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Things of Middle-earth


Type: Calendars & Measurements

Other Names:
long year
Quenya singular: yén, plural: yéni


A long-year in the Elvish calendar, or 144 years of the sun, as distinguished from an astronomical year:
It seems clear that the Eldar in Middle-earth, who had, as Samwise remarked, more time at their disposal, reckoned in long periods, and the Quenya word yén, often translated 'year'..., really means 144 of our years. The Eldar preferred to reckon in sixes and twelves as far as possible. A 'day' of the sun they called and reckoned from sunset to sunset. The yén contained 52,596 days. For ritual rather than practical purposes the Eldar observed a week or enquië of six days; and the yén contained 8,766 of these enquier, reckoned continuously throughout the period.

In Middle-earth the Eldar also observed a short period or solar year, called a coranar or 'sun-round' when considered more or less astronomically, but usually called loa 'growth'... when the seasonal changes in vegetation were primarily considered....

The Lord of the Rings, Appendix D, The Calendars

But now [Galadriel] sang in the ancient tongue of the Elves beyond the Sea....

Ai! laurië lantar lassi súrinen,
Yéni únótimë ve rámar aldaron!....

'Ah! like gold fall the leaves in the wind, long years numberless as the wings of trees!'

From Ai! laurië lantar lassi súrinen
The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 8, Farewell to Lórien

Contributors: Elena Tiriel 14Feb10

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