The Western, Gregorian or Christian calendar is the most used calendar in the world, with twelve months and four seasons dividing each year. This is no different in Australia, where it was introduced by European settlers. However, the Noongar of Australia’s South West use a six season calendar, based on the emergence of plants and animals rather than solar cycles or dates, and the seasons therefore can be longer or shorter. More importantly, the Noongar were guided by them, as they provided crucial clues and information for when to substainably hunt, gather and take care of country.
Blue Leschenaultia (Leschenaultia biloba)
Purple Flags (Patersonia occidentalis)
When living in the forest we experienced the significance of the Noongar calendar, and realised how far city dwellers are removed from the natural world. Throughout the years I have mentioned and used the names of the Noongar seasons in several posts, but realised they were never explained within their context (courtesy South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council):
Birak (Dec-Jan) – Dry and hot – Season of the Young
Bunuru (Feb-Mar) – Hottest part of the year – Season of Adolesence
Djeran (Apr-May) – Cooler weather begins – Season of Adulthood
Makuru (Jun-Jul) – Coolest and wettest time of the year – Fertiliy season
Djilba (Aug-Sep) – Mixture of wet and warmer days – Season of Conception
Kambarang (Oct-Nov) – Longer dry periods – Season of Birth
The rains have come early this year and we have already entered Makuru. This cold and wet season is associated with the colours blue (wooyan) and purple, symbolising the rain, but also the many blue and purple coloured flowers emerging around us.