OT: Icelandic calendar was Re: What is winter?

Amy West medievalist at W-STS.COM
Sat Feb 20 13:14:26 UTC 2010

Victor posted:
>An Easy Grammar of Geography;  intended as a companion and
>introduction to "Geography on a Popular Plan, for Schools, and Young
>Sir Richard Phillips
>p. 16
>[Also on p. 17 of the 1842 edition]
>  > Sweden and Swedish Lapland about with natural curiosities, and
>with singular and truly sublime scenery. It has only two seasons;
>nine months winter, and three months summer, during which,
>vegetation, is wonderfully rapid.

I'd like to add:
The Icelandic calendar does keep to a basic two season format: summer
and winter. This tradition was laid down very early on -- c. 1100 in
Ari Thorgilsson's Islendingabok: two  equal seasons (ON misseri), and
then those were subdivided into weeks. The two seasons were summer
(ON sumar) and winter (ON vetr). Spring (ON var) and fall (can't
remember the Old Norse for it right now) aren't marked on the
Icelandic calendar: only the first days of summer and winter: April
23 for summer, Oct. 24 for winter. You'll note that those dates fall
between equinoxes and solstices. Spring and fall are subdivisions of
summer and winter, and are mentioned in the ON/OI literature.

---Amy West

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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