Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964623 | Print ISBN: 9781412936361 | Online ISBN: 9781412964623| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The manner in which different African cultural groups perceive and use land influences their agricultural rituals. In those societies that rely heavily on agriculture for both their sustenance and economy, compared with herding peoples, the rituals surrounding agriculture are central to the people and the most elaborate. They are sacred rites that secure the communities' continued survival. In many cultures, the agricultural cycle, along with its accompanying weather, mark time and define the year: planting, harvesting, the dry season, the rainy season, followed by planting again. The names of months found among the Latuka people—“Let them dig!” “Grain in the Ear,” “Dirty Mouth,” and “Sweet grain”—show how agricultural cycles influence everyday time reckoning. People traditionally keep track of their ages in terms of how many agricultural cycles they have lived through. Children are named according to these cycles, such as Azmera, a female name from Ethiopia meaning harvest, and Wekesa, ...