Calendar

One of the most interesting features (at my opinion) about elvish culture is the reckoning of Imladris, the way elves count time, seasons, and years.

What's your special day like converted into Imladris Reckoning? CLICK and ask!

What’s your special day like converted into Elvish Calendar? CLICK and ask!

To begin with, their time is absolutely different from ours. Think about it: if you were immortal, time would be a different notion to you. Elvish year in fact lasts 144 human years! Wow….how are we gonna keep track of it? In less than one year, we’d all be dead! They have a short version of ‘year’ in order to establish a similarity with mortal men calendar. Here are the basics:

Yén = 144 years = the actual elvish year (for mortal men it’s taken as century instead of year)

Loa = 365 days = the shorter version made to observe seasons, it perfectly fits to the solar calendar

Alright…that’s the year, but what about the months? Are they the same? NO! Some may say they are, as Tolkien used Gregorian dates on his books, but that was just a simple convention for lay people. In Middle-Earth there was no September, January or December, so don’t bother celebrating Frodo’s birthday on September,22nd. It doesn’t work that way. Even with the Shire calendar, it doesn’t work that way!

Months for elves are essentially divided by seasons. There are 6 months. Two of them are 72-day. They’re longer months corresponding to the full seasons of summer and winter. The other four months are regular ones with 54 days. Do the math..isn’t it missing 5 days? Where are they? Well, they’re special days, holidays if you will. They’re the 1st day of the year (yestarë), the 3 middle days (enderi) and the last day of the year (mettarë).

Let’s visualize it! It’s always better:

Yestarë

1st day of the year. It doesn’t belong to any month.

Tuilë

“Spring”, 1st month with 54 days

Lairë

“Summer”, 2nd month with 72 days

Yávië

“Harvest(autumn)”, 3rd month with 54 days

Enderi

3 middle days. High holiday, not belonging to any month too.

Quellë

“Fading(late fall)”, 4th month with 54 days

Hrívë

“Winter”, 5th month with 72 days

Coirë

“Stirring(pre-spring)”, 6th month with 54 days

Mettarë

the last day of the year. It belongs to no month.

As you may observe, elves are perfectly symmetric. Their numeral system is duodecimal (like the Babylonians who devised the hours), so everything is based on 12. That’s why their week are made of 6 days! Longer months are made of 12 weeks of 6 days = 72 days!

We saw the months, now let’s understand more about the week!

As said above, elvish weeks are made of 6 days. Like our week, each day has a name with a meaning attached to it. Our week days are based mostly on Norse mythology and celebrate their gods (Týr, Freia, Odin), while elvish week days celebrate the nature and the powers behind it. (Yes…Tolkien’s works are full of harmony even in the tiniest details).

So, here they are, the 6-day week:

Elenya

(elen = star)

Anarya

(Anar = Sun)

Isilya

(Isil = Moon)

Aldúya

(Aldu = Two Trees)

Menelya

(Menel = sky, heaven)

Valanya

(Vala = the Power)

Why is it so?

In Tolkien universe everything is full of harmony and has some explanation. Here’s the reason of elvish week-days:

Elenya: Elves were born under starlit sky. There were no Sun nor Moon when they came to existence. The first word ever spoken in Arda was: “Ela!” (Behold!), because they looked at the stars and were marveled. Their name, Eldar, means ‘people of the stars’ and of all natural things elves loved stars the most.

Anarya: Sun marks the birth of Men and the end of elves’ bliss. Humankind brought changes and made the world whole different for the elves. They are called children of the Sun. After the destruction of the Two Tress, the last golden fruit who could be saved from Laurelin (the Golden Tree) was put into a vessel in the sky and guided by Arien, Maia of the Sun.

Isilya: Moon was created on the

same day as the Sun and for the same reasons. Before Men, there was no Moon. The night sky was full of Varda Elentári’s stars to delight of the elves, but no Moon was needed. After the destruction of the Two Trees, the last silver flower who could be saved from Teleperion (the Silver Tree) was put into a vessel in the sky and guided by the unsteady (that’s why there are Moon phases) Tilion who chased the Sun.


Aldúya: The Two Trees played a major role on the elvish history. They illuminated the world before the Sun & Moon. Due to them, elves marched from

their awakening place near the lake Cuiviénen towards the light of Valinor. The first of the Two Trees to come into bloom was Telperion with dark green leaves shining forth silver-white light. It was from the shining dew from the Tree that Varda formed the brightest of the stars. The other Tree was Laurelin that came to its full light seven hours after Telperion, and so the Two Trees waxed and waned, silver and golden, throughout the long Years of the Trees.

