On the Borana Calendrical System: A Preliminary Field Report

Marco Bassi, Marco Bassi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This article addresses the astronomical functioning of the lunar calendar of the Oromo Borana (Ethiopia and Kenya). It is based on the participant observation method, observing the night sky over a time of about one year with Bante Abbagala, a Borana expert in time reckoning. Differently from previous ethnographic accounts and hypotheses, the author suggests that the Borana implicitly add an intercalary month that allows keeping correspondence between season and the name of the lunar month, even if they do not acknowledge it. They do not consider the declination of the moon, sun or stars. They rather apply a complex devise that allows the direct evaluation of the relative right ascension position of the moon on the background of selected stars or constellations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)619-624
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Anthropology
Publication statusPublished - 1988

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Archaeology
  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology


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