Athren Calendar


“Four Seasons” by Alphonse Mucha, 1895

(I’m not going to edit this post that originally went up on my Tumblr. I think you can figure it out.)

My calendar is a solar seasonal calendar of 365 or 366 days. The first day of the year is Midwinter’s Day, or the Winter Solstice (for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, anyway, more properly, I believe it is called the Southern Solstice). There are Eight Festivals throughout the year, coinciding with the solstices, equinoxes, and cross-quarter days. The Festivals are separated by eight seasons that consist of 5 weeks of eight days each, and it works as follows, with equivalent dates starting with December 21, 2011 as Day 1 of the new calendar. This will show the leap day in 2012, so it will represent the 366 day year:

Midwinter Festival/Winter Solstice (7 days) [Day 363-Day 365, Day 1-Day 4, December 18-December 24, 2011]

Late Winter (40 days) [Day 5-Day 44, December 25-February 2]

Spring Festival (5 days) [Day 45-Day 49, February 3-February 7]

Early Spring (40 days) [Day 50-Day 89, February 8-March 18]

Midspring Festival/Spring Equinox (5 days) [Day 90-Day 94, March 19-March 23]

Late Spring (40 days) [Day 95-Day 134, March 24-May 2]

Summer Festival (5 days) [Day 135-Day 139, May 3-May 7]

Early Summer (40 days) [Day 140-Day 179, May 8-June 16]

Midsummer Festival/Summer Solstice (8 days) [Day 180-Day 187, June 17-June 24]

Late Summer (40 days) [Day 188-Day 227, June 25-August 3]

Autumn Festival (5 days) [Day 228-Day 232, August 4-August 8]

Early Autumn (40 days) [Day 233-Day 272, August 9-September 17]

Midautumn Festival/Autumn Equinox (5 days) [Day 273-Day 277, September 18-September 22]

Late Autumn (40 days) [Day 278-Day 317, September 23-November 1]

Winter Festival (5 days) [Day 318-Day 322, November 2-November 6]

Early Winter (40 days) [Day 323-Day 362, November 6-December 16]

Midwinter Festival/Winter Solstice (8 days) [Day 363-Day 365, Solitary, Day 1-Day 4, December 17-December 24, 2012] 

The last day of the year, normally Day 365, is Midwinter’s Eve. When a leap day is required, an extra day is counted as Day 366, called “Solitary”, between Midwinter’s Eve and Midwinter’s Day. Yes, this is self-serving, since I am Solitary. Sue me. 😉

As you can see, although the actual equinoxes and solstices don’t necessarily fall on the exact date in the calendar as the “Day” of each Festival, they do actually occur during each Festival. I’m pretty pleased with myself about that.

The first day of each minor Festival is called “Eve”, such as Spring Eve, followed by “Day”, such as “Spring Day”, and is then followed by three more Festival days. The two major festivals, at Midsummer and Midwinter, have 2 Festival days and 3 Festival days, respectively, preceding the Eve. Of course, following that structure, we cannot avoid the name “Summer’s Eve”, but whatevs. That companies is all douches, anyway, and I’m not going to be bound by douches. Just call it “Summer Eve”, instead, if it bothers you… 😀

Speaking of which, tomorrow is the last day of Spring, and Summer’s Eve is the day after tomorrow. I’m so excited to celebrate the beginning of Summer, once again! This Winter, warm though it was, still chilled me to the bone. I’m not very fond of the cold these days, because I’m still enamoured of all the gossamer clothing I get to wear now.

I need to think about months a bit more. I’m not sure I even want months, at this point. Months were originally derived from lunar calendars, where we have a cycle of approximately 13 lunar orbital periods per year, and although the number 13 is special, being 5+8, it’s still difficult math when the planet has a 365.25 day long year. I tried to work in the lunar periods, somehow, but right now, I’m rationalising the lack of lunar inclusion. I’ve got lots of fives and eights in the calendar, and I’m happy about that.

Since each season is divided into Early and Late parts of 40 days each, having months as well seems kind of redundant. You can just sort of think of each half-season as a longish month. 5 weeks of 8 days each, 5 work days per week with 3 days off for most non-critical jobs, but obviously agricultural jobs can’t be left alone for too long. Humans have been using the 7-day week for a long, long time, but have at various times in various places used weeks of different lengths. It may very well be that the 7-day week is ideal for human psychology, since it has been used for so long, but it is also possible that we only feel that way about it because of long-standing custom.

It makes me think of the way that class schedules were done in my first high school. We divided the day up into a set number of periods, say 7, but our classes ran on a 6 day rotating schedule. Each day, we had off of one of our classes, and each day the periods rotated, so that each class was at a different time of the day. Day 1 might be Periods 1-6 (with Period 7 off), Day 2 might be Periods 2-7 (With Period 1 off), Day 3 might be Periods 3-7, followed by Period 1 (with Period 2 off), and so forth through the schedule. Anyway, it went something like that, although it may have been slightly different. You get the idea; variety is the spice of life.

All I know is, my brain decided it needed to work on this last night and today, so here it is.


I also need to figure out the whole Southern Hemisphere thing. My brain is not accustomed to thinking upside-down, so please forgive me. 😉