The Berber Seasons
According to the Agrarian calendar, the Berber seasons are divided into four and each season has specific traditions and customs. They are as the following:
Lakhrif (Autumn): from 30August to 28 November.
It is when the first mature figs appear known as Thissemtith (from Semti;begin to mature) which means ripening in English .At this time there is an abundance fresh grapes and various fresh vegetables: tomatoes, peppers, squash, and melons ... etc.
This season witnesses Lahlal n yifer which is a legitimate period for the leaf removal of fig trees, on September 1st children, men and women gather to pluck (achraw), to feed the oxen. After Lahlal n yifer,ther is Thaqachachth n lakhrif. In this period the last fruits are dropped and the trees are stripped of their leaves.
It is during Autumn that the kabyle people revive the tradition of Thimechreth (sacrifice) that is the sacrifice of a jointly bought beef whose meat is shared among clan members (adhrum).This season, also is culminated by the beginning of the opening ceremony, which is at the same time a rite of rain was accomplished and that the land sufficiently moist. It is known as Lah'lal or h'artadem (plowing).
Chathwa (Winter): from 29 November to 27 February .
Laḥlal or ḥartadem (plowing) has an extension in winter ,too.
The heart of winter which known in the kabyle language as Liali (nights);a period of forty days in which almost all informants distinguish two equal parts: (liali timellaline) sleepless nights, and (liali tiberkanine) dark nights. Informants find justifications in this principle of division in climatic variations.The passage from December to January known as Issemaden.
The First (1st ) of Yennayer is located in the heart of winter, marked by series of rites (sacrifice a cock…) .
The end of Liali marked by the ritual celebration of El Aazla n –Yennayer (separation of Yennayer).The first shoots point to the trees is the opening El Ftuh '. The farmer goes into the fields to plant branches of oleander that have the power to hunt Maras, the white worm. That same day, before the sunrise, we go, they say, to the stable and shout in the ear of ox "good news yennayer is finished."
Es-sbat (Seven) are the four weeks of which cut out the month of February which are El Mwaleh (salty), El Qwareh (spicy), El Swalah (beneficials) and El Fwateh(openings ).
Thafsuth (Spring): from 28 February to 29 May.
The first week of March, life is accomplished by work, one must not disturb his work when entering the fields or in the orchards. This period marked by some rituals, for example in the day in the morning, if it does not rain, the wells will not fill, if it rains it is the sign of abundance, if it snow, there will be many of partridge and eggs.
El fwataḥ (the open) istime for outings and births, on cultivated land and in the herd, the festival of green and childhood. All the ritual of joy and the objects of happiness and prosperity. The children go out into the fields at the meeting of spring; they will eat semolina of grilled cereal and butter. The couscous is served that day, the women dye the hands of henna they go by group to seek heather to make brooms.
The beginning of May is marked with Tharurith wazal (return from Azal); the herd came out very early in the morning and returned at the end of the morning to spend the full day (Azal) the hottest moment of the day , then spring in the early afternoon and return to sunset.
With "Ivril" April begins a period of ease and abundance, the works resume by everything in the fields one picking the first beans.
During Nissan, the rain brings fertility and prosperity, the sheep are sheared.It is the period of transition, during this period it is necessary to avoid trimming or grafting the trees, to celebrate the wedding, to launder the house, to set up the trade and to put eggs for hatching.
When the "Izegzawen" period ends the greens, the last traces of the greenery disappear little by little from the countryside the cereals are tender, followed by iwraghen (the yellowish), then Iquranen (the beginning of summer).
Anebdu(Summer):from 30 May to 29 August
The gathering of the harvest. After that, fire is lit everywhere. Smoke, dry and wet gathering (like poplar and oleander) is attributed, fumigations of caprification have the power to fertilize fig trees.The forty days of es-maim (the heatwave) begins at the end of planting and winnowing, period during which the works are interrupted, in this period for example it is often said that if there is much sirocco there will be of the snow during 'Liali'.
written by ARAB Sabrina