The Hours in a Day

The Faerunian day is 24 hours long, broken up by the rising and setting sun. Most people break up the day into slices – dawn, morning, highsun (noon), afternoon, dusk, sunset, evening, midnight, moondark (night’s heart), and night’s end. These slices are not exact, and are often confusing to travelers from foreign lands. These “slices” are mostly used in settlements that have no way to be completely accurate on the time, or during travel.

In large cities, temple bells toll to mark the hours, and each hour is sometimes called a “bell”. Counting from the hour after midnight or noon and numbering 1-12. Noon and midnight are both referred to as “12 bells,” though some of the temples most concerned with precise time (Gond and Lathander, for example), have gone to a 24-bell nomenclature, where noon is 12 bells and midnight is 24 bells.

The Roll of Years

In Faerun years are both numbered and named. These assignments are interchangeable. When named, they are often named after a significant event that came to pass during that year.

An example of this method is the calendar year 1485 DR, the Year of the Iron Dwarf’s Vengeance. So named due to a horde of Orcs and White Dragons that waged war on the North before being driven back into the mountains by a force led by Dwarves who stood firm even during an assault that should have killed them all. The “Iron” in the name of the year is in reference to and honor of the iron will of the Dwarves who stood strong and saved the Silver Marches. This conflict is referred to as the War of the Silver Marches. The years that follow the Year of the Iron Dwarf’s Vengeance have similarly colorful names:

1486 DR, the Year of the Nether Mountain Scrolls
1487 DR, the Year of the Rune Lords Triumphant
1488 DR, the Year of Dwarvenkind Reborn
1489 DR, the Year of the Warrior Princess
1490 DR, the Year of the Star Walker’s Return
1491 DR, the Year of the Scarlet Witch
1492 DR, the Year of Three Ships Sailing
1493 DR, the Year of the Purple Dragons

The Calendar of Harptos

calendar_harptos

The Calendar used by most mortal species is referred to as the Calendar of Harptos. This Calendar system was devised long ago by the Wizard Harptos of Kaalinth. Though now the name is almost exclusively associated with the Calendar. It is split into twelve months, each lasting three tendays (or thirty days). There are an additional five days that fall between months, bringing the total number of days in most years to 365. Every fourth year an additional day is added after the Summer Solstice. This Holiday is observed by nearly every mortal race and is known as Shieldmeet. This is a day of celebration and revelry. In most cultures it is common for large sets of games, mostly Martial in nature, to be held. These gatherings often bring together folk from far and wide to participate in or enjoy the games and festivities. The seasonal Holidays are:

Midwinter
Greengrass
Midsummer
Shieldmeet (every 4th year)
Highharvestide
Feast of the Moon

A week in Faerun is ten days long and is referred to as a “tenday”. A tenday is also, though less commonly, called a “ride”. The days do not have names, but are instead referred to by number: first-day, second-day, and so on. Most people count using their thumbs as first-day. Halflings, however, are famous for using their pinkies to count first-day, and thus the phrase “counting like a halfling” has come to mean someone is being different just to be difficult. There are 4 seasonal solstices/equinoxes. The days of the solstices and equinoxes are:

Winter Solstice: Nightal 20
Spring Equinox: Ches 19
Summer Solstice: Kythorn 20
Autumn Equinox: Eleint 21

The Months of the year have both official and common names. The common names have sprung up over the years since the original Calendar was formed and were not originally part of the system. They were added later as most folk, especially the peasantry, tended to use the common names exclusively. The months are in order below with the common names in parenthesis:

1 – Hammer (Deepwinter)
2 – Alturiak (Coldclaw)
3 – Ches (Sunclaw)
4 – Tarsakh (Stormclaw)
5 – Mirtul (The Melting)
6 – Kythorn (Flowergrowth)
7 – Flamerule (Summertide)
8 – Eleasis (Highsun)
9 – Eleint (The Fading)
10 – Marpenoth (Leafall)
11 – Uktar (The Rotting)
12 – Nightal (The Drawing Down)

Since the days making up a tenday do not have formal names, if precision is required, the number of the day and the number of the tenday are used. An example is, “the fourth day of the first tenday of Flamerule”. Days of the month are typically written as the numerical date followed by the month name, for example, “15 Hammer” or “15th Hammer”. Informally or poetically this can be spoken or written as “the 15th of Deepwinter”.

Next: Giants and The Ordning

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