The Sunday News
EVERY society has its own traditions and superstitions, and in Zimbabwe getting married in the month of November is a taboo.
The belief goes back many, many years, with a fear that a November wedding will bring bad luck.
“November weddings are a big no no . . . I would have had a November wedding but I think my parents would have a problem with a November wedding. My parents would have had a heart attack. My grandparents would not have attended,” a bride in Harare, Tinashe, told the BBC.
November is a sacred month in that it is a month when people start preparations for the all-important agricultural season.
Traditionalists believe that Zimbabwe is fast losing its direction where culture is concerned as it embraces Christianity, while sticking to traditional religious practices.
Just as it is in the Bible that after creating the world over six days, the Almighty God (Musikavanhu) rested on the seventh day, the local spiritual realm also rests during the month of November, also known as Mbudzi in Shona or uLwezi in Ndebele.
It is during this month that everything with links to the spiritual and ancestral world of Zimbabwean tradition temporarily ceases to function.
Cultural ceremonies such as biras, kurova makuva or even traditional marriage rites are regarded as taboo during this month.
In Shona culture, spirit mediums use the spirit of the departed to help in the functioning and well-being of the society. That also applies to spirits manifesting in traditional healers which also uses the spirit of the departed to heal and give solutions to life problems. These are the spirits which rest during the month of November, and in the VaShona cultural context, no such spirit is able to perform its obligatory function during the course of this period.
However, that does not mean that the spiritual realm ceases to exist during this period, alas, the spirits will simply be resting.
Now, during this period, spirit mediums, traditional healers and all those who help the society via the spiritual realm turn to their knowledge of knowing the herbs, to prescribe healing potions or mechanisms for healing, as kusvikirwa or kusutswa or traditional healers’ courts will be completely out of the picture.
It must be noted that whoever transgresses this cultural law, although it is not on the calendar, would have traditionally performed an abomination. An appeasement fee will then be required to cleanse the traditional artifacts that would have been blasphemed against.
Mostly traditional and cultural events or rites performed during this period are rendered as a nullity or non-event at cultural level and would have to be re-done at appropriate times.If it is a traditional marriage ceremony, that marriage will not be recognised and will not subsist at cultural level, and that also applies when it is a bira which will not be received within the spiritual realm.
This is the same principle which is used on another Shona cultural perspective called chisi or mahakurimwi, where a village observes a certain day of the week for resting purposes.
The day varies from place to place.
Any transgressor who fails to observe this day faces community backlash as social and economic ills such as droughts and poor cropping yields are attributable to those who profane this day.
The resulting consequence in this regard is the same as the profanity of the November month which is severe penalties or even banishment from the village under worst case scenarios.
In actuality, everything which is linked to the departed world is not permissible during the month of November.
However, as stated earlier on in this instalment, it must be noted that this temporary disengagement must not be misconstrued to mean that the spiritual realm cease to look over its descendants during this period.
Even traditional healers continue to provide services to those who sought their help, but what only temporarily ceases, are their (traditional healers) linkage with spiritualism.
Thus traditional healers use their expertise in knowing the medicine (traditional herbs) to proffer solutions and remedies to people who seek their services.
If you suffer from a headache, thus we give you the herb that stops the problem, but we will not then delve into the spiritual realm which is matare to source for the cause or the root of the problem.
The continued violation of these traditional sacrilege laws has led to a myriad of problems bedevilling this nation.
Unfavourable weather conditions, droughts and mystical occurrences are some of the bad results that people come across as a result of not respecting this important month in the Shona culture. However, it must be noted that the spiritual world is tolerant at length wants to make peace with its children.
This is evident in the fact that spirits are now manifesting themselves in the younger generation, which is a clear indication of the return to traditional spiritualism. This return means the return also to the adherence and observance of our cultural symbols and days and artifacts. — Online