November Myths Debunked

The myths surrounding the Non- November Roora’s / Weddings

By Gracia Casandra

Growing up as a young girl, l would hear about how it is sacred to do any festivities in November even weddings. It never made me curious to ask why but then again l was young and all l knew was to play with my friends but now as a somehow grown-up person l am curious and would like to know why. There is hardly any written evidence about the sacredness of November most of what we hear is from oral tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation.

The month of November /Mbudzi/uLwezi is said to be a sacred month. This is a break for the ancestral spirits, the months of rest from all rituals. In these months no cultural gatherings are allowed even kurova guva(tombstone unveiling). Whoever found marrying off or marrying in this month would be punished for offending the spirits. In Shona culture, marriage is a ritual not only between two people but between two families and their ancestral spirits. It is therefore taboo to invoke the spirits from their resting spaces to come and oversee and bless the wedding or Roora.

If you get married in this month unonzi wapisira, waita chipini (you have angered the spirits). You have broken the taboo therefore you should be punished for the offence. There is one famous example where the late Morgan Tsvangirai was summoned for sending people to pay lobola for Locardia in Chief
Negomo’s area.

lobola deco
Typical Modern Lobola Decoration

As the ancestors go to rest, the living people work on the land because November is part of the farming season. No rituals. No weddings. No celebrations. People would only gather to mourn the dead. In Shona, marooro brings many people together. From the bride side her brothers, sisters, uncles and aunties, nieces and nephews. From the groom’s side, brothers, sisters, brother’s in law and the uncles. In addition, their friends attend the marooro event. The neighbours also attend the event. This requires travelling for other parties. Travelling consumes time. This means less time on the field and as a way of
preventing such activities, November was selected as a sacred month to allow
people to attend to their fields without loss

To add on, according to most traditions, there is a lot of activity (including opening up of vaults and stuff) that happens in the spirit realm during November for several reasons including moon
cycles and all. Evidence that this was believed globally is also in the Bible. The handicapped man who was found by Jesus (John 5) lying by the pool in Bethesda was there because people believed that at certain times the water would be troubled by an angel and the first person to enter that water during
that time would be healed of whatever ailments they had. Some scholars have said this pool experiences tidal waves associated with the moon. 

Contributions from twitter users

Many cultures believe the moon to have a lot of influence in the spirit world, and that’s why you see people doing rituals meant to bring back the spirits of their dead loved ones during this time. Some also, do a lot of rituals in dark magic during this time because they believe it’s easier to connect with the spirit world. So to make sure that people didn’t get their marriages entangled in these happenings, people just decided to agree that no marriages should happen in November.

The Roora/Lobola Process in Zimbabwe

November is usually the time when goats deliver after their mating season. So since goats are used in lobola (masungiro) people didn’t want situations where you would give the bride’s family an expecting goat and therefore lose the offspring to them. So it made sense to just wait for the goat to have offspring so that you keep the offspring and use the goat for the masungiro custom. (and avoid loss)

For the events industry, January disease hits hard in November as many cultural people do not get married in November hence it’s a very slow month and no money comes in. Some venues and wedding planners try to offer discounts in hopes that they get a few couples that will get married in November. A certain couple who did not believe in the sacredness of November got married in November and at first, They did not have any problems but after a few months, they started experiencing strange problems in their marriage and l say strange because to them it was unlike them to behave like that. They consulted the elders about the issue they were having and they were told it was because their ancestors were angry because they got married in
November thus they needed to pay a fine to the ancestors as a way to apologise and fix the issue, and they did and slowly things went back to normal in their marriage.

Lobola negotiations
Lobola negotiations
Lobola guests on lobola day

In as much as getting married is about the love two people share,  it’s also about bringing two families together and as people who believe in our cultural practices as much as we are Christians, we do all we can to preserve our culture, to follow it and do what it commands as such no one would want to get married in November because they still want the blessings of their elders and ancestors for a blessed and prosperous marriage.

1 thought on “The myths surrounding the Non- November Roora’s / Weddings”

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