The Gregorian calendar is the official calendar of the Republic of Indonesia and civil society, while the Islamic calendar is used by Muslims and the Indonesian government for religious worship and deciding relevant Islamic holidays.
Proto-Berber or Proto-Libyan is the reconstructed proto-language from which the modern Berber languages stem. Proto-Berber was an Afroasiatic language, and as such, its descendant Berber languages are cousins to the Egyptian language, Cushitic languages, Semitic languages, Chadic languages, and the Omotic languages.
The Gregorian calendar is the calendar used in most of the world. It is named after Pope Gregory XIII, who introduced it in October 1582. The calendar spaces leap years to make the average year 365.2425 days long, approximating the 365.2422-day tropical year that is determined by the Earth's revolution around the Sun. The rule for leap years is:
Every year that is exactly divisible by four is a leap year, except for years that are exactly divisible by 100, but these centurial years are leap years if they are exactly divisible by 400. For example, the years 1700, 1800, and 1900 are not leap years, but the year 2000 is.
Berber orthography is the writing system(s) used to transcribe the Berber languages. In antiquity, the Libyco-Berber script (Tifinagh) was utilized to write Berber. Early uses of the script have been found on rock art and in various sepulchres. Following the spread of Islam, some Berber scholars also utilized the Arabic script. There are now three writing systems in use for Berber languages: Tifinagh (Libyco-Berber), the Arabic script, and the Berber Latin alphabet. Different groups in North Africa have different preferences of writing system, often motivated by ideology and politics.
The adoption of the Gregorian Calendar was an event in the modern history of most nations and societies, marking a change from their traditional dating system to the modern dating system that is widely used around the world today. Some countries adopted the new calendar from 1582, some did not do so before the early twentieth century, and others did so at various dates between; however a number continue to use a different civil calendar. For many the new style calendar is only used for civil purposes and the old style calendar remains used in religious contexts. Today, the Gregorian calendar is the world's most widely used civil calendar. During – and for some time after – the change between systems, it has been common to use the terms Old Style and New Style when giving dates, to indicate which calendar was used to reckon them.
Yennayer is the first month of the Berber Year or the Berber year used since antiquity by the Berbers in North Africa. Its first day corresponds to the first day of January of the Julian Calendar, which is shifted thirteen days compared to the Gregorian calendar, i.e. 14 January of every year.