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Mareegta Far-Shaxan
  ha moogaan mareegta u ban baxday raadraaca taariikhda, dhaqanka iyo hidaha
  Tifatirayaasha Farshaxan way ka madax banaan yihiin fikradaha gaarka ah ee ku sugan halkan

Farshaxan Hijaab Farshaxan

Bahda Farshaxan EMAIL ..

Somaliland"s Survey
A General Survey

of the Somaliland Protectorate 1944 - 1950

(C. D. & W. Scheme D.484)

by John A. Hunt, M.A., F.R.G.S., F.G.S.

Chapter III:  Time Dimension


54. Before proceeding to the topography of the area, it is necessary to know something of the Dimension of Time, especially as regards local divisions and nomenclature. This is particularly important in the case of a country of nomadic stock-herders, who move over wide areas, and from lowlands to highlands and back again, according to the seasons. The work of these stock- herders, as any stock-farmer, veterinary surgeon or doctor will know, never entirely ceases, and often must be done while other people sleep or go on holiday.
55. As this Report concerns a survey intended to be of assistance to any administration of the largely nomadic Somali people, the time element is briefly discussed as a basis, together with topography, upon which the rest of the Report must be built up.
56. The necessary data are given for the calculation of the seasonal calendar in the future in Table 2 below. This calendar shows the seasons from august 1944 till August 1952 only, but subject to correction of the data, it should be simple to continue the calculation of the Somali seasons in advance. The necessary data for the Moslem years are given annually in "Whitaker's Alamanck."
57. Table 1.

Table 1

Table Showing First Days of Somali/Arabic Lunar Months in Gregorian Dates, 1944-52

Somali Months Arabic Months No. Days A.H. 1363 A.H. 1364 A.H. 1365 A.H. 1366 A.H. 1367 A.H. 1368 A.H. 1369 A.H. 1370 A.H. 1371
Dago Muharram 30   17.12.44 06.12.45 25.11.46 15.11.47 03.11.48 24.10.49 13.10.50 02.10.51
Buldurohore Saphar 29   16.01.45 05.01.46 25.12.46 15.12.47 03.12.48 23.11.49 12.11.50 01.11.51
Buldurodambe Rabia I 30   14.02.45 03.02.46 23.01.47 13.01.48 01.01.49 22.12.49 11.12.50 30.11.51
Rajal Hore Rabia II 29   16.03.45 05.03.46 22.02.47 12.02.48 31.01.49 21.01.50 10.01.51 30.12.51
Rajal Dehhe Jomada I 30   14.04.45 03.04.46 23.03.47 12.03.48 01.03.49 19.02.50 08.02.51 28.01.52
Rajal dambe Jomada II 29   14.05.45 03.05.46 22.04.47 11.04.48 31.03.49 21.03.50 10.03.51 26.02.52
Sebuhh Rajab 30   12.06.45 01.06.46 21.05.47 10.05.48 29.04.49 19.04.50 08.04.51 27.03.52
Waberis Shaaban 29   12.07.45 01.07.46 20.06.47 09.06.48 29.05.49 19.05.50 08.05.51 27.04.52
Son Ramadan 30   10.08.45 30.07.46 19.07.47 08.07.48 27.06.49 17.06.50 06.06.51 26.05.52
Sonfur Shawwal 29   09.09.45 29.08.46 18.08.47 07.08.48 27.07.49 17.07.50 06.07.51 25.06.52
Sidatal Dulkaada 30 17.10.44 08.10.45 27.09.46 16.09.47 05.09.48 25.08.49 15.08.50 04.08.51 25.07.52
Arafo Dulheggia

(In Kabisha years




Kabisha Days 355



Common Days 354


Common Days 354


Kabisha Days 355


Common Days 354


Kabisha Days 355


Common Days 354


Common Days 354


Kabisha Days 355

58.   Table 2.

Table 2

Somali Seasonal Calendar, 1944-52

[This Table is shown only for the year 1951 for illustrative purposes in this online version]

Somali Rain Season A.H. 1370 A.H. 1371
Dhairta Habis -- &02.10.51 -- 03.10.51
Dhairta Dirir &13.10.50 -- 02.11.50 04.10.51 -- 02.11.51
Wajina 03.11.50 -- 12.11.50 03.11.51 -- 29.11.51
Dhairta Dambesama 12.11.50 -- 10.12.50 30.11.51 -- 29.12.51
Hais 11.12.50 -- 09.01.51 30.12.51 -- 27.01.52
Mehrjan with Hais 10.01.51 -- 07.02.51 18.01.52 -- 25.02.52
Todob 08.02.51 -- 09.03.51 26.02.52 -- 26.03.52
Daido 10.03.51 -- 07.04.51 27.03.52 -- 26.04.52
Sermawedo 08.04.51 -- 07.05.51 27.04.52 -- 25.05.52
'Aul 08.05.51 -- 05.06.51 26.05.52 -- 24.06.52
Sagalo (Sakaro) 06.06.51 -- 05.07.51 25.06.52 -- 24.07.52
(Mehrjan) 06.07.51 -- 14.07.51 Nil
Karan (Samalaho) 15.07.51 -- 03.08.51 15.07.52 -- 03.08.52
Dabshid 04.08.51 04.08.52
Karan (second half) 05.08.51 -- 24.08.51 --
Dhair Halalod 05.08.51 -- 13.09.51 --
Dhair Hbis 14.09.51 -- 01.10.51+ --
Dhair Dirir -- --
Wajina -- --
Dhair Dambesama -- --
  Todob in Rajal Dehle Todob in Rajal Dambe



