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The Armenian Calendar and Names

his is a short summary of a rather lengthy (560 pg.) and very descriptive work of the Armenian Calendar (Oratsouyts Hayots) by Grigor Broutian. We hope that it will give you a base of knowledge in helping you to learn more about the Armenian Traditional Calendar and the continuum of the Great Count which started out from the pagan tradition and the mythical birth of Sun god Vahagn (according to tradition of the cyclical calendar in the year 7581 BC) one of the foremost gods in the Armenian pantheon of pagan gods.

The Armenian Calendar 

By Grigor Broutian

he present work addresses issues concerning the Armenian calendars. Most of the issues presented are still subject of discussion and some have never been addressed in previous research. In particular, an attempt has been made to show when and by whom was the Major Armenian calendar founded, what was the nature of this calendar, what was the essence of calendaric reform of Anania Shirakouni (Shirakatzi), where and how did his "fixed" calendar disappear and why Jovhannes Sarkavag (Imastasser) admitted the New Year day on the 11th of August. Other issues discussed include the correction of leap years in Sarkavagadir calendar; the origins of the Native Armenian calendar, the historical events connected to the foundation of this calendar, the fixed place of Navasard festivity in the tropic year, the nature of the festivity and the concept of the Haykian calendar.

The oldest medieval Armenian calendar that is the Major Armenian calendar was developed by Athanas Taronatzi in 551 A.D. under the order of the catholicos of Armenia Movsess Eghivardetzi. In this calendar, the New Year's day was the first of the month Navasardi. The year consisted of only 365 days and as such the Armenian New Year (the 1st of Navasardi) varied from the Julian (Roman) days by one day every 4 years making the calendar completely "mobil". The first year of this calendar began on the 11th of July 552 A.D. (the first of Navasardi), and the first Easter fell on the 20th of April 553 A.D. In 560 A.D., the 532-year circle period, discovered by Eass the Alexandrian and ratified by the assembly of 36 calendarists in Alexandria, was adopted in Armenia. However, the fixed calendar that was especially instituted in this assembly for Armenia was refused by Armenians. The individual calendar and chronology founded by Athanas Taronatzi continued in Armenia. The present text examines the chronology of Armenian catholicoses in 6-7th century and corrects it in accordance with the foundation of Major Armenian calendar. Jovhann Bagarantzi (with the 26 years of his reign) whose name was removed from the chronology is appropriately restored. 

The correct list of the catholicoses of that period is as follows: 

Movsess Eghivardetzi 551 - 581 (30 years) 
Vrthaness Kherthogh (substitute) 581 - 584 (3 years) 
Jovhann Bagarantzi 584 - 610 (26 years; after 607 as a contrary only in Karin) 
Abraham Aghbathanetzi 607 - 610 (3 years) 
Komitas Aghdzetzi 610 - 618 (8 years). 
In the 7th century, by the order of the catholicos Anastass Akorretzi, Anania Shirakouni (Shirakatzi) created the first fixed Armenian calendar. He fixed the Armenian New Year's day at the beginning of January (on the 6th or 1st), but did not fix the Armenian day of month corresponding to New Year's day. This process results in a calendar where the Armenian day of month of the New Year's day changes once every four years. Thus, Anania Shirakouni's calendar is only partially fixed.

In order to ease the application of this rather difficult calendar, Anania Shirakouni created the 532-year tables, where the months and days of the most important holidays were given for all 532 years both in terms of Armenian and Roman months. These tables included the years 580 to 1112 A.D. This calendar reform was not ratified by the church assembly. However, many authors have used the Major Armenian calendar based on the 532-year tables of Anania Shirakouni.

In 1004, before the completion of these tables, a major calendar confusion arose among scholars. The main reason for this confusion was the coincidence of the 1st of Navasardi and the vernal equinox (20th of March). After this date, each Armenian year was marked by two different numbers, depending on how the Armenian calendar was interpreted: according to the Athanas' definition or the calendar reform of Anania Shirakouni.

