African Cultural Calendar

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Months in the Africalendar

Afrimonth
Date in Civic Calendar
Description of Afrimonths
Kemet
January 2 to January 31
The africalendar starts from almost at the beginning of the people’s history. The first month in the afriyear is Kemet. The word Kemet means black. It is the name that Africans in ancient Egypt called themselves and their country. Egypt has been called “the light of the world” and Kemet is the light that starts the year. The history of Kemet is the history of civilization and it is an achievement of the people. Our history cannot properly be written without starting with Kemet. Our people from the Ashantis to the Zulus place their origin in the Nile valley, where Kemet flourished. Kemet reflects the beginning and that is the reason that the africalendar begins each year with the month Kemet.
Nubia
February 1 to February 28/29

Nubia is the second month in the African cultural calendar. It is similar to February, in that it has 28 days or 29 days in a leap year. Nubia is one of the great civilizations that form the foundation of the people. It was located south of Kemet but it preceded and may have even given birth to Egypt. Nubia and Egypt shared many similarities. Egypt adopted symbols of royalty similar to those of Nubia.

Meroe
March 1 to March 30

Meroe rose to prominence after Nubia. It was a capital city of the well known empire of Cush. It was located along the Nile valley, close to modern day Sudan. It shared similarities with Nubia and Egypt including writing styles.

Axum
March 31 to April 29

The afrimonth Axum got its name from the society that existed on the east coast of Africa. Axum is an old civilization that predates biblical times. This highly developed society existed for thousand of years and became known to the outside world as a Christian society. This was the home of Queen Sheba mentioned in the bible. Axum is still alive today. The Ethiopia we know today is a part of Axum, Queen of Sheba’s empire.

Ghana
April 30 to May 29

The afrimonth Ghana recalls the empire of the same name from the west coast of the continent. The empire of Ghana existed for over 1200 years. It extended from the Atlantic Ocean to the west bank of the Niger River and south from the Sahara.

Mali
May 30 to June 28

After Ghana comes Mali in the africalendar, in the same way that Mali rose after Ghana had shown the way. Mali is the second of the great empires in West Africa. Its boundaries stretched from the Atlantic Ocean to Gao on the east side of the Niger River and south from the Sahara to the tropical forest. This was the country of Mansa Musa. Mali was known internationally and maintained commercial and diplomatic ties with foreigners.

Songhai
June 29 to July 28

The afrimonth Songhai and all of the months before it are from the "before the diaspora" (btd) period. They are apart of the foundation of Africans everywhere. Songhai was the last of our great empires on the continent before the year of the push and pull. Songhai rose after Mali and extended further east to include parts of Chad and northward into the Sahara. The renowned centre of learning, Timbuktu was one of Songhai's well known cities.

Nzinga
July 29 to August 27

Afrimonth Nzinga recalled one of Africa’s greatest daughters, Queen Nzinga, the unconquerable. Nzinga was queen of Ndongo and Matamba in modern day Angola. She waged a long fight against the slave trade and the invading colonizers and their religion. Her fight for freedom and independence exemplifies the struggle of the people since the year of the push and pull.

Quilombo
August 28 to September 26

Quilombos were found throughout the Western Hemisphere, especially in South America. In other places they were called Maroons' society. Quilombos are example of African resistance throughout the diaspora. The term itself is an African word and may be considered one of the first African words planted in the diaspora. They were organized settlements of Africans who rejected assimilation and refused to be enslaved.

Tubman
September 27 to October 26
The afrimonth Tubman is named in honour of Harriet Tubman, Queen Mother of the Underground Railroad. Harriet Tubman was born around 305 otd and she freed herself from slavery. She was disappointed that there were no one in freedom to welcome her; so she returned to slavery to free her people from bondage. Harriet Tubman led hundreds people to freedom in the North and Canada. During the Civil War, Harriet served the Union troops as a cook, scout, spy and nurse. After the war, she established an old-age home for African-Americans. Ever the Queen Mother, she looked after her people in both slavery and freedom. She has been called "Moses to Her People" but Harriet Tubman was "Queen Mother", in the true sense and meaning of that role.
Yaa
October 27 to November 25
The afrimonth Yaa is named in honour of a truly outstanding Queen Mother. Nana Yaa Asentewaa was Queen Mother of the Ashanti in what is now Ghana. When Yaa was born around 334 otd, the war against the oppression of the colonizers was already fifty years old. After a hundred years of struggle, when all seemed lost, their power broken and their king exiled, Yaa stood up, she refused to break and she refused to go quietly. On Nubia 27, 384 otd, Yaa renewed the battle against oppression. She laid siege to the enemy's fort and fought for the people’s freedom. She joined the ancestors in 403 otd but Yaa should never be forgotten and that is reason we mark time with her name.
Garvey
November 26 to December 25