Menelya: Menel means sky but in Arda, Menel is a proper name and its meaning goes much beyond than sky or heaven. Menel refers to the sublime above, the dominion of the stars and heavenly bodies. It’s the place where no one can go, except the blessed birds and the powerful eagles of Manwë. There are lots of places who honor Menel by its use or name, for instance Meneltarma in Númenor which means Pillar of Heaven

Valanya: The last day of the week and held in special esteem by the elves. Dedicated to all Valar, it may correspond to our Sunday. Valar were the Powers, the “gods” who ruled Arda and everything inside the globe, from winds to sea, from mountains to trees. No surprise, there would be a day dedicated to them.

Leap Years

That’s something I missed when I explained about elvish calendar and it’s so essential! Mainly when you want to synchronize Gregorian calendar with Imladris’. So, we have seen so far that elvish calendar has the same amount of days as ours, 365 days. Surely they’re counted differently, less and longer months, short week, but in the end…it’s just the same year, 365 days. What about leap years? Gregorian leap years are each 4 years (except  in 1900 and other years. Read more) and Imladris leap years are each 12 years. But here’s the trick: Gregorian adds 1 day, Imladris adds 3 days. Voilá! The same thing in the end of the 12th year. Of course, after the 4th and 8th year, Imladris calendar gets a little bit ‘late’, but it’s just a couple of days max. No big deal. The 3 extra days are added at the Enderi. Instead of 3 middle-days, in a leap year there are 6 enderi. The last elvish leap year was in 2004 and the next will be in 2016. (According to ANNO DOMINE synchronization)

Numerals

This part should be dealt in Smart Course page, but numerals are such a basic feature intertwined with calendars, that I couldn’t help it, but to introduce it here as quick as possible, so everyone will be able to understand better how elves count their days. (and all other things too).

To start, we need to analyze our own numeral system. It’s the so famous decimal system. Everything is based on the number 10 and its multiples. Elves are different. They got the duodecimal system (like ancient Babylonians who invented the counting of minutes and hours, which by the way…is based on duodecimal system too). Everything is based on the number 12.  That’s the elvish ‘complete’ number equivalent to our 10. It’s something like, counting things by dozens. Below, I present all the numbers in Tengwar:

So, a 12-based numeral system changes everything. When you put together 1+0, in a system like that, you don’t get ten, you get a dozen! (By the way….check closely the number 12 in the chart. Yes…numbers are read from right to the left, opposite direction of the alphabet) 2+0 is not 20, it’s 24. 1+0+0 = 144. That’s something really tough to get used with it (mainly to me, you know…I’m not a guy into numbers). The best tip ever is: start thinking about dozens, always dozens. This will surely help you.

Below, you’ll find a chart with all the numbers used in a calendar page (up to 72). It was designed to help mainly starters who might get confused at reading or writing numbers in Quenya.

ANNO DOMINE Synchronization

Here’s a thing I’ve done some months ago (to be precise, 09/29/10) because I wanted to find out the exact day of the week we were in. I’ve been following the elvish calendar for some years now, but I read more and more about it and I had some doubts if I was really observing it correctly (in sync with Gregorian). Then I researched everything about the matter and came about with the charts you’ll see below.

But what did I do anyway? I took year 1 AD and found there when the yestarë had taken place. And…

In Appendix D Tolkien wrote that the Elves’ New Year falls on the sixth day of Astron. Now we can easily get the corresponding date in the Gregorian calendar – it is March 29.

so I started there! March,29th,1. From this date on, I could find all the corresponding days of the weeks for all the days for over 20 centuries! I had to pay close attention to the leap years and the small delay which they caused on the yestarë to happen (this will be the main focus on my chart) and I had to observe the huge adjustment made between Julian and Gregorian calendar in 1582. Well….it took me some time to find them all, but now I’m following a much more accurate calendar and you can too!

In this PDF (Thanks again, Ondo) you can see when the elvish year starts from year 1 to 2016 AD

SUPER Imladris Reckoning

And to make things easier a revolutionary easier way to keep counting with Erutulco below. Click:

yc3a1va

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98 responses to “Calendar

  1. Hey! This is awesome but… how did you figure out the days of the Elvish week? Did Tolkien indicate that as well?
    Cause you said they don’t reset but I think there might be a bug in the java Notië Imberissëo resets in March and has Coirë 54 as Valanya, Mettarë as Elenya and then Yestarë as Menelya and thus Tuilë 1 as Valanya. Which is obviously wrong and I was wondering how they were calculated in the first place so I could know which one is the right one…

    Hantanyel!

