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Things of Middle-earth

Calendar of Imladris

Type: Calendars & Measurements

Other Names:
Calendar of Rivendell
Reckoning of Rivendell


The calendar used by the Elves of Rivendell:
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' (especially in the north-western lands) when the seasonal changes in vegetation were primarily considered, as was usual with the Elves generally. The loa was broken up into periods that might be regarded either as long months or short seasons. These no doubt varied in different regions; but the Hobbits only provide information concerning the Calendar of Imladris. In that calendar there were six of these 'seasons", of which the Quenya names were tuilë, lairë, yávië, quellë, hrívë, coirë, which may be translated 'spring, summer, autumn, fading, winter, stirring'. The Sindarin names were ethuil, laer, iavas, firith, rhîw, echuir. 'Fading' was also called lasse-lanta 'leaf-fall', or in Sindarin narbeleth 'sun-waning'.

Lairë and hrívë each contained 72 days, and the remainder 54 each. The loa began with yestarë, the day immediately before tuilë, and ended with mettarë, the day immediately after coirë. Between yávië and quellë were inserted three enderi or 'middle-days'. This provided a year of 365 days which was supplemented by doubling the enderi (adding 3 days) in every twelfth year.

How any resulting inaccuracy was dealt with is uncertain. If the year was then of the same length as now, the yén would have been more than a day too long. That there was an inaccuracy is shown by a note in the Calendars of the Red Book to the effect that in the 'Reckoning of Rivendell' the last year of every third yén was shortened by three days: the doubling of the three enderi due in that year was omitted; 'but that has not happened in our time'. Of the adjustment of any remaining inaccuracy there is no record.

The Lord of the Rings, Appendix D, The Calendars

Contributors: Elena Tiriel 14Feb10

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