Thursday, December 24, 2009

Coligny Calendar

Just in time for Christmas, here's a neat-o site about the Celtic Coligny Calendar!

That's the calendar at left, or a piece of it, which sits in a museum in Lyons, France. The calendar dates to about the first century, but many experts who've examined it think it reflects computations made a thousand years earlier.

According to this site, last October was the month of Ciallos. I'm just juvenile enough to point out the resemblence of that name to a certain pharmaceutical product, and I should be ashamed.

Ciallos is not a month that occurs every year. The Celtic calendar managed to reflect both the lunar and solar time periods, and it did this by adding extra months every few years to keep us all in sync.

We're in the month of Semiusonna now. According to the Caer Australis site I linked to earlier, this (the 24th) is the last day of the month. Christmas Day marks the beginning of Equos--in 2009, at least. But not all calendrical geeks agree with Caer Australis, I'm sure. In fact, some think the Celts began their months with the dark new moon, while others assume the month began with the full moon...or something in between.

Basically, the Celts divided the year into a dark and light half, the dark half (fall and winter) preceding the light half. The months had dark and light halves as well. All months had either 29 (unlucky) or 30 (lucky) days. It's all very complicated, but what I find interesting is that the big feasts do NOT correspond with the solstices or equinoxes (equinoxi?).

Or am I missing something?

No comments: