Armenian Nation and Armenian Identity

  • by Western Armenia, May 21, 2024 in Patrimony

Western Armenia TV, in the story-series of "Armenian Nation  and Armenian Identity"  has already managed to present you how we can recognize the Armenian khachkar, why Armenians love pomegranates and who can read the notches. We can talk  long   about it. "Armenian Nation and Armenian Identity" because the Armenian highlands are one of the centers of ancient civilization.This time Western Armenian TV will tell you about Armenian calendar.

The calendar has been used since ancient times, as evidenced by rare archaeological finds, one of which is currently kept in the History Museum of Armenia.

It looks like a  belt, but scientists, studying the signs on it, found out that it is actually a calendar and depicts the division of the year into twelve months. Was found at Sanahin and attributed to B.C. in the 1st millennium.

Two of the rock paintings found in Geghama and Vardenis mountains revealed interesting facts.

The scientists came to the conclusion that they have an astronomical nature and are also a calendar, with the rays and dashes coming out of the disk, they express the periodicity of the changing of the phases of the moon, which was the basis for the compilation of calendars

There are also bibliographical references to the calendar.

A evidence  of Movses Khorenatsi is noteworthy. in his "History of Armenians", Patmahair states that during the reign of the Armenian king Artashes (189-165 BC), paying serious attention to the current calendar, certain regulations were introduced into it.

This fact alone is a clear evidence of the important role the calendar played in the life of Armenians long before our era, particularly in connection with their main occupation, agriculture and animal husbandry.

Armenians started using the solar calendar in BC. From the middle of the 1st millennium.

Like the Egyptians, they also divided the year into 12 months, each of which had 30 days. But because when calculating in this way, one full year lacked 5 days (360 days were obtained), the Armenians, like the Egyptians, added an additional month to the number of months and called it Avelyats. It included precisely those five missing days, with which the year received its completion of 365 days.

We think it would be interesting to know what names the ancient Armenians gave to the months. Here they are. 1. Navasard, 2. Hori, 3. Sahmi, 4. Tre, 5. Qaghots, 6. Arats, 7. Mehekan, 8. Areg, 9. Aheka, 10. Mareri, 11. Margats, 12. Hrotits, and additional month.

As it was not difficult to notice, the names of the months of the Armenian calendar are mostly related to the seasons and the nature of agricultural work.

For example, qaghots is derived from the word "harvest" and is associated with harvesting. Margats originates from the word "margel" (to make a fortune) and symbolizes the time of that agricultural work. The name Hrotits comes from the word "hur" (fire), which is used to define the hottest month of the year. The month names Mehekan and Tre are associated with the Armenian pagan gods Mihr and Tir.

It is obvious that the names of the mentioned months give a certain idea about the Armenian lifestyle, occupations, and worldview in general.

Isn't it clear, for example, that the names of Qaghots and Margats are evidence to the sedentary nature of Armenians, their constant occupation with agricultural work?

It is interesting that the ancient Armenians also gave names to the days of the month, mostly naming them after the names of pagan gods and sanctuaries. We believe that it is nessary to  know those names as well, especially since some of them are also used in modern Armenian.

In the Armenian calendar, the names of the days of the month are: 1. Areg, 2. Hrand, 3. Aram, 4. Margar, 5. Ahrank, 6. Mazdegh, 7. Astghik, 8. Mihr, 9. Dzopaber, 10. Murk, 11. Yerezkan, 12. Ani, 13. Parkhar, 14. Vanatur, 15. Aramazd, 16. Mani, 17. Asak, 18. Masis, 19. Anahit, 20. Aragats, 21. Grgur, 22. Kordi, 23. Tsmak, 24. Lusnak, 25. Tsron, 26. Npat, 27. Vahagn, 28. Sein, 29. Varag, 30. Gisheravar.

The days of Avelyats month also had their names: Luts, Yeghjeru, Paraznot, Artakhuir, Tskravori.

Passing by  the names of pagan gods and sanctuaries, which are self-explanatory, let's look at some less familiar names.

Thus. Parkhar, Mani, Grgur, Kordi, Tsmak, Sein are names of mountains, Tskravori (Hrat), Artakhur (Moon crown or Yerevak), Yegdjeru (name of one of the planets), Luts is the constellation Libra, Nightingale is the name of a star.

There are several etymologies of names. In ancient times, Murts meant victorious, winner (hence the word to compete), Asak - endless, without end, Ahrunk - fear, fear, Margar - a man of the meadow, that is, a farmer, Hrand - fiery land, fiery earth, etc.

The Armenian calendar also expressed the idea of ​​the week, however, according to some scholars, in later times. It is interesting that according to the perception of the ancient Armenians, the 7th day of rest from the creation of the world by God was considered to be Saturday itself ("Sabbath" is a Hebrew word and means rest), followed by Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Later, Sixth Sabbath was called Friday, which literally means "to prepare" (that is, to prepare for the day of rest, which, as we said, was Saturday), and Mishabbath was called Sunday, which literally means "the Lord's day."

In this way, here, in the 4th century, by the decision of the church, in honor of Christ's resurrection, the rest was moved from Saturday to Sunday, which has been preserved unchanged until our days.

One of the features of the Armenian calendar is the dates. From very early times, the ancient Armenians divided the day into 24 equal parts, hours, with 12 hours in the day and the same number in the night. The daytime hours were: garden, spring, angry, radiant, radial, earth-viewing, shattering, fiery, brilliant, membraneous, swift, arpoling.

The hours of the night were dark, dusky, dark, cloudy, voluptuous, quite, pale, beast, dawn, morning, light, shining.

To Be Continued 

The editors of Western Armenia TV would like to thank the employees of the Museum of History of Eastern Armenia for providing materials.

You can also read "Wheel of Eternity" and "Six-winged Star", Carpets, Carpets 2, Pomegranate.