  2. Hello, I know this is an old post and there haven’t been comments in ages and I’m sorry if that’s annoying, but I’ve been using the java Notië Imberissëo (and maybe I should comment over there but this is partly a question about the way the calendar works and about the way the software works) and I’ve just seen for the days of the week that on yestarë the days of the week set back to Valarya. Is this normal? Because what happens is that Coirë 54 is Valarya, Mettarë is Elenya and then Yestarë is Valarya again and Tuilë 1 is Elenya again.
    So this is my question: is this normal or is there a bug? In which case any day might be wrong (I haven’t checked them all, just 2016 — Mettarë XIV 143 to Yestarë XIV 144).

    Thank you ^^

  3. Erla Ragnarsdóttir

    Hello,

    Can you help me i want to know my birthday in elvish letters

    29 December 1981.

    Thank you.

    Erla

  4. Roccorendil Rínion

    Ok, i want to write my birthday (April 13th, mid-day, 1992) in quenya, using tengwar. i know that its:
    17 Tuilë 120, but i also want to include the week-day, Menelya, and the Yén, 14.
    Now how should i write that? if i wanted to write like, Arë Menelya Enquië 3 Tuilë 17 Loa 120 Yén 14( to be extremely accurate)?
    I know how to write most of that using tengwar, but i have become a little uncertain about how to write Yén using tengwar. 😦
    So i would love to see you tender the whole thing into tengwar 😀

    And perhaps the time too? 12:23, if its possible.
    Thank you so much in advance, i just love ur site! :D:D:D ❤

  5. tajei

    Are there elvish “hours” and “minutes”?

  6. Hoteluri Statiunea Venus

    Pensiuni Covasna

    I like the valuable information you provide in your articles.
    I will bookmark your weblog and check again here frequently.
    I am quite sure I will learn plenty of new stuff right here!
    Best of luck for the next!

  7. Alassëa Eruvandë

    Thank you so much for putting up this calendar! Looking forward to celebrating Enderi soon. I have a question though, you’ve put up the numerals and explained the base-12 but I can’t find anywhere that deals with how to pronounce them beyond 10 or 20? is there any such resource you know of?
    (also, mm/dd/yyyy is American notation, not English. The English (and the empire) tend to use dd/mm/yyyy)

  8. erucolindo

    This is the first time I’ve stumbled onto your site and it’s very impressive, great job! I just noticed on the calendars you’ve drawn up that you include the extra 5 days (yestarë, mettarë, and the enderi) in the week. Because of this the ‘months’ all begin and end on different weekdays. If Tolkien’s other calendars are to be an example, based on his writings it might be more accurate to drop these five days not only out of the ‘months’ but out of the week as well, allowing every ‘month’ to begin on elenya and to end on valanya. Boris Shapiro has a great webpage dedicated to some of the calendars of Middle-earth and their correspondence to our Gregorian calendar for anyone who’s interested.

    http://www.elvish.org/gwaith/calendars.htm

    Once again, great job on this site, it’s wonderful to see so much Quenya, keep it up!

    • Thank you!

      I based this whole page on what Shapiro has collected of Tolkien lore in the very same link you mention here.

      Shire Calendar follows exactly what you say here (holidays are not part of the week) and due to that, all months end and start in the same week day. That’s for the Shire. Tolkien didn’t write about the elves following this system and as they were pretty different from hobbits (culturally speaking), there’s no ground to expect they did the same.

  9. fouad

    Elenya, Coirë 30, XIV 122 how is it written?
    it is 04/03/1995 before sunset to be precise…
    can you please write it for me? i’m gonna do a tattoo with my name and birthday (i sent a request with fastline for my name)

  10. Calimë Isil

    Is there someone, who can explain me it in czech? I understand this a little, but it will be better in czech :/

  11. Vanya

    Love your website! Keep up the good work!
    I’ve always been interested in the language and i dont know why but i just find it AWESOME! I hope in the future i will learn more.
    I am getting a tattoo with my babys date and a script that you translated. So i thought why not put the two together!! 😀
    I am new at this and i was hoping you could help me ?

    My babys dates is 2009 may the 7th.
    Thank you in advanced!
    And sorry for all the writing!

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