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The Coptic calendar, also called the Alexandrian calendar, is a liturgical calendar used by the Coptic Orthodox Church and also used by the farming populace in Egypt. This calendar is based on the ancient Egyptian calendar. To avoid the calendar creep of the latter (which contained only 365 days each year, year after year, so that the seasons shifted about one day every four years), a reform of the ancient Egyptian calendar was introduced at the time of Ptolemy III (Decree of Canopus, in 238 BC) which consisted of the intercalation of a sixth epagomenal day every fourth year. However, this reform was opposed by the Egyptian priests, and the reform was not adopted until 25 BC, when the Roman Emperor Augustus imposed the Decree upon Egypt as its official calendar (although it was unsynchronized with the newly introduced Julian calendar which had erroneously been intercalating leap days every third year due to a misinterpration of the leap year rule so as to apply inclusive counting[ clarification needed ][ citation needed ]). To distinguish it from the Ancient Egyptian calendar, which remained in use by some astronomers until medieval times, this reformed calendar is known as the Coptic calendar. Its years and months coincide with those of the Ethiopian calendar but have different numbers and names.
The Coptic year is the extension of the ancient Egyptian civil year, retaining its subdivision into the three seasons, four months each. The three seasons are commemorated by special prayers in the Coptic Liturgy. This calendar is still in use all over Egypt by farmers to keep track of the various agricultural seasons. The Coptic calendar has 13 months, 12 of 30 days each and one at the end of the year of 5 days, or 6 days in leap years. The Coptic Leap Year follows the same rules as the Julian Calendar so that the extra month always has six days in the year before a Julian Leap Year.[ citation needed ]
The year starts on the Feast of Neyrouz, the first day of the month of Thout, the first month of the Egyptian year. For 1901 to 2098 it coincides with the Gregorian Calendar's 11 September, or 12 September before a leap year, but for any year, it coincides with Julian Calendar's 29 August, or 30 August before a leap year. Coptic years are counted from 284 AD, the year Diocletian became Roman Emperor, whose reign was marked by tortures and mass executions of Christians, especially in Egypt. Hence, the Coptic year is identified by the abbreviation A.M. (for Anno Martyrum or "Year of the Martyrs"). The first day of the year I of the Coptic era was 29 August 284 in the Julian calendar. Note that A.M. abbreviation is also used for unrelated calendar eras (such as the Byzantine and Jewish calendar epochs) which start at the putative creation of the world; it then stands for Anno Mundi .
Easter is reckoned by the Julian Calendar in combination with the uncorrected repetition of the 19-year Metonic cycle.
To obtain the Coptic year number, subtract from the Julian year number either 283 (before the Julian new year) or 284 (after it).
Coptic Christmas is observed on what the Julian Calendar labels 25 December, a date that currently corresponds with 7 January on the more widely used Gregorian Calendar (which is also when Christmas is observed in Eastern Orthodox countries such as Russia). The 25 December Nativity of Christ was alleged very early by Hippolytus of Rome (170–236) in his Commentary on Daniel 4:23: "The first coming of our Lord, that in the flesh, in which he was born at Bethlehem, took place eight days before the calends of January, a Wednesday, in the forty-second year of the reign of Augustus, 5500 years from Adam." Another early source is Theophilus Bishop of Caesarea (115–181): "We ought to celebrate the birth-day of our Lord on what day soever the 25th of December shall happen." (Magdeburgenses, Cent. 2. c. 6. Hospinian, de origine Festorum Christianorum). However, it was not until 367 that 25 December was begun to be universally accepted. Before that, the Eastern Church had kept 6 January as the Nativity under the name "Epiphany." John Chrysostom, in a sermon preached in Antioch in 387, relates how the correct date of the Nativity was brought to the East ten years earlier. Dionysius of Alexandria emphatically quoted mystical justifications for this very choice. 25 March was considered to be the anniversary of Creation itself. It was the first day of the year in the medieval Julian calendar and the nominal vernal equinox (it had been the actual equinox at the time when the Julian calendar was originally designed). Considering that Jesus was thought to have been conceived on that date, 25 March was recognized as the Feast of the Annunciation which had to be followed, nine months later, by the celebration of the birth of Christ, Christmas, on 25 December.
There may have been more practical considerations for choosing 25 December. The choice would help substitute a major Christian holiday for the popular Pagan celebrations surrounding the Winter Solstice (Roman Sol Sticia, the three-day stasis when the sun would rise consecutively in its southernmost point before heading north, 21, 22 and 23 December. In AD 274, Emperor Aurelian had declared a civil holiday on 25 December (the "Festival of the birth of the Unconquered Sun") to celebrate the deity Sol Invictus. Finally, joyous festivals are needed at that time of year, to fight the natural gloom of the season (in the Northern Hemisphere).
