Berber calendar

The Berber calendar is the agricultural calendar
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. The name given to each day is known as a date. Periods in a calendar are usually, though not...

 that is traditionally used in North Africa regions. It is also known in Arabic as the fellāḥī "rustic" or ''ʿajamī "foreign" calendar. It is employed to regulate the seasonal agricultural works, in place of the Islamic calendar
Islamic calendar
The Hijri calendar , also known as the Muslim calendar or Islamic calendar , is a lunar calendar consisting of 12 lunar months in a year of 354 or 355 days. It is used to date events in many Muslim countries , and used by Muslims everywhere to determine the proper day on which to celebrate Islamic...

 which, being of lunar
Lunar calendar
A lunar calendar is a calendar that is based on cycles of the lunar phase. A common purely lunar calendar is the Islamic calendar or Hijri calendar. A feature of the Islamic calendar is that a year is always 12 months, so the months are not linked with the seasons and drift each solar year by 11 to...

 type, without any relation with the seasonal cycles, is useful to calculate religious festival
Religious festival
A religious festival is a time of special importance marked by adherents to that religion. Religious festivals are commonly celebrated on recurring cycles in a calendar year or lunar calendar...

s but ill-adapted for agriculture.

The Berber calendar, a legacy of Roman Mauretania
Mauretania is a part of the historical Ancient Libyan land in North Africa. It corresponds to present day Morocco and a part of western Algeria...

, is a surviving form of the ancient Julian calendar
Julian calendar
The Julian calendar began in 45 BC as a reform of the Roman calendar by Julius Caesar. It was chosen after consultation with the astronomer Sosigenes of Alexandria and was probably designed to approximate the tropical year .The Julian calendar has a regular year of 365 days divided into 12 months...

 (with month names derived from the Latin) which was used in Europe before the introduction of the Gregorian calendar
Gregorian calendar
The Gregorian calendar, also known as the Western calendar, or Christian calendar, is the internationally accepted civil calendar. It was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII, after whom the calendar was named, by a decree signed on 24 February 1582, a papal bull known by its opening words Inter...

, and which is also still in use in the Eastern churches.

There have been other indigenous calendars among the Berber peoples in the past, for example that of the Guanches
Guanches is the name given to the aboriginal Berber inhabitants of the Canary Islands. It is believed that they migrated to the archipelago sometime between 1000 BCE and 100 BCE or perhaps earlier...

 of the Canary Islands, but relatively little is known of these.

The older calendars

Not much is known about the division of time among ancient Berbers. Some elements of a pre-Islamic, and almost certainly pre-Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

, calendar emerge from some medieval
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 writings, analyzed by Nico van den Boogert. Some correspondences with the traditional Tuareg calendar suggest that in antiquity
Ancient history
Ancient history is the study of the written past from the beginning of recorded human history to the Early Middle Ages. The span of recorded history is roughly 5,000 years, with Cuneiform script, the oldest discovered form of coherent writing, from the protoliterate period around the 30th century BC...

 there existed, with some degree of diffusion, a "Berber" time computation, organized on native bases.
Tab. 1 - The Berber months
drawn from medieval works
  (van den Boogert 2002)
  Name of the month "Meaning"
1 tayyuret tezwaret Small moon 1st
2 tayyuret teggwerat Small moon 2nd
3 yardut ?
4 sinwa ?
5 tasra tezwaret The herd 1st
6 tasra teggwerat The herd 2nd
7 awdayeɣet yezwaren The baby antelope 1st
8 awdayeɣet yeggweran The baby antelope 2nd
9 awzimet yezwaren The baby gazelle 1st
10 awzimet yeggweran The baby gazelle 2nd
11 ayssi ?
12 nim ?

Unfortunately, there are not sufficient elements to fully reconstruct this primal calendar. Some remarkable characteristics may however be noticed, for example the fact that many month names appear 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
Guanches is the name given to the aboriginal Berber inhabitants of the Canary Islands. It is believed that they migrated to the archipelago sometime between 1000 BCE and 100 BCE or perhaps earlier...

 of the Canary Islands
Canary Islands
The Canary Islands , also known as the Canaries , is a Spanish archipelago located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, 100 km west of the border between Morocco and the Western Sahara. The Canaries are a Spanish autonomous community and an outermost region of the European Union...

