Coptic calendar

Last updated

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.

Contents

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 .

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.

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.

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-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.Name Ethiopian calendar Julian Calendar DatesGregorian Calendar Dates (1900–2099)SeasonCoptic Name origin [2] [3]
Bohairic
Coptic
Sahidic
Coptic
Transliteration
of Coptic
Arabic [4]
Pronunciation
1ⲐⲱⲟⲩⲧⲐⲟⲟⲩⲧ Thout توتTūtMäskäräm (መስከረም)August 29 – September 2711 September – 10 OctoberAkhet (Inundation)ḏḥwty: Thoth, god of Wisdom and Science
2ⲠⲁⲟⲡⲓⲠⲁⲱⲡⲉ Paopi بابهBābahṬəqəmt(i) (ጥቅምት)September 28 – October 2711 October – 9 Novemberpꜣ-n-jpt: Opet Festival
3ⲀⲑⲱⲣϨⲁⲑⲱⲣ Hathor هاتورHātūrḪədar (ኅዳር)October 28 – November 2610 November – 9 DecemberḤwt-ḥr: Hathor, goddess of beauty and love (the land is lush and green)
4ⲬⲟⲓⲁⲕⲔⲟⲓⲁϩⲕ Koiak كياكKiyākTaḫśaś ( ታኅሣሥ)November 27 – December 2610 December – 8 Januarykꜣ-ḥr-kꜣ: "spirit upon spirit," the name of a festival
5ⲦⲱⲃⲓⲦⲱⲃⲉ Tobi طوبهṬūbahṬərr(i) (ጥር)December 27 – January 259 January – 7 FebruaryProyet, Peret, Poret (Growth)tꜣ-ꜥꜣbt: "The offering"
6ⲘⲉϣⲓⲣⲘϣⲓⲣ Meshir أمشيرʾAmshīrYäkatit (Tn. Läkatit) (የካቲት)January 26 – February 248 February – 9 Marchmḫjr: The name of a festival, perhaps identical with a type of basket used in that festival
7ⲠⲁⲣⲉⲙϩⲁⲧⲠⲁⲣⲙϩⲟⲧⲡ Paremhat برمهاتBaramhātMägabit (መጋቢት)February 25 – March 2610 March – 8 Aprilpꜣ-n-jmnḥtp: "Festival of Amenhotep"
8ⲪⲁⲣⲙⲟⲩⲑⲓⲠⲁⲣⲙⲟⲩⲧⲉ Parmouti برمودهBaramūdahMiyazya (ሚያዝያ)March 27 – April 259 April – 8 Maypꜣ-n-Rnnwtt: "Festival of harvest goddess Renenutet"
9ⲠⲁϣⲟⲛⲥⲠⲁϣⲟⲛⲥ Pashons بشنسBashansGənbo (t) (ግንቦት)April 26 – May 259 May – 7 JuneShomu or Shemu (Harvest)pꜣ-n-ḫnsw "Festival of Khonsu"
10ⲠⲁⲱⲛⲓⲠⲁⲱⲛⲉ Paoni بؤنةBaʾūnahSäne (ሰኔ)May 26 – June 248 June – 7 Julypꜣ-n-jnt: valley festival
11ⲈⲡⲓⲡⲈⲡⲏⲡ Epip أبيبʾAbībḤamle (ሐምሌ)June 25 – July 248 July – 6 Augustjpjp: meaning unknown
12ⲘⲉⲥⲱⲣⲓⲘⲉⲥⲱⲣⲏ Mesori مسرىMisrāNähase (ነሐሴ)July 25 – August 237 August – 5 Septembermswt rꜥ: birth of Ra
13Ⲡⲓⲕⲟⲩϫⲓ ⲛ̀ⲁ̀ⲃⲟⲧⲈⲡⲁⲅⲟⲙⲉⲛⲁⲓ [5] Pi Kogi Enavot نسيئNasīʾṖagʷəmen/Ṗagume (ጳጐሜን/ጳጉሜ)August 24 – August 286–10 SeptemberBohairic: The Little Month;

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

Literature

See also

Related Research Articles

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.

Intercalation or embolism in timekeeping is the insertion of a leap day, week, or month into some calendar years to make the calendar follow the seasons or moon phases. Lunisolar calendars may require intercalations of both days and months.

