Xhosa: Theme 3 - Numbers, days, months, seasons

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Days of the week

The days of the week changed their original Xhosa names because of the Western influence of the missionaries.  They brought along with them working days, i.e. ngoLwesibini (the second working day - Tuesday), ngoLwesithathu (the third working day), ngoLwesine (the fourth working day), ngoLwesihlanu (the fifth working day).   Sunday became known as the day of going to church (icawa), thus ngeCawa.

Months in Xhosa

Traditionally, the Xhosa named the different times of the seasons together with the various occurrences within those seasons.  July is eyeKhala, the first month of the Xhosa year, so called because the aloes (amakhala) are in bloom. The month of August is EyeThupha which indicates that the trees have started to sprout. The word eyoMsintsi is the name for September indicating when the coral tree is in bloom. March is eyoKwindla, which is the beginning of autumn. Nowadays, the Xhosa names for months are based on their English equivalents; e.g. uJanyuwari (January).