Calendar of Adalmearc

Introduction

Note to the reader: The calendar system used by Adalmearc took most of its name and importance from the faith of the Seven Realms and the divines. It may be advisable to read the entry concerning the faith of the realms to be familiar with the gods first, though it is not strictly necessary in order to understand the calendar system in place in the realms.

 

The calendar of Adalmearc remained relatively unchanged since the days of the tribes of Saelnar; it is possible that it was originally made by another people with whom the tribes came into contact and from where they received it. Some of it definitely originated with the Mearcians, however; for instance, the fourth month of their year was named after Sigvard Drakevin as part of the hero worship surrounding him. The astronomical calculations involved in measuring the length of the years and ensuring the calendar remained true was in the hands of the priests of Hamaring; at their stronghold in Cairn Donn near the Weolcan Mountains, they had an observatory where they also kept their records and disseminated their findings to the rest of Adalmearc whenever the calendar needed revision.

 

While the Mearcians did speak of four seasons, these were used informally and were not part of the official calendar. For instance, the harvest season was said to begin whenever the peasants began bringing the harvest in, and it lasted until they were done. Thus the harvest season might last only about a few weeks in one place and many weeks in others. Winter was said to have begun when the harvest ended in the southern realms while in the North, they only spoke of winter once snow had fallen. Winter ended when the snow thawed, and spring began when the first blossoms were shown; in the South, it was spring when the fields began to be planted. It was then said to have ended and summer begun once the fields were all planted. To understand the calendar of Adalmearc, it is necessary to be familiar with its system of months and weeks.

 

Calendar system of weeks

A Mearcian week consisted of seven days with the days named after the divines. None of the days were considered of particular importance compared to the others as such; but since the faithful typically visited a temple for a particular deity on the day associated with that god, this meant that Rihimil’s day was popular for religious duties in Adalrik, many foresters offered tribute on Austre’s day etc. The order and names of the weekdays were:

 

Rilday: Named after Rihimil and first day of the week.

Disday: Named after Idisea.

Nilday: Named after Egnil.

Farday: Named after Disfara.

Hamarday: Named after Hamaring.

Ausday: Named after Austre.

Laugday: Last day of the week and not associated with any of the divines. Instead, its name simply means washing day, and it was meant to be used for personal cleanliness.

 

Calendar system of months

The year of the Mearcian calendar was divided into twelve months. Six of these months was associated with one of the divines; two of them followed the summer and winter solstices, respectively; and one month was connected with the sun, the moon, and the harvest each. The remaining month may originally have had another name or association, but was named after Sigvard Drakevin at some point after his reign.

 

Each month began with a unique day outside the weekly system; after that day, the weekly seven-day system proceeded as normal. The month had four weeks: 28 days plus the unique starting day, giving each month 29 days in total. This set system meant that every month started with a unique day followed by Rilday, Disday, Nilday etc. So every second day of every month was Rilday, and the 29th day of every month was Laugday. After the fourth Laugday of any month came the unique day of the next month, creating a one-day gap between the fourth Laugday of the old month and the first Rilday of the new month.

 

The unique day that heralded each month was named after said month; thus the first day of the first month was called Austre’s Day. It is important to distinguish between the full use of the name and the shortened name. Austre’s Day always referred to the unique day of the year, whereas Ausday referred to the ordinary weekday that occurred 48 times throughout the year.

 

Furthermore, the individual weekdays of every month were not numbered. They were simply referred to according to which number of week they appear. Thus, the second day of any month was always called the first Rilday of that month; the tenth day was called the second Disday of the month and so forth. It is important to remember here that the first day of any month was always unique; hence the first, ordinary weekday, which would be the first Rilday, was always the second day of that month.

 

The following is an example of how the date would be written. If one wished to date something as the nineteenth day of the second month in the year 1090, it would be written as ‘third Farday after Rihimil’s Day in the year one thousand and ninety’. Note that the number would typically be written by the old runes of the Northmen.

 

Names of the months

Below follows the order of months, their names, and various meanings attached to them.

