The Calendar of Imladris

The Elves of Rivendell used a solar calendar much like our own. A year was nominally 365 days long, with three extra days added every twelfth year to keep the calendar aligned with the seasons. The year began at the Spring equinox, and was divided into six seasons:

Name Translation Length
Ethuil Growing 54 days
Laer Summer 72
Iavas Fruiting 54
Firith Fading 54
Rhîw Winter 72
Echuir Stirring 54

The seasons only total to 360 days, so in every year there were a few days not considered part of any season. These were:

  • Methor Last Day, following Echuir
  • Iestor First Day, preceding Ethuil
  • Three Enedhoer or Middle Days at the Autumn equinox, following Iavas. In every twelfth year, the Enedhoer were doubled to six days.

The Elves observed a six-day week:

Name Translation
Orgilion Star Day
Oranor Sun Day
Orithil Moon Day
Orgaladhad Day of the Two Trees
Ormenel Day of the Heavens
Orbelain Day of the Valar

The Seventh Age

The Reckoning of Imladris has, regrettably, not been maintained since the end of the Third Age, and so while we can still use the calendar to determine the date based on the seasons, it's unclear how years should be counted. A few people have attempted to resolve this conundrum by aligning our own calendar with dates in the Third Age, but that seems to me like the wrong approach if the goal is to convert modern dates to the Elvish calendar. It is no longer the Third Age. As Tolkien wrote in a letter in 1958, I imagine the gap [between The Lord of the Rings and today] to be about 6000 years: that is we are now at the end of the Fifth Age, if the Ages were of about the same length as S.A. [the Second Age] and T.A. [the Third Age.] But they have, I think, quickened; and I imagine we are actually at the end of the Sixth Age, or in the Seventh.

Thus, I've arbitrarily chosen March 22, 1970 as the start of Year 1 of the Seventh Age. This aligns closely with the Unix Epoch of January 1st, 1970, the date from which computers reckon time.