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Today is day 15 and our topic is about one cultural aspect from my home country or community.
Zimbabwe is a landlocked African country situated on the south of Africa. It has a population of roughly 14 million people, has 16 languages and about 7 religions. Although Christianity being the main religion and being introduced by the Portuguese in the 16th century, the natives of Zimbabwe already knew God though tradition religion. The Zimbabwean people (Shona, Ndebele, Kalanga, Nyanja etc) all knew and believed in God ( Mwari, Unkulunkulu), assessing through spirit mediums. The practice has been carried on for aeons and still holds precedents to other religions as it is still influential in the everyday lives of Zimbabweans. The traditional practises have carried taboos that have affected generations over the course of time.
One of the taboos that have shaped and affected the Zimbabwean as a nation is a belief that nothing cultural or eventful should take place in the month of November. Many theories have been passed down as to why there is such a belief, but all of them point to one thing- culture. The belief dates back to centuries ago and it has been known to be sacred because it was and still is the month when people start preparations for the all-important agricultural season. It is a during this month that all things ancestral and spiritual in the Zimbabwean tradition cease to function.
The month of November known as Mbudzi (meaning goat in Shona) or Lwezi (meaning moon in Ndebele) is the time when people start preparing for planting. Not much is done as it is considered a time for resting. It is said, in the Shona culture, the month is called Mbudzi because it is when goats give birth and are at their mating peak.
Cultural celebrations or ceremonies in the such as bira, (calling on ancestral spirits for guidance and intercession), kurova makuva (calling on the spirit of the dead to come back to protect the household exactly a year after the funeral) or any other traditional rites are regarded as taboo during the month of November. It is believed the spiritual realm will be at rest but does not cease to exist. Traditional healers, spiritual mediums and all those who channel the spiritual realm, will be on a hiatus as it is deemed a “sabbath” in the traditional sector.
3. Celebrations and ceremonies
Traditional wedding or white wedding ceremonies practised during the month of November are deemed null as it is believed they are events that need the blessings of the ancestors and acknowledgement from the spiritual realm. Having such a celebration during this month will result in unfavourable weather conditions such as droughts and mystical occurrences to take place.
Although not all Zimbabwean believe in this taboo due to different beliefs, it seems to be a practice that brings the country to a halt and seems to be observed regardless. It appears to be a tradition that will be carried on by generations to come, as they have been accustomed to keep the month sacred.