Marcus Mosiah Garvey earned a place in the africalendar for being one of our greatest leaders since the "year of the push and pull". Garvey’s message to Africans at home and broad is that we were once great and we can be great again. Yes, we can! Marcus Garvey is our only leader who believed that it is possible for Africans to be whole again. Garvey was born in Jamaica on 20th Nzinga, 371 otd; Garvey gave the people’s struggle to renew their lives, its clearest and loudest expression. Garvey’s message to the people is as clear as black is beautiful. He is honoured in the African cultural calendar for his vision, leadership and courage.

Kwanzaa
December 26 to January 1

The last day in the afriyear is Garvey 30th. Kwanzaa in not considered an afrimonth; it is a renewal period. This renewal period is name after the first fruit festival Kwanzaa. It is a period that symbolized how the people have renewed themselves after the year of the push and pull. In the renewal period the old year and the days are transitioned. The seven days in the renewal period are named the same as the principles of Kwanzaa. The date in the renewal period is given by the principle and the year. The first day in the renewal period in the current year is Umoja 502 otd (December 26, 2018).

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The African Cultural Calendar

The africalendar is the African cultural calendar. It measures time based on the history and cultures of African people. A year in the africalendar is a record of how Africans have humanized the world and shaped it in their own image.

Over five hundred years ago, time in the africalendar began again. That is the reason that there are two circles of time in the africalendar. The year that time began again is called the “year of the push and pull”. It is the year that heralded the beginning of the diaspora. The time before the year of the push and pull is measured as “before the diaspora (btd)”. The time after the beginning of the diaspora is measured as “of the diaspora (otd)”. The current year in the africalendar is 502 otd. There have been 502 years since the diaspora began and the people were spread around the global and they began to rebuild their lives and cultures.

The afriyear starts on Kemet 1 (January 2) and ends on Garvey 30th (December 25). The africalendar has twelve months plus a period of renewal. After Garvey 30th, the afriyear begins a period of renewal where the old year is transformed into a new year. This period in the African cultural calendar symbolizes the many ways in which the people around the world have renewed themselves. This is a time of celebration. Before the year of the push and pull, it was a time of harvesting and first fruit festivals. In the africalendar, this seven days period of renewal is name for the first fruit festival Kwanzaa. As the old year transition through the period of renewal, the days are not thought of as Monday, Tuesday … but become Umoja, Kujichagulia, …, named for the principles of Kwanzaa. In the African cultural calendar, the dates during the period of renewal are given by the Kwanzaa principle and the year. For example, Umoja 502 otd is December 26, 2018. This date could also be written as the 1st of Kwanzaa, 502 otd. The African Cultural Calendar Council recommends the celebration of Kwanzaa but encourage people through out the diaspora to celebrate in a way that is meaningful to the renewal of their lives.

The africalendar is the history and cultures of the people in motion. It has eleven months of 30 days and one month, Nubia, with 28 days or 29 days in a leap year. Kwanzaa is the renewal period before a new year is resurrected on the 1st of Kemet (January 2). There are seven months in the africalendar from the before the diaspora time: Kemet, Nubia, Meroe, Axum, Ghana, Mali, and Songhai. These months are a part of the common foundation of the people no matter where in the world they are found. The other five months: Nzinga, Quilombo, Tubman, Yaa and Garvey are from the “of the diaspora” time circle. They are from the period after the year of the push and pull and they remind us of the ways we fought to renewal ourselves. Four of these months are named after individuals and Quilombo represents communities we built. Quilombo, which were referred to as Maroon societies in some part of the world, are examples of how we can build communities based on our foundation.

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Dual calendar method

The africalendar features the dual calendar method. This method allows translation from the civic calendar date to the africalendar date. The africalendar is based on the history and culture of African people at home and abroad as Marcus Garvey would have said. As such, the africalendar has its own timeline. It is not the civic calendar with renamed months. The africalendar months begin and end at different times than the month in the civic calendar. The first day (Kemet 1st) in the africalendar year is equivalent to January 2nd and the last day (Garvey 30) lands on December 25. The African cultural calendar is about the struggle and triumph of the people everywhere and it uses the dual calendar method to translate the afridates into civic calendar dates. Seven days after the end of the old year, the new year in the africalendar is resurrected.

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