Calendars of Middle-earth: 2. Years and Months

Reader Toolbox   Log in for more tools

2. Years and Months

According to the Calendar of Imladris, as maintained through the Third Age, the Eldar counted time in yén, often inaccurately translated as "year" but meaning 144 years of the sun. A single day () was reckoned from sunset to sunset; each yén contained 52,596 days. They used a week (enquië) of six days for ritual purposes, and these were 8,766 enquier in each yén. The solar year was called a loa ("growth") or coranar ("sun-round"). This was subdivided into seasons for practical purposes. The Calendar of Imladris had six of these seasons.

Seasons among the Eldar:

Quenya name Sindarin name Translation Length
tuilë ethuil spring 54 days
lairë laer summer 72 days
yávië iavas autumn 54 days
quellë (or lasselanta) firith (or narbeleth) fading 54 days
hrívë rhîw winter 72 days
coirë echuir stirring 54 days


Additional days fell outside of any season. Before tuilë came yestarë, the first day of the year. Between yávië and quellë came three enderi, or "middle-days." Following coirë came mettarë, the last day of the year. This provided a year of 365 days. Every twelfth year the enderi were doubled; at the end of every third yén the doubling of the enderi was omitted.

The Calendar of Númenor in the Second Age differed. Instead of beginning the year with spring, they reckoned from mid-winter. Eventually they added a seventh day to the week, and reckoned days from sunrise to sunrise. They also divided the loa into more regular and shorter periods. This King's Reckoning was used down until the end of the line of kings in Gondor. It may be set out as follows:

Months in the King's Reckoning:

Quenya name Sindarin name* Length Modern Equivalent
Narvinyë Narwain 30 days January
Nénimë Nínui 30 days February
Súlimë Gwaeron 30 days March
Víressë Gwirith 30 days April
Lótessë Lothron 30 days May
Nárië Nórui 31 days June
Cermië Cerveth 31 days July
Urimë Urui 30 days August
Yavannië Ivanneth 30 days September
Narquelië Narbeleth 30 days October
Hísimë Hithui 30 days November
Ringarë Girithron 30 days December

*used only by the Dúnedain in the North

Additional days outside the months were yestarë (before Narvinyë), loëndë (between Nárië and Cermië), and mettarë (after Ringarë). Every fourth year, except for the last year of a century, loëndë was replaced by two enderi.

The Second Age was held to have ended with the overthrow of Sauron; thus S.A. 3442 became T.A. 1. Accumulated millennial deficits and dislocations caused by the new numeration of the years of the Third Age caused Mardil the Good Steward to issue a new calendar in T.A. 2060. According to this calendar, all months had 30 days, and two more days outside the months were introduced: tuilérë (between Súlimë and Víressë), and yáviérë (between Yavannië and Narquelië). Days outside of the months were always considered to be holidays.

The Shire Calendar began in 1601 of the Third Age, by the King's Reckoning, and thus the T.A. equivalent of any date given in Shire Reckoning may be found by simply adding 1600. For their months and years, the Hobbits followed the King's Reckoning, with a slight modification. Instead of the two middle months having 31 days, the Hobbits counted 30 days in each, and had a three-day holiday between them. They also used unique names for both months and weekdays.

Months in the Shire:

Name in Gondor Shire name Bree name Modern Equivalent
Narvinyë Afteryule Frery January
Nénimë Solmath Solmath February
Súlimë Rethe Rethe March
Víressë Astron Chithing April
Lótessë Thrimidge Thrimidge May
Nárië Forelithe Lithe June
Cermië Afterlithe The Summerdays July
Urimë Wedmath Mede August
Yavannië Halimath Wedmath September
Narquelië Winterfilth Harvestmath October
Hísimë Blotmath Wintring November
Ringarë Foreyule Yulemath December
Five days were normally reckoned outside of the months: two days of Yule (1 Yule came after the end of Foreyule, and 2 Yule came before Afteryule); and three days between Forelithe and Afterlithe, called 1 Lithe, Mid-year's Day, and 2 Lithe. Every four years an additional holiday, the Overlithe, was included after Mid-year's Day.

A table setting out the Shire Calendar for all years may be found in Appendix D of The Return of the King, p. 384.


This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.

Story Information

Author: Celandine Brandybuck

Status: General

Completion: Complete

Era: Other

Genre: Research Article

Rating: General

Last Updated: 04/04/04

Original Post: 09/17/02

Go to Calendars of Middle-earth overview

Comments

No one has commented on this story yet. Be the first to comment!

Comments are hidden to prevent spoilers.
Click header to view comments

Talk to Celandine Brandybuck

If you are a HASA member, you must login to submit a comment.

We're sorry. Only HASA members may post comments. If you would like to speak with the author, please use the "Email Author" button in the Reader Toolbox. If you would like to join HASA, click here. Membership is free.

Forums linked to the story

Research Questions - 2721 posts
Have a question? Want to know a fact? Having trouble figuring something out? This is the place! Add a question, or answer one posted by someone else.

For help with Tolkien's languages, you may get a faster response posting the question in Languages in Arda. Many of our linguists get email alerts for that discussion, and check this one less often.

Reader Toolbox   Log in for more tools