The Calendar of Einwimz is derived from sources both lunar and terrestrial. The current year (as of the publication of volume C of this encyclopedia) is 1602, the encyclopedia having been commissioned to mark the beginning of the 16th century; at the current pace of production, each fascicle of the first edition (each containing the entries belonging to one letter) has taken one year to produce.
The significance of the epoch of the Einwimz Calendar is a matter of scholarly debate. Most historians (a plurality, if not a majority) believe that there is no significance: year 0 was simply the year in which the Grand Froohlahlah first thought of counting each year as it passed. A smaller minority believe that it is the year either of birth or of death of the legendary leader Edgar the Excellent, but since it is not even certain that Edgar is not merely a myth, this theory is not universally well-received, let alone accepted. Other theories exist, but these are the best-known.
Operation and origins of the calendar
Years in Einwimz are measured horticulturally. Each winter, the first snowdrop sighted marks the start of the new year; whoever encounters a snowdrop before the new year has been announced is required to report it to the Guild of Ancyent Snowdrop Worshippers, whose sole function is to certify the growth of the flower and thus announce the new year. The person reporting the first snowdrop is awarded a lifetime supply of the best rum; whoever sees a snowdrop and does not report it is liable to a fine of 500ƒ (or an equivalent in local currency), or imprisonment.
This measurement of years is a tradition stemming from the floral calendar built in the Castle Gardens of Lorenfall. The flowerbeds were completely bare for approximately one month per year, and this time was used for public holidays and celebrations throughout the land; when the snowdrops grew, the holidays were over. Once years became numbered, the snowdrops marked the time of the increase in the year number.
Initially there was no formal measurement of months, save for the progression in the growth and blooming of flowers around the floral clock; thus in very old governmental documents one may find specific dates referenced as ‘in the year 372, 2 days after the first daffodils’. However, announcements of the growth of such flowers were not generally promulgated and so in non-governmental documents days are generally simply numbered started from the blooming of the snowdrop, as in ‘on the 233rd day of the year 355’. The librarians of the Second Presidential Library have recently commissioned a group of historians to calculate the exact blooming times of each flower in each year so that researchers may make exact day-by-day comparisons between civic and governmental documents; the results of this research are expected to be published between 1615 and 1620.
Eventually a smaller division of the year was required and so the blooming of the snowdrop was correlated with observations of the moon: the Calendar Reform Law of 767 stipulated that the holiday time from thus forth would be at the start of each new year; and that it would last either until the next full moon or the next new moon, whichever was sooner after at least 5 days of holiday. Thus there are now two types of year in Einwimz: full-moon years, in which each month is measured from the first full moon; and new-moon years, in which each month is measured from the first new moon. These are about equally as common.
The reforms were extremely popular, despite the significantly shorter holiday time (from a record length of 40 days, and an average of 25 days (dependent on the length between the death of the last flower in the Castle Garden Floral Calendar and the arrival of the snowdrops), to today's minimum of 5 days and maximum of 29 days, with the average being around 16 days). They turned the arrival of the snowdrop from a time of sadness that the holiday was over to a time of joy that the holidays had begun. Within 15 years (by at least 781) a further reform law had been enacted, which removed the special status of the Castle Garden as the source of the first annual snowdrop and allowed the new year to be measured from the bloom of any snowdrop in the land, creating it a tradition for every Einwimzian to spend the last few weeks of work time searching hopefully for a snowdrop.
The number of months per year is variable because it is never exactly certain when the first snowdrop will be seen. However, most years have 16 months; there exist official names for up to 18 per year, though the 18th is rarely used.
(Ed. note: The names of months varies between language. For most months the names have identical meanings; in some cases, however, regional differences exist and translation can be quite tricky. The names below are translations of those used in official documents by the Government of the Federation.)
- North Month
- Wind Month
- Cloud Month
- Sea Month
- West Month
- Man Month
- Sun Month
- Hot Month
- South Month
- Crown Month
- Gold Month
- Earth Month
- Fire Month
- East Month
- Death Month
- End Month
- Really End Month
- Actually Really End Month
Proposals for further reform
Recently developed observations of the stars, sun, and moon suggest that it may be possible to develop a new calendar which does not depend on terrestrial factors which change every year, and yet have the measurement remain roughly in sync with the weather and seasons. The Journal of Calendrical Studies recently dedicated a special issue to reform proposals based around these discoveries; however, it remains to be seen whether the issue will be taken up by enough local governments to be enacted across Einwimz. The popularity of snowdrop hunting and new-year's feasting is likely to act as a significant retardant on popular support for any such proposal.