The Julian calendar, proposed by Julius Caesar in 708 Ab urbe condita (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 containing an additional day added to keep the calendar year synchronized with the astronomical or seasonal year. Because seasons and astronomical events 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 called a common year.

New Year First day of a calendar year, in particular, January 1 in the Julian and Gregorian calendar

New Year is the time or day at which a new calendar year begins and the calendar's year count increments by one.

The Revised Julian calendar, also known as the Milanković calendar, or, less formally, new calendar, is a calendar proposed by the Serbian scientist Milutin Milanković in 1923, which effectively discontinued the 340 years of divergence between the naming of dates sanctioned by those Eastern Orthodox churches adopting it and the Gregorian calendar that has come to predominate worldwide. This calendar was intended to replace the ecclesiastical calendar based on the Julian calendar hitherto in use by all of the Eastern Orthodox Church. From 1 March 1600 through 28 February 2800, the Revised Julian calendar aligns its dates with the Gregorian calendar, which was proclaimed in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII for adoption by the Christian world. The calendar has been adopted by the Orthodox churches of Constantinople, Albania, Alexandria, Antioch, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, and Romania.

A reform of the date of Easter has been proposed several times because the current system for determining the date of Easter is seen as presenting two significant problems:

A solar calendar is a calendar whose dates indicate the season or almost equivalently the apparent position of the Sun relative to the stars. The Gregorian calendar, widely accepted as standard in the world, is an example of a solar calendar. The main other type of calendar is a lunar calendar, whose months correspond to cycles of Moon phases. The months of the Gregorian calendar do not correspond to cycles of Moon phase.

New Years Day Holiday

New Year's Day, also simply called New Year, is observed on 1 January, the first day of the year on the modern Gregorian calendar as well as the Julian calendar.

Zoroastrian calendar Religious calendars

Adherents of Zoroastrianism use three distinct versions of traditional calendars for liturgical purposes, all derived from medieval Iranian calendars, ultimately based on the Babylonian calendar as used in the Achaemenid empire. "Qadimi" ("ancient") is a traditional reckoning introduced in 1006. "Shahanshahi" ("imperial") is a calendar reconstructed from the 10th-century text Denkard. "Fasli" is a term for a 1906 adaptation of the 11th-century Jalali calendar, following a proposal by Kharshedji Rustomji Cama made in the 1860s.

The computus is a calculation that determines the calendar date of Easter. Because the date is based on an ecclesiastical or paschal "equinox" date rather than the actual astronomical equinox, there are differences between calculations done according to the Julian calendar and the modern Gregorian calendar. The name has been used for this procedure since the early Middle Ages, as it was considered the most important computation of the age.

Swedish calendar used in Sweden and Finland between 1700 and 1712

The Swedish calendar or Swedish style was a calendar in use in Sweden and its possessions from 1 March 1700 until 30 February 1712. It was one day ahead of the Julian calendar and ten days behind the Gregorian calendar. Easter was calculated nominally astronomically from 1740 to 1844.

The Ethiopian calendar or Eritrean calendar is the principal calendar used in Ethiopia and also serves as the liturgical year for Christians in Eritrea and Ethiopia belonging to the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church, Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, Eastern Catholic Churches, the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, and P'ent'ay Churches. The Ethiopian calendar is a solar calendar which in turn derives from the Egyptian calendar, but like the Julian calendar, it adds a leap day every four years without exception, and begins the year on August 29 or August 30 in the Julian calendar. A gap of seven to eight years between the Ethiopian and Gregorian calendars results from an alternative calculation in determining the date of the Annunciation.

<i>Inter gravissimas</i> papal document that established the Gregorian calendar

Inter gravissimas was a papal bull issued by Pope Gregory XIII on February 24, 1582. The document, written in Latin, reformed the Julian calendar. The reform came to be regarded as a new calendar in its own right and came to be called the Gregorian calendar, which is used in most countries today.

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.

March equinox the equinox on the earth when the Sun appears to leave the southern hemisphere and cross the celestial equator

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 Gregorian calendar is the calendar used in most of the world. It is named after Pope Gregory XIII, who introduced it in October 1582.

A perennial calendar is a calendar that applies to any year, keeping the same dates, weekdays and other features.

References

  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   978-0-8288-0434-9.
  5. Crum, W.E. (1939). A Coptic Dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 54.