Time in the Somaliland Protectorate

Kirk, in his Grammar of the Somali language, gives a good résumé of this in his Appendix I. The following note shows some variations and additions:

The 24 hours are divided into four parts:

(i) Malin

  (a)  Gelin hore

  (b)  Gelin dambe


before noon

after noon

(ii) Haben

  (a)  Gelin hore

  (b)  Gelin dambe


before midnight

after midnight

"Malin" and "Haben" together are two "Anamal" and make up one complete 24 hours.

The times of day are mostly connected with Moslem prayer, grazing, milking, ect. They do not fit exactly with the 24-hour clock, because the day starts with sunrise, which varies in the course of the year from about 5.30 to 6.30 hours. They may however be shown approximately as follows, though always with some degree of uncertainty:

(i) (a) Arorti About half an hour from sunrise.
    Barqad Yer From Arorti till 08.00 hours.
    Heksin Till about 09.00 hours.
    Barqa 09:00 to 10.00 hours.
    Barqa Kulul About 10.00 to 11.00 hours.
    Had 11.00 to 12.00 hours.
  (b) Duhur 12.00 to 13.30 hours.
    Duhur Dabadi 13.00 to 14.00 hours.
    Asr Der 14.00 to 15.30 hours.
    Asr Gaban 15.30 to 17.00 hours.
    Galab 17.00 to 17.40 hours.
    Gabal Ad 17.40 to 18.00 hours (red setting sun.
(ii) (a) Maqrib 18.00 hours.
    Fid 18.00 to 19.00 hours (till sky is dark)
    Aweis 19.00 to 21.00 hours.
    Saqda Dehhe 23.00 to 24.00 hours.
  (b) Saqda Dehhe 24.00 to 01.00 hours.
    Jid Dawn.
    Arorti Hore First dawn to sunrise.
    Wa Beri Clear light before sunrise.
    Arorti 06.00 hours.

In Mogadishu the 12 hours start at 6.00 and 18.00 hours, the Arabic clock being used.

The week is more or less as in Arabic:

  Ahad Sunday.
  Isnin Monday.
  Salasa Tuesday.
  Arba'a Wednesday.
  Khamis Thursday.
  Jeme'e Friday.
  Sabti Saturday.

The month is the lunar month of 29 to 30 days as in the Arabic Calendar (and as will be seen below identical or similar to the Calendar on which Easter is reckoned in the Church of England Prayer Book).

Table 1 (above) shows the Somali lunar months (with Arabic names following) compared with the Gregorian solar calendar from October 1944 to August 1952.

The month is also divided into the two halves:

  Ado First to fifteenth day of the moon (the light half)
  Gudur Sixteenth day to next new moon (the dark half)

The year is the twelve Moslem months as shown above (Table 1). It is, however, divided in various other ways according to seasons of rain, temperature and monsoon winds.

Roughly speaking, the Gu proper begins with the dropping of the N.E. Monsoon and the beginning of the S.W. Monsoon at approximately April 1st and lasts six months until the end of September. The Jihil six months begins when the S.W. Monsoon drops and the N.E. Monsoon begins on about October 1st, lasting until the end of the following March.

Accepting this division of the year into two, the Jilal would include all the Dhair, Wajina, Hais and Todob rains. The Gu would start in April with Daido and include Sermawedo , 'Aul , Sagallo, and Karan. The Gu would thus include both the clam windless Kalil periods of April and September.

In fact the Somali Seasonal Calendar for the Somaliland Protectorate is very much more complicated (See Table 2 above). It is based on a combination of:

(i) The old Persian New Year (perhaps dating from the Persian occupation of Zeila on about August 4th, Dabshid.
(ii) The Moslem Lunar Calendar.
(iii) A system of shifting the Lunar Calendar every three years to bring it into better adjustment with the Solar Calendar, and therefore the actual rain seasons. This seems to be analogous to the calculation for the Christian Church Calendars.

