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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Siku Ya Mwaka: New Year's Day in Swahili-land (With Special Reference to Mombasa)
Author:Frankl, Peter J.L.
Periodical:Journal of Religion in Africa
Geographic term:Kenya
religious festivals
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/1581218.pdf
Abstract:In the 1990s, only a few dozen, mainly elderly, Swahili inhabitants of Mombasa (Kenya) still observe 'Siku ya Mwaka', the Swahili New Year. The Swahili year is a solar year. Although it is supposed to reflect a harmony with the agricultural and nautical seasons, this is not always completely so (in 1846 New Year's Day fell on 29 August, in 1992 on 19 July). 'Siku ya Mwaka' used to be observed throughout all Swahili-land. The earliest recorded comment was made in 1844. After the arrival of Christian-European missionaries and administrators in Swahili-land in the second half of the 19th century, the Gregorian calendar supplanted the Swahili calendar in almost all respects. This paper describes the rites and ceremonies of the Swahili New Year as they were carried out in Mombasa in the past and in the present. The description of the latter is based on the author's own observations made during the New Year Day's prayers on Sunday 19th July 1992. He concludes that many of the events once common in Mombasa on New Year's Day have now been completely forgotten. App., bibliogr.