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By the traditional Xhosa calendar, the year began in June and ended in May, when Canopus, a large star visible in the Southern Hemisphere, signalled the time for harvesting.

In the Xhosa language, there are two ways of naming months: modern and traditional. In urban areas the modern names of the months are used. However, in rural areas, in poetry, and particularly in the Eastern Cape the old names are still used.


Month names



The modern names for the months are borrowed from the English equivalents:

  • January - uJanuwari
  • February - uFebhuwari
  • March - uMatshi
  • April - uApreli
  • May - uMeyi
  • June - uJuni
  • July - uJulayi
  • August - uAgasti
  • September - uSeptemba
  • October - uOktobha
  • November - uNovemba
  • December - uDisemba


The traditional names for months come from names of plants or flowers that grow or seasonal changes that happen at a given time of year. They are:

  • January – EyoMqungu (month of the Tambuki Grass)
  • February – EyoMdumba (month of the swelling grain)
  • March – EyoKwindla (month of the first fruits)
  • April – UTshazimpuzi (month of the withering pumpkins)
  • May – UCanzibe (month of Canopus)
  • June - Isilimela (month of the Pleiades)
  • July – EyeKhala / EyeNtlaba (month of the aloes)
  • August – EyeThupha (month of the buds)
  • September – EyoMsintsi (month of the coast coral tree)
  • October – EyeDwarha (month of the lilypad)
  • November – EyeNkanga (month of the small yellow daisies)
  • December EyoMnga (month of the mimosa thorn tree)

Days of the week

  • Monday - uMvulo
  • Tuesday - uLwesibini
  • Wednesday - uLwesithathu
  • Thursday - uLwesine
  • Friday - uLwesihlanu
  • Saturday - uMgqibelo
  • Sunday - iCawe


  • Autumn - eKwindla
  • Winter - uBusika
  • Spring - iNtlakohlaza/iNtwasahlobo
  • Summer - iHlobo

See also


Kirsch et al., Clicking with Xhosa, David Phillip Publishers, Cape Town, 2001, p.44


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