m. c. de marco: To invent new life and new civilizations...

Durin's Day

I’ve been rereading The Hobbit on the train, because it’s more portable and durable than my 30-year-old Houghton Mifflin trade paperback edition of The Lord of the Rings, despite being even older (specifically, the 1966 Ballantine revised, “authorized” paperback edition). Yesterday I reached the discussion of Durin’s Day:

“The first day of the dwarves’ New Year,” said Thorin, “is as all should know the first day of the last moon of Autumn on the threshold of Winter. We still call it Durin’s Day when the last moon of Autumn and the sun are in the sky together. But this will not help us much, I fear, for it passes our skill in these days to guess when such a time will come again.”

The Encyclopedia of Arda article on Durin’s Day provides a list of upcoming dwarven new year’s days (September 29th this year—mark your calendars) and the last Durin’s Day (October 14, 2004) but not the next one. I’m sorry I missed that one, so I think I’ll apply some of my extensive and useless calendrical knowledge to calculating the next one.

Most of my useless calendrical knowledge comes from fixing a calendar for my dwarves. While traditionalists on many points, they have not had consistent access to the moon (due to a tragic accident in a shared timeline) so they use a solar calendar. Their access to the sun is not much better, but a solar calendar retains some use even without direct observation. A lunar calendar, troublesome at the best of times, is sheer madness without a corresponding moon.