To clear up this confusion, the second 532-year tables for the Armenian calendar were developed by Jovhannes Sarkavag (Imastasser). These tables begin not just from the end of Shirakouni's tables, but 28 years before it in 1085.

These tables were denoted only with Roman months and the 1st of January was adopted as the New Year's day and the first year was 1085 A.D. During this revision Sarkavag removed from the chronology the "income" year.

He continued his work on calendar reform and in 1116 (or 1117) A.D. created the first completely fixed Armenian calendar named after him and known as Sarkavagadir. In this calendar the additional day ("the day of the leap year") was introduced into the system of Armenian months (once in each four years). Based on parallels of the days (of months) between Armenian and other (fixed) calendars (found in some translations of 5th century, primarily the Bible), he fixed the 1st of Navasardi on the 11th of August. He also placed the additional day between the months of Mehekan and Areg, in front of the 8th of March, in order to minimize disagreements between the Armenian and the Roman calendars.

Haykian Calender

he present text discusses the existence of a solar calendar in the Armenian Upland, the origin of which is not known with certainty. However, we know that the year of this solar calendar consisted of only 10 months with 30 days each. According to the beliefs of the time, this calendar was created by Father God. The guide and regulator of this god-given calendar was the constellation of Hayk (Orion), considered as the Heavenly Father. Only the period of time during which the main star of this constellation (the right arm of Hayk-Orion) was visible in the sky was considered as the year. This period lasted 10 months and started a week before the summer solstice. The period of invisibility of this star (from Armenia) was 70 days and this period was omitted from the year. It was assumed that during this period Hayk (Father God) was absent, gone to the Dark (Underground) world (the star was below the horizon.) A festivity lasting a week was celebrated to the heliacal rising of this star.

This calendar was changed in 2341 B.C. The calendar was simplified and the year consisted of 12 months. The 70-day period of time previously left out, was divided into two months and added to the year. The main holiday remained in its former place, and as before, it was determined by observing the helical rising of the main star of constellation Hayk (Orion).

Regarding patriarch Hayk as a historical person, his activities were very likely to have taken place during the time of Lugalzagessi, the last king of the early-dynastic period of Sumer. He came to Armenia from Sumer (probably from Kish).

The calendar reformed by Hayk was used without substantial changes until the conversion of Armenia to Christianity at the end of 3rd century A.D. After the conversion, this calendar was naturally rejected. Despite this rejection, many primary ideas, concepts and principles contained in this calendar have survived up to the present through Armenian folk beliefs, traditions and festivities.

Note: This Page is both in English and Armenian. To find out how to be able to see the Armenian letters and download a free Armenian font, please click "Here". 

The Months (Old Calendar)
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Period (Month/day)

8/11 - 9/9
9/10 - 10/9 
10/10 -11/8
11/9 -12/8
12/9 - 1/7
1/8 - 2/6
2/7 -3/8
3/9 - 4/7
4/8 - 5/7
5/8 - 6/6
6/7 - 7/6
7/7 - 8/5
8/6 - 8/10

Name

Navasart
Hori
Sahmi
Dreh
Kaghotz
Aratz
Mehegan
Arek
Ahegan
Mareri
Markatz
Hroditz
Havelouatz

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سñ»ñÇ
سñ·³ó 
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Ú³õ»Éáõ³Í

Mard
The Months (Modern day Calendar)
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English

January
February 
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December

Armenian

Hounvar
Pedrvar
Mard
Abril
Mayis
Hoonis
Hoolis
Ocosdos
Sebdemper
Hokdemper
Noyemper
Tegdemper

гۻñ¿Ý

ÚáõÝáõ³ñ 
ö»ïñáõ³ñ
سñï
²åñÇÉ
سÛÇë
ÚáõÝÇë
ÚáõÉÇë 
ú·áëïáë
ê»åï»Ùµ»ñ
Ðû·ï»Ùµ»ñ
ÜáÛ»Ùµ»ñ 
¸»Ïï»Ùµ»ñ

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Days of the Month
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# - Name

