In an effort to get through my first draft, I put a few worldbuilding projects on the backburner. And I’m glad I did.
One of those projects was to develop a calendar. Now that I’m in the editing phase, it needs done now. Or else making fixes during later revisions will be a pain.
I first mentioned the madcap idea of creating my own calendar for Five Rings and went into detail with the actual days of the week here.
Years were denoted like this: ‘YH 1000′, pronounced ‘Year of Harmony 1000’, or ‘the thousandth year of harmony’. *shrugs* Still sounds good to me.
From my old post:
A new calendar was created post-discord, called ‘Year of Harmony’, featuring twenty-five days, fifteen months, no fractional days, and no leap-year adjustments. Weekdays rotate in observance of the neo-luminaries: Fire, Terra, Luna, Wind, and Holy.
The weekdays were actually inspired by the Japanese days of the week, which are based on the elemental forces of nature: Sun, Moon, Fire, Water, Wood, Gold, and Earth; seven days to go along with the world-standard Gregorian Calendar.
So why not just use the Gregorian Calendar? It would certainly be easier, but wouldn’t it be weird if a whole different planet and culture used our Gregorian Calendar, using the Anno Domini system to count the years following the accepted date of Jesus’ birth?
And Lurians, just like with their centralized language, wanted their calendar to be ‘harmonious’ to avoid the end of days, believing it was chaos and an overall lack of discipline that nearly led to humankind’s demise.
I think intercalculational concepts like daylight savings time and leap years cause nothing but confusion and chaos – if just for brief amounts of time, so that won’t fly in Lura.
I was thinking a nice base10 system would be the most ‘harmonious’. (Like the awesomeness of the metric system, which I really wish the United States would convert to…).
There already exists a failed decimal calendar in world history called the French Republican Calendar. (Its existence helped me immensely in plotting out my own 5-day week calendar system. I just basically had to cut their weeks in half and add 3 more months.)
1 year = 15 months.
1 month = 25 days.
1 week = 5 days.
Total number of days per year: 375, awfully close to our 365.2425 days, and a much rounder number to boot.
It stands to reason that their central star is in the distance-proximity of our very own sun. And it’s easy; it means every recurring holiday lands on the same day of the week every year. And every year starts on the same day of the week, too.
No more pesky fractional days. The Lurian seconds add up to be non-decimal, and no intercalculations are needed to adjust the years to the sky’s astrological events.
To put it into perspective, each Earth year is 31557600 seconds. Assuming Lurian years are also this many seconds…
…each Lurian day is 97.33% of the length of time of an Earth day, coming out to exactly 84,153.6 seconds.
Which is 1,402.56 minutes.
Which is 23.376 hours, awfully close to Earth’s 24-hour day.
Next issue: The year shouldn’t start on January 1st in the middle of winter. It just doesn’t make much sense in the context of the novel.
Instead, it starts with the Vernal Equinox. After all, Spring is a time of life; rebirth from death, and the phoenix is a strong symbol used to represent the Lurians’ rebirth from the ashes of their cataclysm.
With the adjusted days, Spring starts approximately during what would be our March 21st. I can easily adjust the moon phases based on that marker.
Next issue: The fifteen months need meaningful names.
I searched around on the internet for ideas and stumbled upon tarot cards which have a very interesting history. It turns out the 22 trump cards (or Major Arcana for you occultists out there) were ironically created to signify the progression of a truly holy life.
And what is a year, if not an elaborate analogy for the life cycle?
Months of the Fire
we are all born into this world with a blissful ignorance.
as children, we are tricksters, we take action, initiative.
we hunger for knowledge.
Months of the Earth
we are forced to learn self-control and patience. we stand up for ourselves and others.
we start to learn with an objective mind, we wish for justice.
we make many choices, leading down the path to adulthood.
Months of the Water
there is the ever-present factor of chance, randomness. we are reminded of the passing of time.
we earn success, recognition, we learn to be brave.
we learn to let go, how to sacrifice, we learn to accept.
Months of the Air
we wish for peace and harmony.
and sometimes, we are self-destructive, or cause the downfall and ruin of others.
we prosper, we accomplish, we respect the cycles of life.
Months of the Seven Rays
we feel a wholeness, a contentment with life. we attain peace.
we are reminded of our mortality, of those who have died, and eventually, we too die, ending our life cycle.
we learn to forgive. and after death, we are judged, we enter the Ideal.
Final issue: Holidays. They have been easier for me to create than you might think, though: Since the Major Arcana already have a lot of meaning attached to them, holidays are derived from the meaning behind the months and the elements associated with them. For instance, a holiday to forgive and forget would probably occur during the month of Judgment.
A Lurian might say “It is Luna, the eighth of Lovers, in the one-thousandth Year of Harmony.”
Twenty-five days has Magus, Ouroboros, Tower, and Justice. All the rest have twenty-five, except for Chariot with twenty-five.))
Nick out! ;)