The Old Norse Calender

Posted in Tradition / Mythology / Germanic on Tuesday, September 1, 2015 by Joel Höglund

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According to Snorri, chapter 62 in his Skaldskaparmal: these are the names of the months:

Old norse nameMeaningModern name
þorri Dry January
Gói Snow February
Einmánuðr Juniper month March
Gaukmánuðr ok sáðtíð Cuckoo month and Seed time April
Eggtíð ok stekktíð Egg time and Lamb weaning time May
Sólmánuðr ok selmánuðr Sun month and Pasture month June
Heyannir Haying season July
Kornskurðarmánuðr Reaping month August
Haustmánuðr Harvest month September
Gormánuðr Slaughter month October
Frermánuðr Freezing month November
Hrútmánuðr Rain month December

These names or variants of them were used in all scandinavian countries, in some places as late as the 19:th century.

The length of the months were defined by the lunar cycle, about 29,5 days. 12 months add upp to 354 days, while a solar year is 365,5 days. Due to this about every third year a leap month had to be added. Remember still that it was the moon cycle that controlled the months. The months didn't need to add up with the solar year as today.

The year began in the autumn equinox and this also marks the beginning of the autumn. It lasts until the winter solstice, which marks the beginning of the winter.

Read more about time at this link.

Last updated on Friday, September 11, 2015