Days of the Week, Months, and Seasons in Swahili

If you’ve been learning Swahili for a little while, then you’ve probably already come across at least the days of the week. But how about the months and seasons of the year? Learn some new Swahili words in this blog post, and find out where they’ve come from!

Days of the week in Swahili

Check out the table below to learn the days of the week in Swahili. A few of them come from Arabic!

JumatatuMondayfrom juma (week) + tatu (three)
JumanneTuesdayfrom juma (week) + nne (four)
JumatanoWednesdayfrom juma (week) + tano (five)
AlhamisiThursdayborrowed from Arabic الْخَمِيس‎ (al-ḵamīs)
IjumaaFridayborrowed from Arabic اَلْجُمْعَة‎ (al-jumʕa)
JumamosiSaturdayfrom juma (week) + mosi (one)
JumapiliSundayfrom juma (week) + pili (two)

As you can see, two of the days of the week have been borrowed from Arabic – Thursday and Friday. The Arabic translation of Alhamisi is ‘the fifth day’, or Thursday, and the Arabic اَلْجُمْعَة (al-jumʕa) comes from the Arabic جَمَعَ jamaʕa, meaning ‘to gather, to assemble’. In Islam, Friday is the day of prayer, which is why it is so named.

You might have noticed that although in English we start the week on Monday or Sunday, the Swahili days of the week seem to start on Saturday (it’s the ‘first day of the week’ if we literally translate its name). Because Ijumaa is the holy day, you begin starting the week from the day after – so, Jumamosi. But then, that makes Alhamisi a little confusing, doesn’t it? How can it be the fifth day when it comes after Jumatano (‘fifth day of the week’)?

That’s because it’s been borrowed from Arabic! In Arabic-speaking countries, the week usually begins with Sunday, which would make Thursday the fifth day. It’s complicated but it makes sense.

Months of the year in Swahili


These month names (as you can find in the uTalk app!) have been borrowed from English, but there is also another set of month names you might hear in Swahili. In this version, the months are referred to by number rather than name.

Mwezi wa kwanzaJanuarykwanza = first
Mwezi wa piliFebruarypili = two
Mwezi na tatuMarchtatu = three
Mwezi na nneAprilnne = four
Mwezi wa tanoMaytano = five
Mwezi wa sitaJunesita = six
Mwezi wa sabaJulysaba = seven
Mwezi wa naneAugustnane = eight
Mwezi na tisaSeptembertisa = nine
Mwezi wa kumiOctoberkumi = ten
Mwezi wa kumi na mojaNovemberkumi na moja = eleven
Mwezi wa kumi na mbiliDecemberkumi na mbili = twelve

Seasons in Swahili

The names of the seasons in Swahili have really interesting derivations too:

Majira ya kuchipuaspringkuchipua is the infinitive of -chipua, which means ‘to sprout’
Majira ya jotosummerJoto means ‘heat’ or ‘warmth’
Majira ya kupukutika kwa majaniautumn, fallliterally translated, it means ‘the season when leaves drop/die off/fall’
Majira ya baridiwinterbaridi is borrowed from Arabic and means ‘the cold, winter’

But what does the word majira mean? In English it is season, or period of time, so for example, majira ya kuchipua literally translates as ‘sprouting season’!

Other Swahili time phrases

Finally, before you go, here are some more Swahili time phrases that might come in handy.

wikiWeekborrowed from English ‘week’
mweziMonthalso means ‘moon’
juziDay before yesterdayalso means ‘a few days ago’
keshoTomorrowalthough the direct translation is ‘tomorrow’, the cultural meaning is often ‘not today’
kesho kutwaday after tomorrow
asubuhiMorningborrowed from Arabic الصُبْح‎ (aṣ-ṣubḥ, “the morning”)

Did you enjoy learning how to say the days of the week, months, and seasons in Swahili? Learn more with us! Check out Swahili on the uTalk app and you’ll find all the words and phrases in this post – and how to pronounce them – in our Calendar topic.

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Happy language learning!

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