Ancient Armenian Calendar
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If you heard that this was the year 4,505, would you believe it? According to the often forgotten ancient Armenian calendar—which places its starting date on the day of the legendary battle between Hayk and the Babylonian King Bel—it would be. Haytomar.com is a website dedicated to spreading awareness about Armenia’s ancient calendar, which many Armenians may not have heard of.
“We hope that this website will allow the ancient Armenian calendar to gain worldwide recognition and popularity along with such calendars as the Aztec or Jacobian,” explains the home page of the site. Started by Rouben Sardaryan and Artavazd Eghiazaryan in 2008, or the year 4,500 by the ancient calendar, the website features a converter where one can enter dates from the Gregorian calendar and receive the equivalent date from the Armenian calendar. Users can also find an html code for a ticker that displays the converted day’s date on various online forums.
Also available is a page on the history of the calendar, as well as a list of the names of months and days. The site explains that the calendar was used by pagan Armenians until the adoption of Christianity, and would have been forgotten had it not been researched and documented by the 19th century Armenian priest and historian, the Very Rev. Fr. Ghevond Alishan.
In the Armenian calendar, the seven days of the week were named for the sun, moon, and five known planets at the time. The days of the month, rather than being numbered, were named for pagan deities or for regions in historic Armenia. For example, the date of Armenia’s independence from the Soviet Union (September 21, 1991), would be written as Gor Ani, 4,484. The calendar had thirteen months in a year, twelve of thirty days each and a thirteenth consisting of five days. This format was borrowed from the ancient Egyptian calendar. Although out of use for centuries, the calendar and the site are important for helping Armenians remember their ancient roots.