Berber calendar

Seasons in North Africa: Atlas Mountains in January and April

The Berber calendar is the agricultural calendar traditionally used by Berbers. It is also known as the fellaḥi (ﻓﻼّﺣﻲ "rustic" or ﻋﺠﻤﻲ ʿajamī "foreign" calendar). The calendar is utilized to regulate the seasonal agricultural works.

The Islamic calendar, a lunar calendar, is not suited for agriculture because it does not relate to seasonal cycles.[1] In other parts of the Islamic world either Iranian solar calendars, the Coptic calendar, the Rumi calendar, or other calendars based on the Julian calendar, were used before the introduction of the Gregorian calendar.[citation needed]

The current Berber calendar is a legacy of the Roman province of Mauretania Caesariensis and the Roman province of Africa, as it is a surviving form of the Julian calendar. The latter calendar was used in Europe before the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, with month names derived from Latin. Berber populations previously used various indigenous calendars, such as that of the Guanche autochthones of the Canary Islands. However, relatively little is known of these ancient calendrical systems.

Current Julian calendar

The agricultural Berber calendar still in use is almost certainly derived from the Julian calendar, introduced in the Roman province of Africa at the time of Roman domination. The names of the months of this calendar are derived from the corresponding Latin names and races of the Roman calendar denominations of Kalends, Nones and Ides exist: El Qabisi, an Islamic jurisconsult by Kairawan who lived in the 11th century, condemned the custom of celebrating "pagans'" festivals and cited, among traditional habits of North Africa, that of observing January Qalandas ("Kalends").[2] The length of the year and of the individual months is the same as in the Julian calendar: three years of 365 days followed by a leap year of 366, without exceptions, and 30- and 31-day months, except for the second one that has 28 days. The only slight discrepancy lies in that the extra day in leap years is not usually added at the end of February, but at the end of the year. This means that the beginning of the year (the first day of yennayer) corresponds to the 14th day of January in the Gregorian calendar, which coincides with the offset accumulated during the centuries between astronomical dates and the Julian calendar.


There are standard forms for the names of the Amazigh (Berber) calendar. The table below also provides the forms used in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.[3]

Tab. 2 – The names of the months in various zones of Berber and Arab North Africa
Month Riffian (north Morocco) Shilha (south Morocco) Kabyle (Algeria) Berber of Djerba (Tunisia) Tunisian Arabic Libyan Arabic
January Yennayer innayr (ye)nnayer yennár yenna(ye)r yannayer
February Yebrayer brayr furar furár fura(ye)r febrayer
March Mares marṣ meghres mars marsu mars
April Yebrir ibrir (ye)brir ibrír abril ibril
May May mayyu(h) maggu mayu mayu mayu
June Yunyu yunyu(h) yunyu yunyu yunyu yunyu
July Yulyuz yulyuz yulyu(z) yulyu yulyu yulyu
August Ɣuct ghusht ghusht ghusht awussu aghustus
September Cutembir (c=sh) shutambir shtember shtámber shtamber september
October Ktuber kṭubr (k)tuber ktúber uktuber uktuber
November Nwambir nuwambir nu(ne)mber numbír nufember nuvamber
December Dujembir dujambir bu- (du-)jember dujámber dejember december
Other Languages
azərbaycanca: Berber təqvimi
беларуская: Каляндар бербераў
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Каляндар бэрбэраў
한국어: 베르베르력
Bahasa Indonesia: Kalender Berber
Simple English: Berber calendar
Soomaaliga: Berber Calender
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Berberski kalendar
Türkçe: Berberi takvimi
Tiếng Việt: Lịch Berber