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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Kiswahili naming of the days of the week: what went wrong?
Author:Kihore, Y.M.ISNI
Periodical:Afrikanistische Arbeitspapiere: Schriftenreihe des Kölner Instituts für Afrikanistik
Geographic term:East Africa
Abstract:Week calendars in Africa seem to have been influenced by two week calendar systems, namely the (northern) European system, which has the days of the week named after certain members of the Solar system which are mythologically associated with deities, and the Middle Eastern system (the Hebrew/Jewish and the Arabic/Islamic calendar), which is, by and large, numeral. However, in the Arabic/Islamic calendar, the sixth day, the day of prayer, is provided with a nonnumerical reference. This article first examines week calendar names in a few East African languages, namely Amharic, Luo, Kihacha, Kinyakyusa, Kihaya and Kingwana. Then it turns to the Kiswahili calendar. This calendar has Friday as its fixed day of prayer/rest and the day after which the counting of the week calendar starts. The name for Friday, 'Ijumaa' (from the Arabic 'Aj-Jumaa', 'the day of congregation'), as well as the name of the day preceding it, 'Alhamisi' (from the Arabic 'Al-Khamiis', the 5th day), are borrowed from the Arabic/Islamic calendar. The Kiswahili calendar also deploys the numerical system in labelling all days of the week except Friday. This has led to this calendar containing two 'fifth' days. Bibliogr., note.