Coptic calendar

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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, 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.

Fellah A farmer or agricultural laborer in the Middle East and North Africa

Fellah is a farmer or agricultural laborer in the Middle East and North Africa. The word derives from the Arabic word for "ploughman" or "tiller".

Egyptian calendar calendar used in ancient Egypt before 22 BC

The ancient Egyptian calendar was a solar calendar with a 365-day year. The year consisted of three seasons of 120 days each, plus an intercalary month of five epagomenal days treated as outside of the year proper. Each season was divided into four months of 30 days. These twelve months were initially numbered within each season but came to also be known by the names of their principal festivals. Each month was divided into three 10-day periods known as decans or decades. It has been suggested that during the Nineteenth Dynasty and the Twentieth Dynasty the last two days of each decan were usually treated as a kind of weekend for the royal craftsmen, with royal artisans free from work.

The Decree of Canopus is a trilingual inscription in three scripts, which dates from the Ptolemaic period of Ancient Egypt. It was written in three writing systems: Egyptian hieroglyphs, demotic, and Greek, on several ancient Egyptian memorial stones, or steles. The inscription is a record of a great assembly of priests held at Canopus, Egypt, in 238 BCE. Their decree honoured Pharaoh Ptolemy III Euergetes; Queen Berenice, his wife; and Princess Berenice.


Coptic year

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 in length, except in leap years when the month is 6 days. Today, and until 2099, the year starts on 11 September in the Gregorian Calendar or on the 12th in the year before (Julian) 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 Feast of Neyrouz marks the first day of the Coptic year. Ignorant of the Persian language for the most part, the Arabs confused the Egyptian new year's celebrations, which the Egyptians called the feast of Ni-Yarouou (the feast of the rivers), with the Persian feast of Nowruz. [1] The misnomer remains today, and the celebrations of the Egyptian new year on the first day of the month of Thout are known as the Neyrouz. Its celebration falls on the 1st day of the month of Thout, the first month of the Egyptian year, which for 1901 to 2098 usually coincides with 11 September, except before a Gregorian leap year when it is 12 September. 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 .

Nowruz Day of new year in the Persian calendar

Nowruz is the Iranian New Year, also known as the Persian New Year, which is celebrated worldwide by various ethno-linguistic groups.

Thout, also known as Thoth and Tut, is the first month of the ancient Egyptian and Coptic calendars. It lies between 11 September and 10 October of the Gregorian calendar. The month of Thout is also the first month of the Season of Akhet (Inundation) in Ancient Egypt, when the Nile floods historically covered the land of Egypt; it has not done so since the construction of the High Dam at Aswan.

Diocletian Roman Emperor from 284 to 305 A.C.N.

Diocletian, born Diocles, was a Roman emperor from 284 to 305. Born to a family of low status in Dalmatia, Diocletian rose through the ranks of the military to become Roman cavalry commander to the Emperor Carus. After the deaths of Carus and his son Numerian on campaign in Persia, Diocletian was proclaimed emperor. The title was also claimed by Carus' surviving son, Carinus, but Diocletian defeated him in the Battle of the Margus.

Every fourth Coptic year is a leap year without exception, as in the Julian calendar, so the above-mentioned new year dates apply only between 1900 and 2099 inclusive in the Gregorian Calendar. In the Julian Calendar, the new year is always 29 August, except before a Julian leap year when it is 30 August. Easter is reckoned by the Julian Calendar in the Old Calendarist way.

Easter Major Christian festival celebrating the resurrection of Jesus

Easter, also called Pascha or Resurrection Sunday, is a festival and holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred on the third day after his burial following his crucifixion by the Romans at Calvary c. 30 AD. It is the culmination of the Passion of Jesus, preceded by Lent, a 40-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance.

To obtain the Coptic year number, subtract from the Julian year number either 283 (before the Julian new year) or 284 (after it).

Date of Christmas

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.

Rome Capital city and comune in Italy

Rome is the capital city and a special comune of Italy. Rome also serves as the capital of the Lazio region. With 2,872,800 residents in 1,285 km2 (496.1 sq mi), it is also the country's most populated comune. It is the fourth most populous city in the European Union by population within city limits. It is the centre of the Metropolitan City of Rome, which has a population of 4,355,725 residents, thus making it the most populous metropolitan city in Italy. Rome is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, within Lazio (Latium), along the shores of the Tiber. The Vatican City is an independent country inside the city boundaries of Rome, the only existing example of a country within a city: for this reason Rome has been often defined as capital of two states.

Christmas holiday originating in Christianity, usually celebrated on December 25 (in the Gregorian or Julian calendars)

Christmas is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ observed on December 25. as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world. A feast central to the Christian liturgical year, it is preceded by the season of Advent or the Nativity Fast and initiates the season of Christmastide, which historically in the West lasts twelve days and culminates on Twelfth Night; in some traditions, Christmastide includes an octave. Christmas Day is a public holiday in many of the world's nations, is celebrated religiously by a majority of Christians, as well as culturally by many non-Christians, and forms an integral part of the holiday season centered around it.

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).

Aurelian Roman Emperor

Aurelian was Roman Emperor from 270 to 275. Born in humble circumstances, he rose through the military ranks to become emperor. During his reign, he defeated the Alamanni after a devastating war. He also defeated the Goths, Vandals, Juthungi, Sarmatians, and Carpi. Aurelian restored the Empire's eastern provinces after his conquest of the Palmyrene Empire in 273. The following year he conquered the Gallic Empire in the west, reuniting the Empire in its entirety. He was also responsible for the construction of the Aurelian Walls in Rome, and the abandonment of the province of Dacia.

