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In Vilnius Museum of History and Ethnography (now called the National Museum) you can see a small wooden desyatistranichnuyu book with a sharp object cut marks. On each page of the runes carved top and bottom, and in the middle flaunt characters resembling icons. Since the runes are repeated in a series of seven is not difficult to determine what business we have with Runic calendar. At the end of a wooden book lists the date: April 1638. In inscribing the two horizontal lines of runic lines indicate that they are here are basic.
Similar calendars are found not only in Scandinavia but also in England, the islands of the Baltic Sea in Estonia. So-called "Vilnius rune book" - it's probably a copy made in 1857, the originals of which are located in the university library in Kiev. In the book, we can count 356 runic characters, which are repeated at every eighth character and go back to the Danish younger Futhark (only two characters are little changed). This is the number of days per year. Phonetic load of runes here is not important, as perpetual calendar and is suitable for each year.
Dividing by the month here is not observed. In principle this is a frequent phenomenon in the ancient calendars, as in the countryside, it was decided to divide the period between the holidays and the duration of rural work. Particularly important because the middle part of the pages where symbolically marked special days.
There are so many that every third or fourth day, something is selected. In the frequently used icons and Christian paraphernalia. For example, the day of Peter and Paul, marked by a key, and the papal tiara, the day of Michael the Archangel and the trumpet symbolizes balance, the day Clemens - the anchor. Some characters are common to all the runic calendars. The image axes are labeled Siegfried birthday (February 15) and Olaf (July 28). Discarding all more or less well-known name-is still quite a few very interesting characters that can represent the date of natural phenomena, the beginning and end of the rural work. These signs are hidden features of the traditional folk calendar.
Christianity tried to old folk calendar holidays (which are based on astronomical motion of the Sun on the annual range and seasonal cycles of nature) to combine with the holidays church. Since the summer solstice (lit. Kupole, Rasos) was the day Sv.Yana (lit. Jonines). But people have preserved their old traditions and ritualy.Samy longest day of the year marked a flower - a symbol of the sun. It's the beginning of hay, and maybe a holiday pagan deity. On this day bound and Lithuanian name of the constellation Orion - "Sienpjoviai" (Constellation Senokosov) when it during the summer solstice Orion brightly lit on the horizon. Since the flow of life breaks through the tradition of the scope Christianized calendar.
February 24 marked fish, 21 March - a plow, April 14 - blooming twig, April 25 - bull (start of pasture grazing) or cuckoo, May 18 - ears, October 14 - Christmas Tree, November 11 - rooster or duck, December 13 - "grandfather" for the content of the burning logs. Interestingly, these characters are very ancient. Some like them with a calendar marks depicted on ceramics in the II-IV. Slavic tribe glades. Similar icons are also observed in the Estonian calendar. For example, February 24, the Estonian island of Ezel commented calendar as the beginning of Fisheries, April 18 - as the beginning of plant growth. These are close to the value date indicate that all of these calendars were used at similar latitudes in the same or similar climatic ranges.
Above the bottom line is cut the other days of the week runoryad. It is repeated 19 characters. On the day of the week runes upper converge after 1-3 days. New runic alphabet is not enough, because here to add on a few other characters. Every 19 years the processes of the sun and moon are repeated, such as year begins on the new moon (the cycle, astronomers named after the Greek Meton scientist (Metonic cycle), or "Golden Cycle"). So runoryad top "of the runes of the week," said the moon phase. If we want to know the moon phase is a particular calendar date, then we need to open the penultimate page of runic calendar and make some calculations. First we must get a certain number of years in Metonovom cycle. The first of September corresponds to the third rune in the table. So, the calendar is made in the third year Metonovogo cycle. A triple by adding interest to us, and dividing the result of 19, we obtain a number of years Metonovom cycle. Then in the table on the last page we find the "key" to calculate lunar phases, and it will determine at the new moon indicating the rune. The first calendar date on which it will display this rune indicates that the first new moon in January. At the end of a wooden calendar is another runic table of 28 characters. Some runes double, ie, one over the other. Solar cycle lasts 28 years, because the table is not difficult to calculate compliance with calendar dates and days of week. Double runes mark leap year up to March to be considered for the top, and after - on the bottom rune row. The beginning of this note runoryada circle with a dot (the symbol of the sun). The calculations are carried out calculations similar to lunar phases.
Table to determine the lunar phases and days of the week:
I. Key to the phases of the moon;
II.Klyuch to the days of the week;
From this we see that composed the calendar man should possess natural and astronomical knowledge. Pictorial symbols allow us to understand the calendar and illiterate people. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the calendar used for so long (even when the runic script is not used).
Scandinavian (along with Estonian) calendars in a few details are different from the "Vilnius". In the Nordic calendar year often begins with the Winter Solstice, and the "Vilnius' year begins on January 1st. This day marked a drinking horn. Second, the Scandinavian calendars much easier in the visual sense that the characters laconic, almost without ornamentation. In Lithuanian calendar very ICDO holidays. Comparisons show that the Vilnius runic calendar is made up of the northern (Scandinavian) tradition, but it is possible that over time more and more "adapted" in a different region, and other traditions.
Throughout history, the runes were most fully developed in Scandinavia, part of which remained pagan until the twentieth century. Here they are used daily for various purposes - from farmers and merchants label stamps (Bumerker and Merke-lapper) to the church inscriptions and magical formulas for talismans and amulets. Runes also become an integral part of calendars. Scandinavian alphabets first lost eight runes of the original 24, but later the old runes were restored and new ones - are added. These runes are found daily practical use until the late 18th century, had a different order than the elder Futhark and its derivatives. The need to designate the calendar 19-year cycle of solar-lunar calendar has created a special rune row. To the usual 16 Scandinavian runes were added three new ones - two with the phonetic value of the letter "X" and one which sounds like "Y". In various parts of the Scandinavian runes continued to be used in calendars until the end of the eighteenth century.
Circle time, which is hourly and calendar matching the runes Senior Fugarka.
There are also runic calendars, variety "perpetual calendar". In Denmark, they were called rimstokami (from the rim - «Calendar" and stok - «stick"), in Norway, they were called proistavami (from prim - «golden number"). They often looked like a stick or walking stick length from several inches to 5 feet. These calendars were used in Scandinavia, and may have their roots in the distant past, but the earliest date from the XIV century found. Interest is the manuscript of Ole Worm «Computus Runicus», a copy of the manuscript in 1328, which was fully recorded runic calendar. On one side of the designated number from 14 April to 13 October (Nottleysa, «beznochnye days," the summer of Scandinavian calendar), on the other side, respectively, the numbers from 14 October to 13 April (Skammdegi, «short days," Scandinavian winter on the calendar .) To refer to calendar days in rune was originally used iterative procedure of the seven runes. Also, there were nineteen of "golden numbers" to find the full moon. Each of the nineteen numbers noted rune, the numerical value determined by the alphabetical order, and for the three missing numbers were created additional runes: Arlaug designated 17, Tvimaður designated 18, Belgþor designated 19. Holidays designated by special signs. These signs are determined mainly trappings associated with a particular holiday, so, on June 9, Boxing Day. Columbus designated the image of salmon, because according to accept in this day began spawning salmon. April 14, the first day of the calendar summer, the image is denoted by flowering shrubs. November 11, Boxing Day. Martin, the image of a goose designated as St. Martin, when he was elected bishop, he was afraid and hid among geese. At a later period days are denoted by simple dashes, and nineteen of "golden numbers" - numbers or other numeric characters.