. According to a 17th century manuscript
A manuscript or handwrite is written information that has been manually created by someone or some people, such as a hand-written letter, as opposed to being printed or reproduced some other way...

 by Tomás Marín de Cubas, they
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
Astronomy is a natural science that deals with the study of celestial objects and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth...

 events connected to annual cycles in a series of geometric paintings in some caves of Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria is the second most populous island of the Canary Islands, with a population of 838,397 which constitutes approximately 40% of the population of the archipelago...

 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 current Julian calendar

The agricultural Berber calendar still in use at the present day is almost certainly derived from the Julian calendar, introduced in the Roman province of Africa at the time of Roman domination, as different circumstances prove:
  • the names of the months of this calendar (both in Berber language and in Maghrebi Arabic), evidently derive from the corresponding Latin names;
  • 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;
  • 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
    Leap year
    A leap year is a year containing one extra day in order to keep the calendar year synchronized with the astronomical or seasonal 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.

Despite this, Jean Servier has expressed doubts on the fact that this calendar descends directly from the Julian calendar of the Latin era, and has hypothesized, without presenting backing evidence, that is came from a Copt calendar brought into North Africa by Arabs. However, this theory does not take into account that the structure of the Copt calendar is extremely different from that of the Berber one. Moreover, the premises on which it is based (the lack of traces of the ancient denominations of Kalends, Nones and Ides of the Roman calendar
Roman calendar
The Roman calendar changed its form several times in the time between the founding of Rome and the fall of the Roman Empire. This article generally discusses the early Roman or pre-Julian calendars...

) are wrong: in fact, 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 Kalends (Qalandas in the original text) (Idris, 1954).

The months

There are standard forms for the names of the Amazigh (Berber) calendar. The table below also provides the forms used in Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

, Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

 and Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

. In some areas they may be different due to poor communication and manipulation by the Government. Moreover, pronunciation differs according to the region.

Tab. 2 - The names of the months in various zones of Berber and Arab North Africa
Month Chleuh (South Morocco) Cabilo (Algeria) Berber of Djerba (Tunisia) Tunisian Arabic
January innayr (ye)nnayer yennár yennayer
February xubrayr furar furár fura(ye)r
March mars meghres mars mars
April ibrir (ye)brir ibrír abril
May mayyuh maggu mayu mayu
June yunyu yunyu yunyu yunyu
July yulyu yulyu(z) yulyu yulyu
August ghusht ghusht ghusht aghusht
September shutanbir shtember shtámber shtamber
October kṭuber (k)tuber ktúber uktuber
November duwanbir nu(ne)mber numbír nufember
December dujanbir bu- (du-)jember dujámber dejember

The "Gates of the Year"

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. For the key moments of the year, Jean Servier uses the picturesque name of "Gates of the Year" (
tibbura useggwas), even if, by rule, this term seems to be employed only in singular form to denote the Winter Solstice period.

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 is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

  • Spring tafsut (Ar. er-rbiʿ) - Begins on 15 furar (28 February)
  • Summer anebdu (Ar. es-sif) - Begins on 17 mayu (30 May)
  • Autumn amwal / aməwan ( (Ar. le-xrif) - Begins on 27 ghusht (30 August)
  • Winter tagrest (Ar. esh-shita) - Begins on 16 numbír (29 November)

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
Dog Days
"Dog Days" are the hottest, most sultry days of summer. In the Northern Hemisphere, the dog days of summer are most commonly experienced in the months of July and August, which typically observe the warmest summer temperatures. In the Southern Hemisphere, they typically occur in January and...

", ssmaym, awussu).


The coldest period is made up by 20 "White nights" (Berber: lyali timellalin, Arabic: al-lyali al-biḍ), from 12 to 31 dujamber (Gregorian dates: 25 December - 13 January), and 20 "black nights" (Berber: lyali tiberkanin, 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 (for example a "couscous
Couscous is a Berber dish of semolina traditionally served with a meat or vegetable stew spooned over it. Couscous is a staple food throughout Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.-Etymology:...

 with seven vegetables"), but in many zones it is provided by the sacrifice
Sacrifice is the offering of food, objects or the lives of animals or people to God or the gods as an act of propitiation or worship.While sacrifice often implies ritual killing, the term offering can be used for bloodless sacrifices of cereal food or artifacts...

 of an animal (usually a chicken). In Algeria, such a holiday is celebrated even by many people who don't use the Berber calendar in daily life.

