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The Armenian calendar is the traditional calendar of Armenia. It was used in Old Armenia during the time before the arrival of Christianity. It is a solar calendar based on the same system as the ancient Egyptian model, having an invariant 365-day year with no leap year rule. As a result, the correspondence between it and the Julian calendar slowly changes over time (such as year 769 on AD 1320 January 1, year 770 on AD 1320 December 31, and year 1032 on AD 1582 October 27 = Gregorian November 6). Some references report that the first month of the year, Navasard, corresponds to the start of spring in the northern hemisphere, but that was only true from the 9th through 10th centuries.
Armenian year 1461 (Gregorian year 2010–2011) is the last of the great Armenian cycle of 1,461 wandering years which equal 1,460 Julian years (see Sothic cycle). The next year, 1462, begins on 24 July 2012 (Gregorian), 11 July (Julian). Armenian year 1 began on 11 July AD 552 (Julian).
The ancient Armenian year consisted of 12 months of 30 days each, plus a 13th month called epagomenê containing 5 days.
The Armenian month names show influence of the Zoroastrian calendar, and, as noted by Antoine Meillet, Kartvelian influence in two cases. There are different systems for transliterating the names; the forms below are transliterated according to the Hübschmann-Meillet-Benveniste system.
|1||նաւասարդ||nawasard||new year||Avestan*nava sarəδa|
|5||քաղոց||kʿałocʿ||month of crops||Zoroastrian Ameretat (the deity Ameretat was also considered a protector of plants)|
|7||մեհեկան||mehekan||festival of Mithra||Iranian *mihrakān- ; Zoroastrian Mitrō|
|8||արեգ||areg||sun month||Zoroastrian Āvān|
|9||ահեկան||ahekan||fire festival||Iranian *āhrakān- ; Zoroastrian Ātarō|
|10||մարերի||mareri||mid-year||Avestan maiδyaīrya ; Zoroastrian Dīn|
|12||հրոտից||hroticʿ||Pahlavi *fravartakān ; Zoroastrian Spendarmat̰|
|13||Ավելյաց||epagomenê||Epagomenal days (days of the Fravashi)|
Days of the month
The Armenian calendar names the days of the month instead of numbering them – a peculiarity also found in the Avestan calendars. Zoroastrian influence is evident in at least five names.
|22||Kordvik||6th province in Armenia Major|
|27||Vahagn||Zoroastrian Vahrām ; Avestan Verethragna, name of the 20th day|
Correlation with Egyptian calendar
The Armenian calendar is a derivative of Zoroastrian changes to Egyptian dates. The first month Navasard begins on 6 Choiak (Koyak) so that the first of the five epagum days falls on Egyptian 1 Choiak. This is in line with the original Zoroastrian calendar of the first century BC where the first month Furvurdeen also began on 6 Koyak. The month Tir begins on Egyptian 6 Phamenoth (7th month) as Egyptian midyear; but it is of biblical interest that Armenian midyear (Mareri/Deh) is Egyptian new year month Thoth as if to imply it was at one time the 7th month, in regard of the computation of the Jubilee, and the biblical explanation of how to begin the novel age following the entering into the promised land. Two cycles of 1460 years goes back to July 11, 2369 BC.
Prior to borrowing the Egyptian calendar, the ancient Armenians had a lunar calendar.
Together with these alien Zoroastrian, Egyptian, Julian, Gregorian, and ecclesiastical dating schemes, some Armenians still retain the old native calendar usage in which the new year begins at the spring equinox. In the numbering scheme of this solar calendar, the year 1 works out to be 5818–5817 BCE. Hence March 20, 2015 CE marks the start of the Armenian year 7833, and the annual advances repeat one-to-one in tandem upon the spring equinox of each year: March 20, 2016 CE will mark the start of the Armenian year 7834, and so forth.
- Armenian numerals
- Calendar of Saints (Armenian Apostolic Church)
- Zoroastrian calendar
- Iranian calendar
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- V. Bănăţeanu, “Le calendrier arménien et les anciens noms des mois”, in: Studia et Acta Orientalia 10, 1980, pp. 33–46
- Edouard Dulaurier, Recherches sur la chronologie arménienne technique et historique (1859), 2001 reprint ISBN 978-0-543-96647-6.
- Jost Gippert, Old Armenian and Caucasian Calendar Systems in The Annual of The Society for The Study of Caucasia“, 1, 1989, 3-12.
- Louis H. Gray, On Certain Persian and Armenian Month-Names as Influenced by the Avesta Calendar, Journal of the American Oriental Society (1907)
- P'. Ingoroq'va, “Jvel-kartuli c'armartuli k'alendari” (“The Old Georgian pagan calendar”), in: Sakartvelos muzeumis moambe (“Messenger of the Museum of Georgia”), 6, 1929–30, pp. 373–446 and 7, 1931–32, pp. 260–336
- K'. K'ek'elije, “Jveli kartuli c'elic'adi” (“The Old Georgian year”), in: St'alinis saxelobis Tbilisis Saxelmc'ipo Universit'et'is šromebi (“Working papers of the Tbilisi State University by the name of Stalin”) 18, 1941, reprinted in the author's “Et'iudebi jveli kartuli lit'erat'uris ist'oriidan” (“Studies in the history of Old Georgian literature”) 1, 1956, pp. 99–124.