Friday Lore Post: The Novan Calendar

Most humans on Nova use an iteration of the same calendar. It is a solar calendar with largely lunar months, where each month is either thirty or thirty-two days long, alternating in length each month. Because there are an odd number of months, the first and last months of the year are the same length. Nova’s lunar month is thirty-one days, so why the calendar is not divided into twelve thirty-one day months and one thirty-two day month is a mystery to everyone. By this calendar, the year is 404 days long. The year begins in mid-winter and was originally a twelve-month, 365-day calendar until it was recognized that this was not commensurate with the length of the world’s solar year and the calendar was eventually adjusted. Because all human cultures in the world are ultimately descended from these original calendar-makers, they all continue to use the same calendar, roughly speaking. The month names listed here are those used in Menechit and Yavhore, which are different elsewhere on the planet. Many nonhuman cultures have different ways of measuring the years, such as the merpeople’s ten-month lunar calendar, which are not represented here. Dates of equinoxes and solstices are given from a northern hemispheric perspective.


The first month of the calendar, Levin begins just two days after the winter solstice and marks the lengthening of the days through the year. In Menechit the new year doesn’t carry particular significance, because it doesn’t carry much significance to the Catechism except inasmuch as a new saint is declared Protector of the World every year, meaning that they are the primary intercessor for that year and their feast day later in the year will be a bigger deal. Elsewhere, the new year is a bigger deal, especially in Aergyre, where the first day of Levin (called Rubus there) is also the mythological date marking the founding of the Empire and the first emperor’s birthday.


The second month of the year, called Ina in Enjon, is home to the Enjoni holiday of Kaltha, a week of reverence for the gods that is considered the most auspicious time of the year to get married, start a new job, move to a new location or conceive a child. It is the month when the Crown constellation is the brightest in Menechit’s sky, which astrologists say is the best constellation under which to pledge vows. In Ech’kent, Ezran is Welkatenek, the Month of the Dead, when the departed are likely to return as shades and must be honoured, specifically on the seventeenth day of the month, Welkanta, when they must be politely asked to return to the Caves of Whuvan.


The third month is home to Martyrs’ Day, the Catechism holiday dedicated to honouring all those who died protecting the faith. This is a solemn day of reflection where the only things operating are churches. It has also expanded to become a holiday honouring the dead generally, and it is not uncommon for people to hold wakes for those who died at other times in the previous year on the day after Martyrs’ Day, which has come to be known as the Day of The Resting.


The year’s fourth month contains the vernal equinox. Equinoxes are a fairly big deal in Menechit, and the vernal equinox, according to Catechism scripture, is the day that God created the Gated Land. Priests will carry out an all-night vigil on the night of the equinox. That aside, Remin is also the Yavhorel month of gratitude, when at some point in the month, typically in the third week, people will give small gifts to people they’re grateful to, and will express thanks for everything people have done for them over the course of the year.


The year’s fifth month contains planting festivals in most of the planet’s northern hemisphere and harvest festivals in the southern, including Seinja in Djyekkan, a feasting day, and Avel in southern Yavhore, which is a day of important grain sacrifices. On Bevia, Nikkin (or Soata) is the Month of Uncovering, when most people go nude for the entire month to demonstrate their openness and honesty to their neighbours, as well as to symbolically divest themselves of worldly attachments.


The sixth month, called Petran in Aergyre, contains the Imperial holiday of Navva, an important gift giving holiday. People are expected to give gifts to everyone they know, even their slaves. Wealthy people are typically expected to free one slave on Navva, though this is practiced inconsistently and in fact what often happens instead is that wealthy people will gift their slaves to each other.


The middle seventh month of the year includes the summer solstice, which is called Teakk in Enjon, where it is the most important holiday. Across most of the continent, the month they call Miek is one of perpetual sunlight and Teakk itself is the day when the long-gone gods are thought to be most likely to return to the world. Teakk is generally celebrated with a several days long public party. In Yavhore, the summer solstice is also a religious festival, and monarchs across the continent ascend their nations’ ziggurats to make pleas to the gods for the year.


The eighth month is home to Djyekkan’s three-day Sajja festival, an orgiastic holiday in which everyone who is able comes out into the streets and other public places to celebrate the divine orgy that created the universe. Novan is the month in which Kyaine marks its birth as a nation in a national holiday known as Kynanal. The Catechism Feast of All Saints is on the last day of Novan.


The ninth month of Soneen is Chavejtenek, the Month of Dragons, in Ech’kent, and even after the plateau stopped worshipping dragons, it is still an important month for sacrificial offerings of gems, animals and the first fruits of the harvest to be sacrificed by placing them on barges and floating them down the rivers, or by leaving them at the foothills of the mountains. Dolovai also observes Catta Night on the fourteenth of Soneen, in which parents leave gifts for their children under the guise of a spirit named Cattamel, who visits children in their dreams and tells them the future while they sleep. The Night of Spirits is celebrated in Enjon during Soneen (or Naal), which is a carnivalesque night of lights and drinking and costumes where the dead emerge from the afterlife to talk to the living.


The tenth month of the year contains the autumnal equinox, featuring another vigil by Catechism priests and other important rituals around the world. Aergyre’s military holiday of Renala Menear, a day of pageantry and nationalism, occurs near the end of the month, which they call Dexos. Bevia also observes a ritual day called Nahalan at the beginning of the month they call Taal, in which a child is chosen from everywhere where there are people and recognized as the avatar of the island for a day, able to speak for the island about what it wants the community to do. On Bevia’s largest island of Revi, the chosen child will be the avatar for the islands for the whole year and will have a say in all national decisions, speaking not for the people but for the islands themselves.


The eleventh month of the year, called Leosa in Aergyre, features the imperial holiday of Saha, in which all social roles are reversed for one day on the fifth of the month. Parents become subject to their children, master to their slaves, and so on for the entire day, with even the royal family not being exempt. The day always ends with a recitation that all citizens of the Empire should serve each other no matter the day, a sentiment that is most assuredly not carried through on the other four hundred and three days of the year. Dolovai celebrates a four-day festival of lights called Candlewind leading up to the first new moon of Arin, which is also a day of gift exchanges. Kyaine also celebrates this holiday, but only for two days.


The twelfth month of the year is very important in northern Yavhore, where all eleven nations celebrate national holidays at different points in the month. The monarchies of all eleven nations claim to have been established in the month of Jethrin, which is the month the Flame War finally ended. Dolovai also celebrates a national holiday related to its founding in Jethrin, called Oak Day. Ech’kent observes T’nasha Nart, the Night of Stars, when people sleep outside and tell stories all night.


The thirteenth and final month of the calendar year contains the winter solstice at its end. In Enjon, the month is called Lapu and contains the counterpart to Teakk, Sevna. Sevna observes the month of darkness that Daven represents in much of Enjon and is itself a day in which social relationships and links are ignored and, under cover of darkness, anything (consensual) is permitted between anyone who wants to participate. A similar holiday called Sellar is celebrated in much of Yavhore, but only during the actual night of the longest night. The holiday has started to be celebrated in parts of eastern Dolovai as well, where otherwise the only major observance of the solstice is the Catechism’s Feast of St. Marcus.

From “The Definitive Atlas of the World, Vol. 6: Mythologies and Beliefs,” by Pascal Tiberius Naoton Quimbell Haeverine anNatalie, published in White Cape in DN 1997.

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