by Max Barry

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by The Free Bears of Bears Armed. . 186 reads.

The Urrsish Calendar

The calendar that is normally used for official purposes within Bears Armed (although some religious groups use other calendars, instead, to determine the dates of their special days)is one that was invented here, by a mixture of GreatBear-ist and Ursion scholars working from their own separate traditions’ earlier systems, and that is called simply the ‘Urrsish’ calendar. It was actually developed and adopted during what people using either the ‘Gregorian’ calendar or the latter’s ‘Julian’ predecessor would describe as the 15th century AD, and legislated into use in 1443 AD with its count starting in the year after that, but with the “Year One” from which dates are reckoned actually backdated by 1’024 years to the fifth century AD — to the presumed date of the “Great Awakening”, when the first generation of modern Bearkind’s ancestors became sapient beings — instead.

Like the other calendars that I have already mentioned, this one has three hundred and sixty-five days in a normal year. However, unlike those other calendars, instead of using basically a four-year cycle for ‘leap years’ in order to keep astronomical and calendrical years reasonably coordinated it uses basically a sixteen-year cycle (with the final year, that receives the extra days, known as a ‘luck year’) instead. This means that the Gregorian and Julian dates for the first days of the Urrsish years vary slightly [and predictably] according to the relative positions of the years concerned in those differing cyclical systems. However in order to keep the astronomical and calendrical years in tune the final year of each larger cycle or ‘[]bGreatYear’[/b] of five-hundred-& -twelve [i.e. eight-cubed] years is not a ‘luck year’ as might otherwise be expected.

Years are numbered not from “0” as some people might expect, or from “1” as in the Gregorian and [the Christianised version of the] Julian calendars, but from “1’111” — signifying the first year of the first octade of the first yonkh of the first ‘greatYear’ — instead. A traditional single-digit symbol for the number “eight” is still used in this context, although that symbol has been replaced by those for the two-digit combination equivalent to “one-zero” for most other types of situation. The year 2019/2020 AD is therefore “4188” by this Urrsish calendar.

Although the Bears had already settled on using base-8 numbering by the time that this calendar was designed they still went for a twelve-month year rather than an eight-month one anyhows, both because that seemed more convenient and because it remains closer to the ‘moons’ concept that led to “months” being invented on the first paw… They have an eight-day week, which means that a normal year contains forty-five weeks and five days. Each month is either three-and-a-half or four weeks long, with New Year’s Day — which falls in either late March or early April by Gregorian standards — as an “intercalary” day (i.e. one that isn’t included in any month at all) before the first month’s first day: New Year’s Day is always referred to simply by that name, but is counted as whatever day would have been next in the weekly cycle for determining the name applicable to the day that follows it.

The Urso-English names for the months, and their lengths, are _
Appear (3½ weeks, or 4 weeks in a Luck Year),
Might (4 weeks),
Sune (4 weeks),
Jolly (4 weeks),
AhrrFest (4 weeks),
Sextember (4 weeks),
Eighth-month (4 weeks),
Nonne (3½ weeks),
LongNights (3½ weeks),
DeepWinter (3½ weeks),
Freezilly (3½ weeks),
Marks (4 weeks).

The names for the days of the week translate into English as Sunsday, Moonsday, Tigersday, Owlsday, Pigsday, Rabbitsday, Donksday, and Starsday.

The last ‘Luck Year’ was 2007/2008AD, with the New Year’s Day of the year that followed it falling on 01st April by Gregorian reckoning. This means that New Years’ Day for the year 2019/20 AD fell on 30th March. The day after New Years’ Day in 2019/20 was an ‘Owlsday’.