Until the 16th century, 25 December coincided with 29 Koiak of the Coptic calendar. However, upon the introduction of the Gregorian calendar in 1582, 25 December shifted 10 days earlier in comparison with the Julian and Coptic calendars. Furthermore, the Gregorian calendar drops 3 leap days every 400 years to closely approximate the length of a solar year. As a result, the Coptic Christmas advances a day each time the Gregorian calendar drops a leap day (years AD 1700, 1800, and 1900). This is the reason why Old-Calendarists (using the Julian and Coptic calendars) presently celebrate Christmas on 7 January, 13 days after the New-Calendarists (using the Gregorian calendar), who celebrate Christmas on 25 December. From AD 2100, the Coptic Christmas will be on the Gregorian date of 8 January.
The First Council of Nicaea (325) sent a letter to the Church of Alexandria stating “all our brethren in the East who formerly followed the custom of the Jews are henceforth to celebrate the said most sacred feast of Easter at the same time with the Romans and yourselves and all those who have observed Easter from the beginning.”
At the Council of Nicaea, [ citation needed ] This duty fell on this officiate because of the erudition at Alexandria he could draw on. The rules to determine this are complex, but Easter is the first Sunday after a full moon occurring after the northern vernal equinox, which falls on or after 21 March, which was its nominal date at the time of the First Council of Nicaea. Shortly after Julius Caesar reformed the calendar, the northern vernal equinox was occurring on the nominal date of 25 March.[ citation needed ] This was abandoned shortly after Nicaea, but the reason for the observed discrepancy was all but ignored (the actual tropical year is not quite equal to the Julian year of 3651⁄4 days, so the date of the equinox keeps creeping back in the Julian calendar).
Between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, there are different dates for holidays. In recent years there have been multiple attempts to unify these dates. Some people are skeptical about the success of these attempts. Eastern Orthodox use the Julian calendar while Catholics use the Gregorian calendar. Pope Tawadros, the Coptic pope, and Pope Francis, the Catholic pope, agreed to the proposal to celebrate Easter on the same day. Pope Tawadros's suggested to celebrate Easter on the second Sunday of April.
The following table refers to dates for Coptic years not containing February 29. Such years are preceded by a Coptic leap day at the end of the preceding year. This causes dates to move one day later in the Julian and Gregorian Calendars from the Coptic New Year's Day until the leap day of the Julian or Gregorian Calendar respectively.
|No.||Name||Ethiopian calendar||Julian Calendar Dates||Gregorian Calendar Dates (1900–2099)||Season||Coptic Name origin|
| Bohairic |
| Sahidic |
| Transliteration |
| Arabic |
|1||Ⲑⲱⲟⲩⲧ||Ⲑⲟⲟⲩⲧ||Thout||توتTūt||Mäskäräm (መስከረም)||August 29 – September 27||11 September – 10 October||Akhet (Inundation)||ḏḥwty: Thoth, god of Wisdom and Science|
|2||Ⲡⲁⲟⲡⲓ||Ⲡⲁⲱⲡⲉ||Paopi||بابهBābah||Ṭəqəmt(i) (ጥቅምት)||September 28 – October 27||11 October – 9 November||pꜣ-n-jpt: Opet Festival|
|3||Ⲁⲑⲱⲣ||Ϩⲁⲑⲱⲣ||Hathor||هاتورHātūr||Ḫədar (ኅዳር)||October 28 – November 26||10 November – 9 December||Ḥwt-ḥr: Hathor, goddess of beauty and love (the land is lush and green)|
|4||Ⲭⲟⲓⲁⲕ||Ⲕⲟⲓⲁϩⲕ||Koiak||كياكKiyāk||Taḫśaś ( ታኅሣሥ)||November 27 – December 26||10 December – 8 January||kꜣ-ḥr-kꜣ: "spirit upon spirit," the name of a festival|
|5||Ⲧⲱⲃⲓ||Ⲧⲱⲃⲉ||Tobi||طوبهṬūbah||Ṭərr(i) (ጥር)||December 27 – January 25||9 January – 7 February||Proyet, Peret, Poret (Growth)||tꜣ-ꜥꜣbt: "The offering"|
|6||Ⲙⲉϣⲓⲣ||Ⲙϣⲓⲣ||Meshir||أمشيرʾAmshīr||Yäkatit (Tn. Läkatit) (የካቲት)||January 26 – February 24||8 February – 9 March||mḫjr: The name of a festival, perhaps identical with a type of basket used in that festival|
|7||Ⲡⲁⲣⲉⲙϩⲁⲧ||Ⲡⲁⲣⲙϩⲟⲧⲡ||Paremhat||برمهاتBaramhāt||Mägabit (መጋቢት)||February 25 – March 26||10 March – 8 April||pꜣ-n-jmnḥtp: "Festival of Amenhotep"|
|8||Ⲫⲁⲣⲙⲟⲩⲑⲓ||Ⲡⲁⲣⲙⲟⲩⲧⲉ||Parmouti||برمودهBaramūdah||Miyazya (ሚያዝያ)||March 27 – April 25||9 April – 8 May||pꜣ-n-Rnnwtt: "Festival of harvest goddess Renenutet"|
|9||Ⲡⲁϣⲟⲛⲥ||Ⲡⲁϣⲟⲛⲥ||Pashons||بشنسBashans||Gənbo (t) (ግንቦት)||April 26 – May 25||9 May – 7 June||Shomu or Shemu (Harvest)||pꜣ-n-ḫnsw "Festival of Khonsu"|
|10||Ⲡⲁⲱⲛⲓ||Ⲡⲁⲱⲛⲉ||Paoni||بؤنةBaʾūnah||Säne (ሰኔ)||May 26 – June 24||8 June – 7 July||pꜣ-n-jnt: valley festival|
