TRADITIONAL CALENDAR

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Before we start discussing the traditional calendar of the Turkana people, let’s briefly take a look at the types of calendars. There are three categories of calendars namely: Lunisolar, Solar and Lunar calendar.

However, the universally known calendars are the Gregorian calendar, the Islamic calendar and the Chinese calendar. The commonly used calendar is the Gregorian or the Christian calendar established early 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII which replaced the Julian Calendar in 1918.

So, to cut the story short, the Turkana people use the Gregorian calendar and just like any other ethnic groups, they have their own names referring to the specific months based on the happenings during those 12 seasons of the year and their significance which marks the historical event in the turkana diary as discussed below:

  1. Lomaruk (January) – This was derived from the Verb Akimaruk which means clouds formation depicting the early warning sign of an impending rainfall.
  2. Lochoto (February) – Just after Akimaruk or the signs of rainfall, then comes the rain. In this month, turkana terrain became so muddy and they decided to name it after the mud. Meaning the season of overwhelming mud.
  3. Titima (March) – This was the 3rd month whose name was derived from the verb Akititimare which marked the period when pasture began blooming and propagating in the entire turkana land. During this month, there was plenty of greener pasture
  4. El-el (April) – This was the 4th month of the year whose name was derived from the term Akielarr, literally meaning dispersing or scattering from a common place. This was possible since green pastures were in abundance in the entire turkana land.
  5. Losuban(May) – This was the 5th month of the year and the name was derived from the verb Akisub which means “to make”. This is the month that was marked with various rituals and ceremonies like Akiuta/Akuuta(marriage) among other rituals/ceremonies. Farmers on the other hand conducted ‘Harvest ceremonies/festivals’ due to bumper harvest.
  6. Lotiak (June) – This was the 6th month of the year whose name was derived from the verb Akitiak which means to divide or to separate. During this season, the people of ateker started experiencing harsh climatic conditions. It served as a boundary between the wet/rainy season and the dry season.
  7. Lolong’u (July) – This marked the 7th month of the year whose name came from the turkana vocabulary along’u meaning to abandon. During this period the turkana land started experiencing harsh climatic condition where the lands became dry/arid conditions or desert-like. This month was marked by livestock migration to other places in search of green pasture and water for animals. This time the turkana people and their livestock experienced harsh climatic conditions.
  8. Lopo(August)  – This was the 8th month of the year which named after the act of cooking (akipore). The people experienced hardship since edible fruits were no more and they resorted to gathering wild fruits. These wild fruits were only palatable after cooking. The wild fruits included edung, edapal among other wild berries that were available at their disposal. They supplemented these wild fruits with fresh blood drawn from animals just to survive as they waited for the next season.
  9. Lorara (September) – This marked the 9th month of the year derived from the word Araraun(exfoliation). This was the month when deciduous trees shed their leaves. It was marked by extreme hardship. To survive they used hooked-poles(esegar) to shake the acacia trees and other deciduous trees for dry leaves (ng’atur) and dry seeds (ng’itit) for both people and their animal’s consumption.
  10. Lomuk(October) – This marked the  10th month whose name was derived from the verb Akimuk (covering). During this month, the sky was covered by scattered clouds.
  11. Lokwang (November) – Turkana translation for November or the 11th month of the year was derived from the word Ekwang  meaning bright. During this period the sun was very bright and wind blew across the turkana land.
  12. Lodunge (December) – This being the 12th and the last month of the year, the name was derived from the word Adudung’iar meaning to fall, the month marked the fall or the end of the dry season and the dawn of the wet/rainy season.

If you didn’t know, i thought you should know and you now know. Its my hope you have enjoyed the reading and if you have anything to share with us feel free to do so.

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