1- Arek 
2- Hrant 
3- Aram 
4- Markar 
5- Ahrank 
6- Mazteh 
7- Asdghig 
8- Meeher 
9- Tsobaper 
10- Mourtz 
11-Yerazgan 
12- Ani 
13- Barkhar 
14- Vanadour 
15- Aramazt 
16- Mani 
17- Asag 
18- Masis 
19- Anahid 
20- Arakadz 
21- Krkour 
22- Gortouk 
23- Ztmag 
24- Lousnag 
25- Tzron 
26- Nbad 
27- Vahakn 
28- Sim 
29- Varak 
30- Kisheravar 

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The Days
.
English

Sunday 
Monday 
Tuesday 
Wednesday 
Thursday 
Friday 
Saturday 

Armenian

Giragi
Yergooshapti
Yerekshapti
Chorekshapti
Hinkshapti
Ourpat
Shapat

гۻñ¿Ý

ÎÇñ³ÏÇ
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âáñ»ùß³µÃÇ
ÐÇÝ·ß³µÃÇ
àõñµ³Ã 
Þ³µ³Ã

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Hours of the Day
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Hours

1:00 am 
2:00 am 
3:00 am 
4:00 am 
5:00 am 
6:00 am 
7:00 am 
8:00 am 
9:00 am 
10:00 am 
11:00 am 
12:00 pm 
1:00 pm 
2:00 pm 
3:00 pm 
4:00 pm 
5:00 pm 
6:00 pm 
7:00 pm 
8:00 pm 
9:00 pm 
10:00 pm 
11:00 pm 
12:00 am 

Name

Kizag
Lousagn 
Aravod 
Lousapayl
Paylatzou
Ayk
Tzayk
Zoratzial
Jarakaytial 
Sharavighial
Yergradess
Shantagogh
Hragat 
Hourpaylial
Taghantial 
Arakod 
Arpogh 
Khavarag 
Aghchamoughch 
Mtatzial 
Shaghavod 
Gamavod 
Pavagan 
Khotapial 

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Øóó»³É 
Þ³õ³Õûï
γٳõûï
´³õ³Ï³Ý
Êáó廳É

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Names of the Planets 
.
English

Sun 
Moon 
Mars 
Mercury 
Venus 
Jupiter 
Saturn 
Neptune 
Uranus 
Pluto
Earth

Armenian

Arev
Lousine
Hrad
Payladzou
Lousntag
Arousiag
Yerevag
Nebtoun
Ouran
Bloudon
Yergir

гۻñ¿Ý

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ÈáõëÇÝ
Ðñ³ï 
ö³ÛɳÍáõ
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²ñáõ뻳Ï
ºñºõ³Ï 
Ü»åïáõÝ
àõñ³Ý
äÉáõïáÝ
ºñÏÇñ

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Names of the Zodiac 
.
English

Aries 
Taurus 
Gemini 
Cancer 
Leo 
Virgo 
Libra 
Scorpius 
Sagittarius 
Capricornus
Aquarius 
Pisces 

Armenian

Khoy
Tzoul
Yergvoriag
Khetzkedin
Arouydz
Gouys
Gshirk
Garidj
Agheghnavor
Aydzeghchour 
Cherhos
Tzoug

гۻñ¿Ý

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ÎáÛë
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Dates

Mar. 21 - April 20
April 21 - May 20
May 21 - June 21
June 22 - July 22
July 23 - Aug. 22
Aug. 23 - Sept. 22
Sept. 23 - Oct. 22
Oct. 23 - Nov. 22
Nov. 23 - Dec. 21
Dec. 22 - Jan. 19
Jan. 20 - Feb. 18
Feb. 19 - Mar. 20

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Fruits and nature's produce - Continue >
The Armenian Calender text - courtesy of
Armenian Highland - Armenian Enlightenment Chronicle 

Calender names courtesy of Fr. Daron Stepanian 
St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church

The Months (Modern day Calendar)
Courtesy of Varty Defterderian
 

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Updated 16 November, 2001 ..
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Copyright © 1999 HyeEtch. All rights reserved
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