Liturgical Year

The modern Western calendar doesn’t reflect the year as it was seen by our ancestors, which is part of the reason the dating of holy days, plus the shifting of seasonal events, can be a bit of a challenge. For the religious year, I calculate the year by Runic Era (RE) instead of by Common Era (CE). To figure the Runic Era year, add 250 years to the current Common Era year. This date is derived from the approximate time in which the oldest known piece of jewelery containing an early runic script was made.

The old months don’t quite line up with the common Gregorian calendar but we can approximate the beginning of the months recorded in the Icelandic sagas. Historically, the Old Norse calendar was made up of 12 months of 30 days each, with an extra four days in the middle of summer, called Sumarauki, with an extra week added to Sumarauki every 5 or 6 Gregorian years to adjust for Leap Years. The months also always started on the same day of the week every year. For simplicity’s sake, I just use the current Gregorian calendar but I use the Old Swedish names of the months instead of the better known Old Icelandic month names. They also seem to fit better with the seasonal cycles I live with. You can see the current date according to the Old Icelandic calendar here.

Old Swedish Month Names

Modern NameOld Swedish NameMeaning
JanuaryTorsmånad / TorremånadThor's month / Thorri's month
FebruaryGöjemånadGói's month
MarchVårmånadSpring month
AprilGräsmånadGrass month
MayBlomstermånadFlower month
JuneSommarmånadSummer month
JulyHömånadHay month
AugustSkördemånadHarvest month
SeptemberHöstmånadAutumn month
OctoberSlaktmånadSlaughter month
NovemberVintermånadWinter month
DecemberJulmånadYule month