Joseph Ebbecke has the honour of being the first reader to ask (in writing) a question about the world of The Eye of the Maker after the publication of Book I. His question:
I clamor for calendars, appendices, glossaries!
Are Sheaftide and Scythetide months or seasons?
Calendars, appendices, glossaries still to come. Be of good hope!
Sheaftide and Scythetide are not months or seasons, they are weeks, like Holy Week or Whitsuntide in our own calendar.
The Pyrandine calendar is divided into quarters by the solstices and equinoxes, each quarter named after the season in which it begins. The last (traditionally) four weeks of the quarter, when the season has moved on as measured by the weather, are indicated by the prefix ‘eft-’ (cf. ‘after’): so eftsummer = the last four weeks before the autumnal equinox, roughly Aug. 24–Sept. 20 in our terms. Each quarter is divided into thirteen named weeks. In an ordinary year, the winter solstice is Yule, the last day of the year, which is not counted as part of any week. (It immediately follows the week called Yuletide or Foreyule). In leap years, Midyear’s Day is also intercalated between the last week of ‘eftspring’ and the first week of the Summer quarter.
This sounds complicated, but it has one particular virtue: Once you have memorized the seven days of the week and the 52 weeks of the year (each in order), you need no numbers to identify any day of the year. So you can talk about Sheaf Sunday or Plough Windsday, for instance, without having to specify any other information. There is no worry about ‘what day of the week is March 13’, or anything like that.
The term ‘month’ is in occasional use as an archaism for the lunar cycle, but the Pyrandine calendar is strictly solar and takes no account of the moon. The reason for this is long and complicated, and tied up with ancient history in which the Moon of that world assumes a ghastly and ominous significance. When people in Mirenna look up at the Moon, they don’t see a Man in the Moon, they see (if they are so inclined) a naked skull; or at any rate a dead world, a memento mori of the ultimate fate of all life.
Here is a handy table of the days and weeks in the Pyrandine calendar, as the names stand at present. (These are of course translations of the authentic terms, and may be subject to some slight change.) The year begins with North Sunday.
Days of the week: Sunday, Monday, Fireday, Windsday, Seasday, Landsday, Starsday.
*Last day of the year: not part of any week.
**Midyear’s Day added in leap years only: not part of any week.