The following information from which the Calendar of Table 2 is compiled, was supplied by Mr. Amir Dualeh Elmi, of the Habr Toljaala tribe (rer Musa Yusuf). He is also an expert on weather lore, much of which is calculated by him from the occultation of the star Spica (in Somali Dirir) or near-occultation by the moon, and observation of meteorological data of these times. The discussion of Dirirs, however confuses the issue, as it does not in fact affect the Calendar though many Somalis believe it to do so. Dirirs are really concerned with meteorological forecasting (and perhaps astrology).

The date of Dabshid (approximately August 4th) is handed down from father to son and calculated by adding the necessary number of days (about 11) to the Lunar Calendar date each year. The Moslem lunar date for Dabshid in A.H. 1369 (in 1950) was 19th Sonfur (Shawal).

After this constant solar date (August 4th) the first 40 days are Dhairta Halalod (i.e. to the end of the S.W. Monsoon), the next 20 are Dhair Habis (usually with little wind and little thunder and lightning), and the next 30 (i.e. the real marked beginning of the N.E. Monsoon and usually important widespread rains) are Dhairta Dirirod.

The 90 days from August 4th to November 2nd are the Dhair quarter proper.

The next 92 days, together with the Dhair quarter, make up the six months of the Jilal half- year (August 5th to February 3 rd).

The 182 days preceding Dabshid (approximately February 4th to August 3rd) are the Gu half-year.

An additional season preceding Dabshid is the Karan, which is 20 days before and 20 days after Dabshid (i.e. July 15th to August 24th). The first half of this is also called Samalaho, and the second half is also part of the Dhair Halalod.

Thus it is seen that the simple division of the year into the six months Jilal followed by six months Gu, and the dates of the Karan and the three Dhairs, are constant Gregorian Solar Calendar dates.

The detail of the rest of the year is unfortunately based on the Mohammedan Lunar Calendar. Corrections are made only every third Moslem year, so that these seasons vary in a cycle of three years by 22 days (?) on the Gregorian Solar Calendar (and therefore in relation to Dabshid and the Dhair).

When the Dhair Dirirod finishes (on November 2nd), the balance of that Moslem month is called Wajina, which may be any number of days from 1 to 30.

The next Moslem month after Wajina is Dhairta Dambesama, and the next after that is Hais.

Then there is another break. If Hais finished before the end of the 182 (some say 177) days of the Jilal half-year, there is a gap of anything up to two months (called Mehrjan) during which any rain which falls is also called Hais rain.

In the seventh month after Dabshid the Gu starts. This, in A.H. 1368-70 (i.e. November 3rd , 1948, to September 3rd, 1951, is the Somali month Rejal Dambe (Arabic Jomada II), and so on, and the Somali season of this seventh Moslem month after Dabshid is called Todob (or Lehhkor ).

The succeeding Moslem lunar months are called Daido, Sermawedo , 'Aul and Sagallo (or Sakaro). From Todob to Sagallo, both inclusive, is thus seen to be five Moslem months out of the six months which, ending on August 4th , make up the Gu half-year. Part of the missing six months may precede the Todob (during February if Todob is in March), and is then an extension of Hais. Part may come between the Sagallo month and Dabshid day, being thus included in the first half of Karan (Samalaho).

The Following notes have been made on the variable Somali rain seasons, after the comparative calendar (Table 2 above) had been drawn up:


Wajina starts constantly on November 3rd but varies in length from 1 to 30 days, completing the lunar month in which November 3rd falls.


Dhair Dambesama is a Moslem lunar month in November to December. The variation in data of its beginning is 25 days in the period 1944-51 shown in the Calendar.


Hais is a Moslem month in December to January varying in starting date up to 25 days. The Gregorian Calendar's New Year's day is always in Hais.


Mehrjan Hais is one to two months in January to February, to complete the six months of the Jilal half-year. Any rain filling in this Mehrjan is included in Hais.


Todob (the month of Dirir Adi Asseye ) is a lunar month in February to March, varying in starting date up to 25 days.


Daido is a lunar month in March or April, varying in starting up to 25 days. (The Christian east Sunday is always the Sunday after the full moon of Daido.)


Sermawedo is a lunar month in April to May, varying up to 25 days. Most stock-breeders try to mate sheep so that lambs will be born in Sermawedo. The 25 days variation (according to the Solar Calendar) in the best date for the birth of the lambs, is reminiscent of the custom of planting potatoes about Good Friday in parts of Britain.


Possibly there is a lesson in meteorological forecasting to be learned from the ancient lore of these agriculturalists and stock-breeders.


'Aul is a lunar month in May to June varying up to 25 days.


Sagallo (or Sakaro) is a lunar month in June to July varying up to 25 days.


Mehrjan is the balance of days, if any, between the end of Sagallo and the beginning of the Karan (Samalaho) on July 15th.


From July 25th the Somali rain seasons are constant by the Solar Calendar, till the end of the Dhair on November 2nd .


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