 

Austre’s Day: The first month of the year and typically considered when the spring begins. The year of Adalmearc began after the end of winter and the return of the sun, hence why this month was associated with Austre. While not a widespread holy day, the people of Vidrevi tended to celebrate the first day of this month in various ways, and it might have been observed to a lesser degree in the other realms.

 

Rihimil’s Day: Following Austre closely was the month for Rihimil. The first day of this month was to some extent observed in Adalrik.

 

Sun Day: The third month of the year was associated with the sun. According to the priests of Hamaring, this was the month of the year where the sun shone the most in northern lands and the reason for the name of the month. A testament to the meticulous observations made in ancient days by the priesthoods when devising the calendar. The unique, first day of this month was not considered holy, however.

 

Drakevin’s Day: The curiosity among the months, being named after the legendary hero Sigvard Drakevin. It was a sign of his semi-divine status in Adalmearc, particularly in Adalrik. As with some of the other months, the first day of this month was not considered a holy day, though the dragonborn noble houses often celebrate it with a feast.

 

Summer Day: Summer solstice was the first day of this month. Dedicated to the Alfather, it was considered the holiest day of the year and celebrated with games, merriment and various rites across the Seven Realms.

 

Harvest Day: First day of the harvest month and sometimes the day when the peasants began bringing the harvest in, though this was not strictly observed; the weather played a greater role in determining this.

 

Egnil’s Day: Often considered the day when the harvest should have been brought in storage from the fields, though it varied from year to year whether the farmers manage to do this. It was nonetheless a popular day in Korndale for celebrations and also to a smaller degree in the other realms. If the harvest was not yet finished when this day arrives, it was often considered acceptable to rest on Egnil’s day and continue the harvest the following day.

 

Disfara’s Day: With the eighth month, the year was slowly approaching its end. This was the beginning of the season of storms that on occasion troubled the seas west and south of Adalmearc, probably why it was associated with the goddess of the sea. While this day was not celebrated as such, sailors often pay particular homage to Disfara on this day, praying for her protection.

 

Hamaring’s Day: Initiating the ninth month of the year, this day was revered to some extent in Heohlond and to a lesser degree in Theodstan, the jarldom that bordered the highlands.

 

Moon Day: The tenth month of the year. Presumably named so due to the weakness of the sun this close to midwinter.

 

Winter Day: The first day of this month was culturally celebrated as winter solstice. It was considered a holy day in all of Adalmearc, but it was not accompanied by the same celebrations as summer solstice. Rather, it was used as a day of relaxation to be spent with neighbours. The more affluent members of society typically head a particularly lavish meal on this day. The actual calendar event of the solstice did not fall on the first day, but rather more than a week into the month; for unknown reasons, this seems to have been overlooked in favour of adhering to the first day of the month being the holy day. This was also in stark contrast to summer solstice, considering the entire calendar revolved around ensuring that the first day of the Summer month was always the longest day of the year.

 

Idisea’s Day: The last month of the year and thought to be the end of winter as well, allowing a new year to be birthed alongside spring. Especially in Ealond, but gradually spreading to the other realms, this day was celebrated with merriment and various informal games; both because spring was coming, but also to bolster the spirit before the Days of the Raven.

 

Days of the Raven

The Days of the Raven were the last days of the year that did not fit into the monthly or weekly calendar system. With the twelve months of 29 days, a year contained only 348 days. The surplus days to make a full calendar year were added in after the last month of the old year had passed, but before the new year began, after the end of the month of Idisea and before the month of Austre begins. They were called the Days of the Raven. Ranging between two to three weeks, it was the responsibility of the priests of Hamaring to decide their number. They typically calculated the calendar many years in advance, informing the other realms and ensuring that the calendar day of summer solstice always corresponded to the actual day that was the longest.

 

The reason these days were called Raven Days was two-fold. In part it was because they follow the month of Idisea, whose emblem was a raven. The other reason was that many, particularly the elderly or those frail of body, succumbed to the cold weather in these days. Thus it was said that the raven came for many in this particular time. They were considered days of ill omen; people avoided carrying out work, making agreements, or striking deals. Children born during the Raven Days were thought of as unlucky. The phrase Raven Days was also used of days of calamity; primarily battles with disastrous outcome or many fallen were said to be a Raven Day.

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