JANUARY is not the beginning of the year in Zimbabwe and other places in the southern hemisphere.
Ancient Zimbabweans used to mark the end of year with winter, and the beginning of the year with spring.
They would hold this period sacred and would hold offering (mapira) and rain-asking ceremonies in this period which falls between August and October.
In fact, once the first rains are ready to drop, the holding of traditional beginning-of-year festivities becomes strictly forbidden. This period falls around the beginning of November.
By January, the spring season (chirimo) and first rains would have taken place.
Plant wilting would have ended, crops would have been planted and would have already grown considerably.
Thus, January is the beginning of the second quarter of the year and, in it, an increase in rainfall is expected; marking the rain season (zhizha).
The sun’s movement determines the time of the day and the seasons of the year.
The moon cycles help calculate the days within a month.
The moons that pass within a year are 12 in number and each month is approximately 29 days, from a new moon (no moonlight), waxing (growing) crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous and full moon.
Then back to a waning gibbous, third quarter, waning (shrinking) crescent and back to a new moon.
Unlike the Romans, ancient Zimbabweans like the Chinese and Hebrew, used to calculate days by observing moon cycles.
For this reason, the month is called mwedzi meaning moon.
Why then are we following solar calendars which are not true to the dictates of nature.
Yes, the sky and stars act as a canopy to the earth.
Understanding its form enables one to map out geographical locations at night, particularly while navigating the seas.
In the same way, the sun’s movement determines seasons and that of the moon calculates days.
One cannot simply substitute a clock for a thermometer or a map.
Yet this is what has been done by choosing to abandon the traditional lunar calendar for the Roman solar calendar which has colonial origins.
No wonder why the days of Western-based festivities always change, the days in a month reach and often exceed 30, and a leap year is counted after every four years.
All these are measures to follow the sun’s revolutions in relation to the earth, a thing that is very unnecessary when it comes to counting the days and setting up calendars, for the moon already plays that role in nature.
The deviation of the Romans from the natural calendar (lunar) is all based on their sun worship culture, which at times causes them to make senseless adjustments, not only to the calendar but also to religious doctrines and festivals as has been done with Christianity.
They substituted the observation of the Sabbath on the seventh day with the first day (Sunday) because, to them, it was the day of the sun.
They went out of their way to defy the commandment of God, all for the sake of worshipping and paying tribute to the sun.
Let us now calculate the true date of the southern hemisphere’s New Year.
Firstly, it should be noted that times and seasons differ, especially with the hemisphere one is located in.
If it is winter in southern Africa, it is summer in Europe and China. Because life began in the south and the sun shines there most prominently, we shall assume the year begins in the south, then the north follows.
Thus, people in the southern hemisphere experience springtime approximately six months earlier than those in the north.
Rain-bearing winds such as the monsoon head south-west in October and head towards the north-east in April and vice versa, adhering to the God ordained times and seasons.
African and Asian sailors used to capitalise on these shifts in times, seasons and wind directions to travel more efficiently.
According to Zimbabwean tradition, the new moon begins after the waning crescent (kugara kwemwedzi), but like the ancient Hebrew and Chinese people, festivals would be set and held two weeks (Sabbaths) after this point, when the moon will be at its fullest.
According to the moon cycles as they pertain to the south, New Year’s day was on September 9 2018. The moon was new and in Ethiopia, the New Year (Rosh Hashanah) was being observed.
This year, the New Year’s day of the southern hemisphere will be on September 29 2019.
Evidently, the solar calendar makes it wrongly seem as if the New Year celebration days change with the solar calendar, yet they are the same annually and are accurate beyond measure because they are determined by counting 12 moons to the day in question.
Festivities such as the rain-asking ceremonies would ideally be held in this period which is already set apart for such sacred events.
The moon determines which exact date the festivities should be carried out and allows for uniformity and universality.
Even without reading an almanac based on astronomical observations, one can simply look at the sky and calculate the day of the New Year by counting the number of moons and marking the moon phases.
Some may fear that the Zimbabwean period of festivities is different from that of the rest of the world and this may cause unnecessary confusion.
If there is to be confusion, it certainly is not unnecessary.
In fact, it is the solar calendar that is confusing and has no means of being calculated without the use of a man-made calendar.
It is also a big misconception for people to believe the whole world follows Western festivals and uses Western calendars to determine their festivities.
The nation with the biggest population on earth, namely China, uses the lunar calendar to set its traditional holidays and days of ceremony. Their New Year will be on February 5 because that is when their springtime begins.
Places like Israel celebrate New Years also during springtime.
This year, this period falls around April 12, with the Passover taking place two weeks afterwards, under a full moon.
Islam is the world’s most dominant religion and the Muslim New Year is much closer to the traditional Zimbabwean one. This year it will be held on August 30, about a month before the start of the year here.
Thus, Zimbabweans should not be ashamed of their traditional calendar.
They also should not be reluctant to being unique.
For, in following the laws and cycles of nature, we gain security and truth.
When others become more enlightened on the God ordained tool of calculating days, that is the moon, they too will return to a more sound and practical way of counting and setting dates for festivities and anniversaries.