Faerûnian Time: The Calendar of Harptos

The Calendar of Harptos

     Time in the Forgotten Realms is very similar to time as we know it. The Toril year consists of 365 days divided into 12 months each having exactly 30 days. The extra 5 days fall between certain months as special days, having different meanings in various parts of the realms.  Leap year (Shieldmeet) is retained purely for a social convenience, and provides a sixth special day that is used as the basisfor long-term agreements and such contracts and activities.
     The months are seperated into 3 ten-day cycles called Newmoon, Midmonth, and Oldmoon. Throughout the Realms these cycles are known as tendays, weeks, or rides, depending on the region. 
     There are no day names like Monday or Friday, days are referred to as "the fifth day of midmonth," or "the third day of oldmoon."  The days are 24 hour cycles with each hour being 60 minutes, and each minute being 10 segments known as clicks (6 seconds, a 3rd Ed. combat round).
     Although the months that comprise a year are standardized, the system of dating years varies from place to place.  Usually years are numbered from an even of great political or religious significance. Each nation or region has cultures with unique histories, and thus, different reckonings.  The system of naming the months is named for its inventor, the long-dead wizard Harptos of Kaalinth, and is in use throughout the North.
     The Calendar of Harptos is summarized in the table below.  Each month's name is followed by a colloquial description of that month, plus theroughly corresponding month of the Gregorian calendar in parenthesis.  Special days arelisted when they occur between months, and appear in italic type.  Each special day is described in the Special Calendar Days section, below.

Order
Name
Colloquial Description
Gregorian Equivilent
1
Hammer
Deepwinter
January
-- Midwinter --
2
Alturiak
The Claw of Winter, -or- 
Claws of the Cold
February
3
Ches
Claws of the Sunsets
March
4
Tarsakh
Claws of the Storms
April
-- Greengrass --
5
Mirtul
The Melting
May
6
Kythorn
The Time of Flowers
June
7
Flamerule
Summertide
July
-- Midsummer --
8
Eleasias
Highsun
August
9
Eleint
The Fading
September
-- Harvestide --
10
Marpenoth
Leafall
October
11
Uktar
The Rotting
November
-- The Feast of the Moon --
12
Nightal
The Drawing Down
December

Special Calander Days

    Midwinter, known officially in Cormyr as the High Feast of Winter. It is a feast where, traditionally, the local lords of the land plan the year ahead, make and renew alliances, and send gifts of goodwill.  To the commonfolk throughout the Realms, this is Deadwinter Day, the midpoint of the worst of the cold. 
    Greengrass, the official beginning of spring, a day of relaxation. Flowers that have been carefully grown in the inner rooms of the keeps and temples during the winter are blessed and cast out upon the snow to bring rich growth in the season ahead. 
    Midsummer, called Midsummer Night or the Long Night, is a time of feasting and music and love.  In a ceremony performed insome lands, unwed maidens are set free in the woods and "hunted" by their would-be suitors throughout the night.  Betrothals are traditionally made upon this night.  It is very rare indeed for the weather to be bad during his night -- such is considered a very bad omen, usually thought to foretell famine or plague. 
    Higharvestide, heralds the coming of fall and the harvest. It is a feast that often continues for the length of the harvest so that food is always on hand for those coming in from the fields.  There is much traveling about on the heels of this feast, as merchants, court emissaries, and pilgrims make speed before the worst of the mud arrives and the rain freezes to snow. 
    The Feast of the Moon, also called Moonfest, this is the last great festival of the year.  It marks the arrival of winter and is also the day when the dead are honored.  Graves are blessed, the Ritual of Remembrance is performed, and tales of the doings of those long gone are told far into the night.  Much is said of heroes and treasure and lost cities underground.  Wars, by the way, are often but not always, fought after the harvest is done, continuing as long as weather permits.  The bulk of this fighting takes place in the month of Uktar, and the ironic practicality of the Feast of the Moon becomes apparent. 
    Shieldmeet: Every four years, another day is added to the year in the manner that February 29th is in the Gregorian calendar.  This day is part of no month and follows Midsummer Night.  It is known as Shieldmeet.  It is a day of open council between nobles and people, a day for tournaments, tests and trials for those wishing to advance in battle fame or clerical standing, for entertainment of all types, particularly theatrical, and for dueling.  The Tel'Quessir, the elves, celebrate this day as CinnaelosíCor, the holy holiday of Corellon Larethian.