Discworld calendar

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This article is about the counting and naming of years and days on Discworld. For calendar books like the Discworld's Assassins' Guild Yearbook and Diary 2000 see Bibliography, for the commercial items see Discworld Calendars.

General

A Discworld celestial year has 800 days and because of some interesting astronomical facts two of each seasons (two summers, two winters, etc.). This leads to the fact that many people actually do not count the astronomical years, but the half-years with 400 days, often refered to as "common years". The half-year has 13 months, listed below. Each month except Ick has 32 days, Ick has 16 days. Each week has eight days. The eighth day of each week is called Octeday.

There are two main calendars in use on Discworld. The Ankh-Morpork Calendar counts full years and starts at the founding of Ankh-Morpork, the University Calendar starts at the founding of Unseen University (in 1282 AM) and counts in half-years. Oddly enough, while the Imperial Ankh-Morpork calendar offers intellectual purity and mathematical elegance, the general populace tends to use the Weird, Wild, Wacky Wizards' calendar, which happens to correspond to the growing season.

Years and centuries

Centuries and years are named. We are currently in the Century of the Anchovy (Carpe Jugulum). It was preceded by the Century of the Fruitbat (Moving Pictures) and even earlier by the Century of the Three Lice, and the Century of the Cobra (Small Gods).

Notable past years

Months Of The Discworld Year

Or rather, of the Discworld's half-year. The Celebrated Discworld Almanak clarifies previously opaque or puzzling aspects of the calendar. Quote: This be for the Common Year, that being the four hundred days that measure the Season from Winter's Edge until the snows come again, and the Hogswatch is celebrated. All Celestial measurements, Observations and notations of Stars, houses of the firmament, and other divers heavenly bodies are taken on the Full Celestial year, of eight hundred days, which emcompasses two common years...

The year commences on Hogswatch Day and ends on the following Hogswatch Eve.

Special holidays

  • Hogswatch Eve, the end of the old common year.
  • HogswatchDay (first of Ick, start of the new common year)
  • Soul Cake Tuesday
  • Day of the Lesser Gods (?same as below?)
  • Eve of Small Gods, first midsummer day
  • Samedi Nuit Mort (celebrated in Genua)
  • Creator's Birthday (28th of April)
  • Wear a lilac if you were there day (25th of May)
  • Koom Valley Day (5th of Grune)
  • Crueltide, half-year point (end of first half-year, start of next)
  • Alls Fallow, 3/4 point of 800-day year, the one day when witches and warlocks stay in bed (parodying Halloween), though in Wyrd Sisters, Esmerelda Weatherwax suggests that Hogswatch is the one day witches shouldn't go out, though this may only apply to Mistress Weatherwax, since her arrival may cause people to feel wary rather than jolly.

Seasons

  • Spring Prime, first spring
  • Summer : mid-point Small Gods' Eve
  • Autumn Prime, first autumn
  • Winter Secundus aka Spindlewinter : Mid-point Crueltide
  • Secundus Spring
  • Summer Two : mid-point All's Fallow
  • Secundus Autumn
  • Backspindlewinter : mid-point Hogswatch

Discworld seasons are 'explained' in one of four paragraphs in the footnote on page 5 of The Colour of Magic. It is written:

"Since the disc's tiny orbiting sunlet maintains a fixed orbit while the majestic disc turns slowly beneath it, it will be readily deduced that a disc year consists of not four but eight seasons. The summers are those times when the sun rises or sets at the nearest point on the Rim, the winters those occasions when it rises or sets at a point around ninety degrees along the circumference."

Zodiac

The Discworld zodiac consists of 64 (8*8) constellations, nebulae or individual stars grouped in thirteen Houses. There may be other constellations that are not part of the zodiac, but it's possible that the Discworld's unusual revolution means that the Discworld sun and/or moon enters all constellations at least once (the "zodiac" is a list of constellations in which the sun or moon [or planets, but there don't seem to be any around Discworld] can be found at some point in time). Roundworld has 88 constellations (1 of them non-contiguous), 12 of which are in the zodiac (a 13th constellation is also technically in the zodiac, but is not recognized as part of the zodiac). According to research wizard "Numbers" Riktor, who meticulously counted them, there are, or were at the time of counting, 49,873 visible stars in the Discworld heavens. Which is ample raw material for the cosmic Rorschach test that creates constellations.

The Houses of the Zodiac and their 64 Elements :

as described by the well-known mages and scholars Pratchett of Sarum and Pearson of Wincanton
  • The First House - The House of Io
    • The Eye of Io
    • The Crab
    • The Cow of Heaven
    • The (Knotted) String
    • The Celestial Parsnip
  • The Third House - The House of the Bull
    • Silicarous's Gift
    • The Bull
    • Hast's Trumpet
    • Cubal's Flame
    • The Void
  • The Fourth House - The House of Melok
    • Melok
    • Old Toesy
    • Vut the Evenstar
    • Mr Williams
    • Occasional Paddles
  • The Sixth House - The House of the Plow
    • Pashmina
    • The Flying Moose
    • The Pitcher (or Bucket)
    • Plough Handle
    • Okjock the Salesman
  • The Seventh House - The House of the Star
    • The Faint Star Major
    • The Faint Star Minor
    • The Little Turtle
    • The Flagon
    • Ket's Knife
  • The Next House - The House of Woldar
    • Woldar
    • Evar's Footprint
    • The Ram's Horn
    • Two Rivers
    • Young Faithful
  • The Tenth House - The House of Trabnor
    • Trabnor
    • The Lanthorn
    • The Wicket
    • Turnip's Tail
    • The Snipe
  • The Eleventh House - The House of the Horse
    • Teg the Horse
    • The Miller's Pocket
    • Astoria's Flame
    • The Cradle
    • The Sleeping Dog
  • The Twelfth House - The House of Fore and Aft
    • Young Harry
    • Forward
    • Aft
    • Vut's Candle
    • Silur the Catfish

Annotations

  • Wezen the Doubleheaded Kangaroo: the first constellation (interesting because the wizards don't seem to recognize a kangaroo when they see it in The Last Continent-- perhaps because it was flattened and had only one head? Although in fairness you couldn't recognize anything else from it's constellation either, and it's never really obvious what is mythical and what isn't!)
  • The Two Fat Cousins: possible reference to Tweedledee and Tweedledum?
  • The Flying Moose: possible reference to Rocky The Flying Squirrel and Bullwinkle J Moose
  • The Small Boring Group of Faint Stars: Rincewind's birth sign, usually not a wizard's sign. Was much brighter thousands of years ago when the Disc was closer to it (according to The Last Continent), so it's not clear why the ancients called it "faint"; perhaps they knew the Disc would move away from it long-term?
  • The Knotted String: possible pun on "I'm a frayed knot" jokes
  • Gahoolie the Vase of Tulips: the last constellation (now if we could only find that whale)
  • the Triangle, mentioned in The Last Continent, possibly not part of the zodiac

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