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Shire calendar from Appendix D to The Lord of the Rings

The Shire Reckoning was the calendar kept by the hobbits of the Shire, very close to the King's Reckoning. The journey of the Fellowship of the Ring started in 1418 by Shire Reckoning.

Each of its twelve months had 30 days, with five extra days which were their chief festivals. It was different from that used by Men, Dwarves and Elves. In the Shire, Year 1 corresponded to TA 1601 when colonization of the Shire began by the Bree-hobbits Marcho and Blanco, two brothers of the Fallohidish stock. Thus, years of the Third Age can be converted to Shire Reckoning by subtracting 1600.

The last year of the Third Age was 1421. In the New Reckoning of King Elessar, the year FO 1 began on March 25, old style, though the hobbits ignored this change and so for them the first year of the Fourth Age was just 1422 in Shire Reckoning.

Months and extra days

The Shire Reckoning's year was divided into 12 months of 30 days. Five extra days were added to create a 365-day year, and sixth extra day was added when leap years occurred every four years. The months followed the lunar cycle.

Month Meaning Length Translation in LotR Modern equivalent
2 Yule 1 day 22nd December
1 Afteryule "After midwinter" 30 days January 23rd December to 21st January
2 Solmath "Mud-month" 30 days February 22nd January to 20th February
3 Rethe "Rough month" 30 days March 21st February to 22nd March
4 Astron "Easter-month" 30 days April 23rd March to 21st April
5 Thrimidge "Three milkings" 30 days May 22nd April to 21st May
6 Forelithe "Before midsummer" 30 days June 22nd May to 20th June
1 Lithe 1 day 21st June
Mid-year's Day 1 day 22nd June
2 Lithe 1 day 23rd June
Overlithe 1 day Leap years only
7 Afterlithe "After midsummer" 30 days July 24th June to 23rd July
8 Wedmath "Weed-month" 30 days August 24th July to 22nd August
9 Halimath "Holy month" 30 days September 23rd August to 21st September
10 Winterfilth "Winter filling" 30 days October 22nd September to 21st October
11 Blotmath "Blood-month" 30 days November 22nd October to 20th November
12 Foreyule "Before midwinter" 30 days December 21st November to 20th December
1 Yule 1 day 21st December

The Yuledays were the days that mark the end of an old year and the beginning of a new one, so 2 Yule was the first day of the year. The Lithedays are the three days in the middle of the year, 1 Lithe, Mid-year's Day, and 2 Lithe. In leap years (every fourth year except centennial years) a day was added after Mid-year's Day called Overlithe. All these days were placed outside of any month. These days were primarily holidays and feast days. Mid-year's Day is meant to correspond to the summer solstice, which Tolkien describes as being 10 days earlier than the middle day of our year. However, since then the summer solstice has shifted slightly so it falls on a different date now, rendering the difference between Mid-year's Day and the middle day of our year eleven days, instead of ten.

Days of the week

There were seven days in the Shire week. The first day of the week was called Sterday and the last day of the week was called Highday. The Mid-year's Day and, when present, Overlithe had no weekday assignments. This arrangement was used because it caused every day to have the same weekday designation from year to year (instead of changing as in the Gregorian calendar).[1]

Day NameMeaningModern equivalent
SterdayStars of VardaSaturday
SundaySunSunday
MondayMoonMonday
TrewsdayTwo Trees of ValinorTuesday
HevensdayHeavensWednesday
MersdaySeaThursday
HighdayValarFriday

Highday was a holiday with evening feasts.

In The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, the names of months and days are given in modern equivalents. For instance, Afteryule is called January and Sterday is called Saturday.

References

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