Sol Invictus Late Roman solar god

Sol Invictus was the official sun god of the later Roman Empire and a patron of soldiers. On 25 December AD 274, the Roman emperor Aurelian made it an official cult alongside the traditional Roman cults. Scholars disagree about whether the new deity was a refoundation of the ancient Latin cult of Sol, a revival of the cult of Elagabalus, or completely new. The god was favored by emperors after Aurelian and appeared on their coins until Constantine I. The last inscription referring to Sol Invictus dates to AD 387, and there were enough devotees in the fifth century that the Christian theologian Augustine found it necessary to preach against them.

Northern Hemisphere half of Earth that is north of the equator

The Northern Hemisphere is the half of Earth that is north of the Equator. For other planets in the Solar System, north is defined as being in the same celestial hemisphere relative to the invariable plane of the solar system as Earth's North Pole.

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-Calendrists (using the Julian and Coptic calendars) presently celebrate Christmas on 7 January, 13 days after the New-Calendrists (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.

Date of Easter

According to Christian tradition, Jesus died at the ninth hour (that is, the canonical hour of nona —3:00 pm) of the first full day of Pesach, when that day fell on a Friday; and arose from the dead at or by the first (canonical) hour of the next Sunday. The day of Pesach (Pascha or Passover, 15 Nisan), is always at the first full moon following the northern vernal equinox. At the First Ecumenical Council, held in AD 325 at Nicaea, it was decided to celebrate Easter on the Sunday following the so-called Paschal Full Moon, as for the Christian church to differentiate itself from their Jewish counterparts.

At the Council of Nicaea, it became one of the duties of the patriarch of Alexandria to determine the dates of the Easter and to announce it to the other Christian churches. 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 36514 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.

Coptic months

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.

Coptic Months
No.NameJulian Calendar DatesGregorian Calendar Dates (1900-2099)SeasonName origin [2] [3]
Bohairic Sahidic Coptic Arabic [4]
1ⲐⲱⲟⲩⲧⲐⲟⲟⲩⲧ Thout توتTūtAugust 29 - September 2711 September – 10 OctoberAkhet (Inundation)ḏḥwty: Thoth, god of Wisdom and Science
2ⲠⲁⲟⲡⲓⲠⲁⲱⲡⲉ Paopi بابهBābaSeptember 28 - October 2711 October – 9 Novemberpꜣ-n-jpt: Opet Festival
3ⲀⲑⲱⲣϨⲁⲑⲱⲣ Hathor هاتورHātūrOctober 28 - November 2610 November – 9 DecemberḤwt-ḥr: Hathor, goddess of beauty and love (the land is lush and green)
4ⲬⲟⲓⲁⲕⲔⲟⲓⲁϩⲕ Koiak كياكKiyākNovember 27 - December 2610 December – 8 Januarykꜣ-ḥr-kꜣ: "spirit upon spirit," the name of a festival
5ⲦⲱⲃⲓⲦⲱⲃⲉ Tobi طوبهṬūbaDecember 27 - January 259 January – 7 FebruaryProyet, Peret, Poret (Growth)tꜣ-ꜥꜣbt: "The offering"
6ⲘⲉϣⲓⲣⲘϣⲓⲣ Meshir أمشيرAmshīrJanuary 26 - February 248 February – 9 Marchmḫjr: The name of a festival, perhaps identical with a type of basket used in that festival
7ⲠⲁⲣⲉⲙϩⲁⲧⲠⲁⲣⲙϩⲟⲧⲡ Paremhat برمهاتBaramhātFebruary 25 - March 2610 March – 8 Aprilpꜣ-n-jmnḥtp: "Festival of Amenhotep"
8ⲪⲁⲣⲙⲟⲩⲑⲓⲠⲁⲣⲙⲟⲩⲧⲉ Parmouti برمودهBaramūdaMarch 27 - April 259 April – 8 Maypꜣ-n-Rnnwtt: "Festival of harvest goddess Renenutet"
9ⲠⲁϣⲟⲛⲥⲠⲁϣⲟⲛⲥ Pashons بشنسBashansApril 26 - May 259 May – 7 JuneShomu or Shemu (Harvest)pꜣ-n-ḫnsw "Festival of Khonsu"
10ⲠⲁⲱⲛⲓⲠⲁⲱⲛⲉ Paoni بؤنةBa’ūnahMay 26 - June 248 June – 7 Julypꜣ-n-jnt: valley festival
11ⲈⲡⲓⲡⲈⲡⲏⲡ Epip أبيبAbībJune 25 - July 248 July – 6 Augustjpjp: meaning unknown
12ⲘⲉⲥⲱⲣⲓⲘⲉⲥⲱⲣⲏ Mesori مسرىMisráJuly 25 - August 237 August – 5 Septembermswt rꜥ: birth of Ra
13Ⲡⲓⲕⲟⲩϫⲓ ⲛ̀ⲁ̀ⲃⲟⲧⲈⲡⲁⲅⲟⲙⲉⲛⲁⲓ [5] Pi Kogi Enavot نسيئNasī’August 24 - August 286–10 SeptemberBohairic: The Little Month;

Sahidic: Greek ἐπαγόμεναι < ἐπαγωγή < ἐπαγειν < ἐπι + ἄγειν: to bring in


See also

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  1. Egyptian Calendar of the Martyrs
  2. Černý, Jaroslav (1976). Coptic Etymological Dictionary. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN   978-0-521-07228-1.
  3. Vycichl, Werner (1983). Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue Copte. Leuven: Peeters. ISBN   978-2-8017-0197-3.
  4. Hinds, Martin; Badawi, El-Said (1986). A Dictionary of Egyptian Arabic: Arabic-English. Beirut: Librairie du Liban. ISBN   978-0828804349.
  5. Crum, W.E. (1939). A Coptic Dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 54.