|11||Ⲉⲡⲓⲡ||Ⲉⲡⲏⲡ||Epip||أبيبʾAbīb||Ḥamle (ሐምሌ)||June 25 – July 24||8 July – 6 August||jpjp: meaning unknown|
|12||Ⲙⲉⲥⲱⲣⲓ||Ⲙⲉⲥⲱⲣⲏ||Mesori||مسرىMisrā||Nähase (ነሐሴ)||July 25 – August 23||7 August – 5 September||mswt rꜥ: birth of Ra|
|13||Ⲡⲓⲕⲟⲩϫⲓ ⲛ̀ⲁ̀ⲃⲟⲧ||Ⲉⲡⲁⲅⲟⲙⲉⲛⲁⲓ||Pi Kogi Enavot||نسيئNasīʾ||Ṗagʷəmen/Ṗagume (ጳጐሜን/ጳጉሜ)||August 24 – August 28||6–10 September||Bohairic: The Little Month;|
Sahidic: Greek ἐπαγόμεναι < ἐπαγωγή < ἐπαγειν < ἐπι + ἄγειν: to bring in
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The Julian calendar, proposed by Julius Caesar in 708 Ab urbe condita (AUC) (46 BC), was a reform of the Roman calendar. It took effect on 1 January 709 AUC (45 BC), by edict. It was designed with the aid of Greek mathematicians and Greek astronomers such as Sosigenes of Alexandria.
A leap year is a calendar year that contains an additional day added to keep the calendar year synchronized with the astronomical year or seasonal year. Because astronomical events and seasons do not repeat in a whole number of days, calendars that have the same number of days in each year drift over time with respect to the event that the year is supposed to track. By inserting an additional day or month into the year, the drift can be corrected. A year that is not a leap year is a common year.
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The intercalary month or epagomenal days of the ancient Egyptian, Coptic, and Ethiopian calendars are a period of five days in common years and six days in leap years in addition to those calendars' 12 standard months, sometimes reckoned as their thirteenth month. They originated as a periodic measure to ensure that the heliacal rising of Sirius would occur in the 12th month of the Egyptian lunar calendar but became a regular feature of the civil calendar and its descendants. Coptic and Ethiopian leap days occur in the year preceding Gregorian leap years.
The March equinox or Northward equinox is the equinox on the Earth when the subsolar point appears to leave the Southern Hemisphere and cross the celestial equator, heading northward as seen from Earth. The March equinox is known as the vernal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere and as the autumnal equinox in the Southern.
The phantom time hypothesis is a historical conspiracy theory asserted by Heribert Illig. First published in 1991, it hypothesizes a conspiracy by the Holy Roman Emperor Otto III, Pope Sylvester II, and possibly the Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII, to fabricate the Anno Domini dating system retrospectively, in order to place them at the special year of AD 1000, and to rewrite history to legitimize Otto's claim to the Holy Roman Empire. Illig believed that this was achieved through the alteration, misrepresentation and forgery of documentary and physical evidence. According to this scenario, the entire Carolingian period, including the figure of Charlemagne, is a fabrication, with a "phantom time" of 297 years added to the Early Middle Ages.
The controversy over the correct date for Easter began in Early Christianity as early as the 2nd century AD. Discussion and disagreement over the best method of computing the date of Easter Sunday has been ongoing and unresolved for centuries. Different Christian denominations continue to celebrate Easter on different dates, with Eastern and Western Christian churches being a notable example.
The Gregorian calendar is the calendar used in most of the world. It is named after Pope Gregory XIII, who introduced it in October 1582.
The adoption of the Gregorian Calendar was an event in the modern history of most cultures and societies, marking a change from their traditional dating system to the modern dating system that is widely used around the world today. Some states adopted the new calendar from 1582, some did not do so before the early twentieth century, and others did so at various dates between; however a number continue to use a different civil calendar. For many the new style calendar is only used for civil purposes and the old style calendar remains used in religious contexts. Today, the Gregorian calendar is the world's most widely used civil calendar. During – and for some time after – the change between systems, it has been common to use the terms Old Style and New Style when giving dates, to indicate which calendar was used to reckon them.
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