A characteristic trait of this festivity, which often blurs with the Islamic Day of Ashura
Day of Ashura
The Day of Ashura is on the 10th day of Muharram in the Islamic calendar and marks the climax of the Remembrance of Muharram.It is commemorated by Shia Muslims as a day of mourning for the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad at the Battle of Karbala on 10...

 (see below), 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 the corrupted forms 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.

Today, the celebration of the Aamzigh new year is encouraged for cultural and politic reasons. In 2008, Libya officially celebrated the Amazigh new year, though Libyan Amazigh activists claim that Libyan dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi
Muammar al-Gaddafi
Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar Gaddafi or "September 1942" 20 October 2011), commonly known as Muammar Gaddafi or Colonel Gaddafi, was the official ruler of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977 and then the "Brother Leader" of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011.He seized power in a...

 has manipulated its celebration.


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
An artisan is a skilled manual worker who makes items that may be functional or strictly decorative, including furniture, clothing, jewellery, household items, and tools...

), 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
A taboo is a strong social prohibition relating to any area of human activity or social custom that is sacred and or forbidden based on moral judgment, religious beliefs and or scientific consensus. Breaking the taboo is usually considered objectionable or abhorrent by society...

, in Djerba
Djerba , also transliterated as Jerba or Jarbah, is, at 514 km², the largest island of North Africa, located in the Gulf of Gabes, off the coast of Tunisia.-Description:...

 these creatures are called imbarken, i.e. "the blessed ones", whence this period takes its name.


Like the strong winter cold, the Dog Days
Dog Days
"Dog Days" are the hottest, most sultry days of summer. In the Northern Hemisphere, the dog days of summer are most commonly experienced in the months of July and August, which typically observe the warmest summer temperatures. In the Southern Hemisphere, they typically occur in January and...

 also last 40 days, from 12
yulyuz (25 July) to 20 shutanbir (2 September). The apical moment of the period is the first of ghusht "August" (also the name awussu, widespread in Tunisia and Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

, 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
Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo , also known as Augustine, St. Augustine, St. Austin, St. Augoustinos, Blessed Augustine, or St. Augustine the Blessed, was Bishop of Hippo Regius . He was a Latin-speaking philosopher and theologian who lived in the Roman Africa Province...

), or water rituals, like those, common in the coastal towns of Tunisia and Tripolitania
Tripolitania or Tripolitana is a historic region and former province of Libya.Tripolitania was a separate Italian colony from 1927 to 1934...

, 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
Zamzam Well
The Well of Zamzam is a well located within the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, east of the Kaaba, the holiest place in Islam...

, in Mecca
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

, 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
Adam is a figure in the Book of Genesis. According to the creation myth of Abrahamic religions, he is the first human. In the Genesis creation narratives, he was created by Yahweh-Elohim , and the first woman, Eve was formed from his rib...

's ploughing", because in that date the common ancestor of humanity is said to have begun his agricultural works.

Influences from the Islamic calendar

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
Muharram is the first month of the Islamic calendar. It is one of the four sacred months of the year in which fighting is prohibited...

, and more precisely to the ''ʿĀshūrā’, which falls on the 10th day of that month. This holiday has an important mournful
Mourning is, in the simplest sense, synonymous with grief over the death of someone. The word is also used to describe a cultural complex of behaviours in which the bereaved participate or are expected to participate...

 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.
Tab. 3 - Correspondencies between Arabic and Berber names of the Islamic months
  Arabic name Berber name
1 Muḥàrram
Muharram is the first month of the Islamic calendar. It is one of the four sacred months of the year in which fighting is prohibited...

 babiyannu (Ouargla)
 ''ʿashura (Djerba)
2 Sàfar
Safar is the second month in the Islamic calendar.The root of the name, صفر ṣafr, has three basic areas of meaning: 1) whistle, hiss, chirp; 2) be yellow, pale ; 3) to be empty, devoid, vacant...

u deffer ʿashura
3 Rabiʿ al-awwal
Rabi' al-awwal
Rabi' al-awwal is the third month in the Islamic calendar. During this month, Muslims around the world celebrate Mawlid - the birthday of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Sunni Muslims believe the exact date of birth of Muhammad to have been on the twelfth of this month, whereas Shi'a Muslims believe...

