The Armenian calendar is the traditional calendar of Armenia whose Era is Julian July 11 of 552 AD. It is a solar calendar based on the same system as the ancient Egyptian model, having an invariant 365-day year with no leap year rule. As a result, the correspondence between it and the Julian calendar slowly changes over time (such as year 761 on 1312 AD Jan 1, year 762 on 1312 AD Dec 31, and year 1032 on 1582 AD Oct 25 = Gregorian Nov 4). Some references report that the first month of the year, Nawasardi, corresponds to the start of Spring in the northern hemisphere, but that was only true from the 9th through 10th centuries. The new Armenian year that begins in AD 2008, year 1458 of the Armenian Era, falls on July 26th at 1:52 Eastern standard.
The year consists of twelve months of 30 days each, plus five extra days (epagomenê) that belong to no month. The days of each month are generally named rather than numbered.
Years are given in the Armenian alphabet by the letters ԹՎ t’v, a siglum for t’vin "in the year" followed by one to four letters of the Armenian Alphabet, each of which stands for an Armenian numeral. For example, "in the year 1455 [AD 2006]" would be written ԹՎ ՌՆԾԵ.
The Armenian month names show influence of the Zoroastrian calendar, and, as noted by Antoine Meillet, Kartvelian influence in two cases. There are different systems for transliterating the names; the forms below are transliterated according to Hübschmann-Meillet-Benveniste system:
|1||նաւասարդ||nawasard||Avestan *nava sarəδa "new year"|
|2||հոռի||hoṙi||from Georgian ori "two"|
|3||սահմի||sahmi||from Georgian sami "three"|
|5||քաղոց||kʿałocʿ||"month of crops"; Zoroastrian Amerōdat̰|
|7||մեհեկան||mehekan||from Iranian *mihrakāna; Zoroastrian Mitrō|
|8||արեգ||areg||"sun month"; Zoroastrian Āvān|
|10||մարերի||mareri||perhaps from Avestan maiδyaīrya "mid-year"; Zoroastrian Dīn|
|12||հրոտից||hroticʿ||from Pahlavi *fravartakān "epagomenal days"; Zoroastrian Spendarmat̰|
The Armenian calendar names the days of the month instead of numbering them, a peculiarity also found in the Avestan calendars. Zoroastrian influence is evident in at least five names. The names are 1. Areg "sun", 2. Hrand, 3. Aram, 4. Margar "prophet", 5. Ahrank’ "half-burned", 6. Mazdeł, 7. Astłik "Venus", 8. Mihr (Mithra), 9. Jopaber, 10. Murç "triumph", 11. Erezhan "hermit", 12. Ani, 13. Parxar, 14. Vanat, 15. Aramazd (Ahura Mazda), 16. Mani "beginning", 17. Asak "beginningless", 18. Masis (Mount Ararat), 19. Anahit (Anahita), 20. Aragac, 21. Gorgor, 22. Kordi (a district of Ancient Armenia considered the homeland of the Kurds), 23. Cmak "east wind", 24. Lusnak "half-moon", 25. C̣rōn "dispersion", 26.Npat (Apam Napat), 27. Vahagn (Zoroastrian Vahrām, name of the 20th day), 28. Sēin "mountain", 29. Varag, 30. Gišeravar "evening star". The five epagomenal days are called Aveleac̣ "superfluous".
Correlation With Egyptian
The Armenian is a derivative of Zoroastrian changes to Egyptian dates. The first month Nawasardi is equivalent to the month Choiak (Koyak), however its first day falls on Koyak 4 so that the first of the five epagum days falls on Egyptian Hatyr 27. This is in contrast to the Zoroastrian calendar where the first month Furvurdeen begins on Koyak 6 because its epagum (Gatha days) begin on Egyptian Koyak 1 as of 388 BC. The month Tir is equal to Egyptian Phamenoth (7th month) as Egyptian midyear; but it is of biblical interest that Armenian midyear (Mareri /Deh) is Egyptian new year month Thoth as if to imply it was at one time the 7th month. Two cycles of 1460 years goes back to July 9 of 2369 BC. -(see WatchTower's Noachian Flood)
Prior to borrowing the Egyptian calendar, the ancient Armenians had a lunar calendar based on a lunation of 28 days.
- Jost Gippert, Old Armenian and Caucasian Calendar Systems in The Annual of The Society for The Study of Caucasia“, 1, 1989, 3-12.
- Louis H. Gray, On Certain Persian and Armenian Month-Names as Influenced by the Avesta Calendar, Journal of the American Oriental Society (1907)
- Edouard Dulaurier, Recherches sur la chronologie arménienne technique et historique (1859), 2001 reprint ISBN 978-0543966476.
- V. Bănăţeanu, “Le calendrier arménien et les anciens noms des mois”, in: Studia et Acta Orientalia 10, 1980, pp. 33-46
- P'. Ingoroq'va, “Jvel-kartuli c'armartuli k'alendari” (“The Old Georgian pagan calendar”), in: Sakartvelos muzeumis moambe (“Messenger of the Museum of Georgia”), 6, 1929-30, pp. 373-446 and 7, 1931-32, pp. 260-336
- K'. K'ek'elije, “Jveli kartuli c'elic'adi” (“The Old Georgian year”), in: St'alinis saxelobis Tbilisis Saxelmc'ipo Universit'et'is šromebi (“Working papers of the Tbilisi State University by the name of Stalin”) 18, 1941, reprinted in the author's “Et'iudebi jveli kartuli lit'erat'uris ist'oriidan” (“Studies in the history of Old Georgian literature”) 1, 1956, pp. 99-124.