Demystifying the ‘month of the goat’

24 Nov, 2019 - 00:11 0 Views
Demystifying the ‘month of the goat’

Emmanuel Kafe

BY next Sunday, the “sacred” month of November will be gone and people will be free to marry and conduct all kinds of cultural rituals, which probably explains why there are always so many weddings in December.

While couples could choose to use November as a time for weddings and honeymoon in December, it is not possible for many.

Culturally, it is taboo.

For every believer in the Zimbabwean traditions and culture, November is a sacred month. It belongs to the ancestors, the spirits that guide and protect.

It is believed that transgressors bring bad luck upon themselves. Weddings, for instance, held in November are said to end in divorce as punishment for this abomination. Other ceremonies such as lobola negotiations, biras and tombstone unveilings are largely prohibited.

In short, nothing happens on the cultural front during the month of November.

Many, including some Christians, believe that November events attract bad luck.

Traditionalists concur that during this month, the spiritual realm will be resting.

Many might remember the case between then Chief Lascious Chitsinde Negomo and the late Morgan Richard Tsvangirai in 2012.

Tsvangirai was accused of violating the sanctity of the month of November by paying lobola. The case was highly publicised because people were keen to know the position of Roman-Dutch law vis-a-vis our African living law.

However, with Christianity becoming the dominant religion in Africa, a lot has changed with regards to the observance of November’s traditional sanctity.

An increasing number of couples are getting married in November while some churches are solemnising weddings during this sacred month.

Sekuru Edward Charira, a traditionalist, said although spirits will be resting, it does not mean the spiritual realm ceases to exist in November.

“The month of November, ‘mwedzi waMbudzi’ (month of the goat) in Shona, is so sacred that all rituals and everything on the socio-cultural front has to come to a standstill. The socio-economic aspects of everyone’s existence are believed to be linked to the spiritual world,” he said.

He believes that partaking in any form of cultural ceremony during the month of November is taboo.

“I would not accept bride price for my children in November, it is culturally wrong. We need the ancestors to bless marriages, but if they are inactive during that period, it means the marriage may never succeed,” he said.

Sekuru Charira explained that the sacred month is a lunar one that does not entirely fall in November, but often starts during the last week of October until around November 24.

Sekuru Friday Chisanyu of the Zimbabwe National Practitioners’ Association echoed the same sentiments, saying ancestral spirits go on “leave” during the sacred month.

He said Africans have a tendency of abandoning their own beliefs for foreign ones.

“As Africans we are linked to our dead relatives, but certain cultures are diluting that,” he said, adding that those who marry in November are likely to encounter problems in their marriages.

However, other traditionalists and Christians view things differently.

Eldorado Magombo, a Christian, said the sacredness of November only applied to Shona tradition.

“Spiritually, there is nothing wrong with marrying in November, it may not have any consequences, but from a cultural point of view, it is unacceptable,” said Magombo.

Pastor Winnie Kasi of Light House Ministries Celebration Church said for Christians, God is omnipresent and neither sleeps nor slumbers, even during the month of November.

“We come from different backgrounds. Therefore, we still find other people holding on to their traditional and cultural values such that in most churches there are no weddings in November. Most Christians are still entangled in African traditions,” she said.


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