4 Rabiʿ al-thani
Rabi' al-thani
Rabī’ al-Thānī is the fourth month in the Islamic Calendar. It is also known as Rabī` al-Ākhir .-Timing:The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, and months begin when the first crescent of a new moon is sighted. Since the Islamic lunar calendar year is 11 to 12 days shorter than the solar year,...

u deffer elmilud
5 Jumada al-awwal
Jumada al-awwal
Jumada al-awwal is the fifth month in the Islamic calendar.We can also find the alternative spelling Jumada al-Ula.The origin of the word is as follows: the word Jumda, from which the name of the month is derived, is used to denote dry parched land: land devoid of rain, and hence denote the dry...

melghes (Djerba)
6 Jumada al-thani
Jumada al-thani
Jumada al-Thani is the sixth month in the Islamic Calendar.It is also known as Jumaada al-Akhir and Jumada al-Akhira.This is the sixth month of the Islamic calendar...

asgenfu n twessarin "the rest (the waiting) of the old women" (Ouargla)
sh-shaher n Fadma (Djerba)
7 Rajab
Rajab is the seventh month of the Islamic calendar. The lexical definition of Rajaba is "to respect", of which Rajab is a derivative.This month is regarded as one of the four sacred months in Islam in which battles are prohibited...

twessarin "the old women"
8 shaʿaban
Sha'aban is the eighth month of the Islamic calendar.This is the month of ‘separation’, so called because the pagan Arabs used to disperse in search of water...

asgenfu n remdan "the rest (the waiting) of Ramadan" (Ouargla)
9 Ramadan
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which lasts 29 or 30 days. It is the Islamic month of fasting, in which participating Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and sex during daylight hours and is intended to teach Muslims about patience, spirituality, humility and...

sh-shaher n uzum "the month of the fasting" (Djerba)
10 Shawwal
Shawwāl is the tenth month of the lunar Islamic calendar. Shawwāl means to ‘lift or carry’; so named because she-camels normally would be carrying a fetus at this time of year.-Fasting during Shawwāl:...

tfaska tameshkunt "the little holiday" (Djerba)
11 dhu al-qaʿida
Dhu al-Qi'dah
Dhu al-Qa'dah, Dhu'l-Qadah, or Dhu al-Qi'dah is the eleventh month in the Islamic calendar. It is one of the four sacred months in Islam during which warfare is prohibited, hence the name ‘Master of Truce’.- Timing :...

u jar-asneth "that between the two (holidays)" (Djerba)
12 Dhu al-Hijjah
Dhu al-Hijjah
Dhu al-Ḥijjah is the twelfth and final month in the Islamic calendar.This is a very sacred month in the Islamic calendar, marking the end of the year. It is in this month in which the Hajj takes place....

tfaska tameqqart "the big holiday" (Djerba)

The Tuareg calendar

Tuaregs share many elements with northern Berbers concerning the subdivision of the year. Even they make reference to two different cycles, a solar one similar to the Julian calendar and a lunar one for religious purposes.

However the climatic, biological and socio-cultural differences of the desert with respect to more temperate territories reflect in some differences, especially with respect to the season subdivision.

The computation of the years

The traditional Berber calendar was not linked to an era
An era is a commonly used word for long period of time. When used in science, for example geology, eras denote clearly defined periods of time of arbitrary but well defined length, such as for example the Mesozoic era from 252 Ma–66 Ma, delimited by a start event and an end event. When used in...

 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
Berber Academy
The Berber Academy is a cultural association founded in 1966 by Mohand Arav Bessaoud and a group of young Kabyles. This group consisted of intellectuals, artists and journalists, all eager to put the Tifinagh in use. Fearing misuse of the term "academy", they renamed the association Agraw...

 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
Pharaoh is a title used in many modern discussions of the ancient Egyptian rulers of all periods. The title originates in the term "pr-aa" which means "great house" and describes the royal palace...

 in Egypt, Shoshenq I
Shoshenq I
Hedjkheperre Setepenre Shoshenq I , , also known as Sheshonk or Sheshonq I , was a Meshwesh Berber king of Egypt—of Libyan ancestry—and the founder of the Twenty-second Dynasty...

, whom they identified as the first prominent Berber in history (he is recorded as being of Libyan
Ancient Libya
The Latin name Libya referred to the region west of the Nile Valley, generally corresponding to modern Northwest Africa. Climate changes affected the locations of the settlements....

 origin). For example, the Gregorian year 2010 corresponds to the year 2960 of the Berber calendar.

With the passage of time, what could seem a bizarre 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.

Neologisms and false traditions

An interesting aspect from the anthropological
Cultural anthropology
Cultural anthropology is a branch of anthropology focused on the study of cultural variation among humans, collecting data about the impact of global economic and political processes on local cultural realities. Anthropologists use a variety of methods, including participant observation,...

 point of view, concerning the birth of traditions, is the flourish of innovations aimed to "restore" alleged forgotten customs. This is an understandable phenomenon, in the context of the rediscovery of an identity
Cultural identity
Cultural identity is the identity of a group or culture, or of an individual as far as one is influenced by one's belonging to a group or culture. Cultural identity is similar to and has overlaps with, but is not synonymous with, identity politics....

 long denied and hidden, with the eagerness to regain a heritage either lost or endangered. In particular, many creations have been observed in the field of the calendar, perceived as particularly important, since it is connected to the control of time. Sometimes, these innovations gain consensus and end up being adopted as genuine traditional heritage.

Some examples follow:

The names of the months:

Since the names of the months used in pre-Roman era are unknown (those shown in Table 1 are known only in the academic community), some tried to reconstruct "authentically Berber" names. Beginning with the most known name,
yennayer, someone, despite the manifest Latin derivation of the name, equivocated it as a Berber word composed by yan (the numeral "one" in various Berber dialects) + (a)yur, "moon/month", and on this basis reconstructed all the series of the month names: 1. yenyur or yennayur, 2. sinyur, 3. krayur, 4. kuzyur, 5. semyur, 6. sedyur, 7. sayur, 8. tamyur, 9. tzayur 10. mrayur, 11. yamrayur 12. megyur.
Tab. 4 - The "Berber" week
Day Académie Berbère Compounds with numerals
Monday aram aynas
Tuesday arim asinas
Wednesday ahad akras
Thursday amhad akwas
Friday sem asemwas
Saturday sed asedyas
Sunday acer asamas

The weekdays:

Even for the weekday
Weekday may either refer to only a day of the week which is part of the workweek thus not part of the weekend or to any of the days of the week.-Weekday as a day of the workweek:In most countries the days of the workweek are:# Monday# Tuesday# Wednesday...

s, the ancient native names are unknown, so some tried to "fill in the blanks" with newly coined terms. At present two series of them are widespread. The first and best known (though of unclear origin) dates probably back to the circle of the Académie Berbère
Berber Academy
The Berber Academy is a cultural association founded in 1966 by Mohand Arav Bessaoud and a group of young Kabyles. This group consisted of intellectuals, artists and journalists, all eager to put the Tifinagh in use. Fearing misuse of the term "academy", they renamed the association Agraw...

 of Paris (end of 1960s), while the second one simply repeats for the weekdays the same process used for the months, with the creation of a suffix -as ("day") in place of -yur. It must be noted that the former series, which begins with Monday and refers to the "European" denominations, is not prone to misunderstandings, while the latter, which refers to a numerical order of the days (beginning, too, with Monday), interferes with the Arabic system currently in use, which starts instead from Sunday, resulting sometimes with the new names being used to refer to different days.

Days and people names:

Often, calendars and almanac
An almanac is an annual publication that includes information such as weather forecasts, farmers' planting dates, and tide tables, containing tabular information in a particular field or fields often arranged according to the calendar etc...

s published by Berber militants and cultural circles associate a personal name to each day of the year, in imitation of Western calendars. This also meets the need to reappropriate the traditional proper name
Proper name
"A proper name [is] a word that answers the purpose of showing what thing it is that we are talking about" writes John Stuart Mill in A System of Logic , "but not of telling anything about it"...

s, which the Arabization
Arabization or Arabisation describes a growing cultural influence on a non-Arab area that gradually changes into one that speaks Arabic and/or incorporates Arab culture...

measures in Algeria and Morocco tend to substitute with strictly Arabic ones. Even in this field, which has strong emotive implications, it is not uncommon to find improvised lists of names, with nouns collected at random, as a result of casual readings and sometimes even of mistakes or typos.

External links

An article on the Berber calendar An article about traditional customs in Berber New Year's Day A page with a "Berber zodiac", a modern creation based upon traditional elements An essays on the calendars used by Guanches of Canaries (pdf)
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