The Sacred Calendar

Ancient Armenian timekeeping followed a lunisolar pattern, like many of the near eastern cultures of antiquity, most notably the ancient Egyptian. The Armenian year was divided into 12 months of 30 days each, with 5+ intercalary days (avelyats) at the close of the old year and beginning of the new. Because this system does not consider the extra 1/4 day of the 365 day solar cycle, it takes about 1460 years for it to realign with our modern calendar. It is believed that the first recorded date began with August 11 (approximately aligned with the heliacal rising of the constellation Orion) in the year 2492 BCE. This is said to be the date Hayk, the deified king of the first Armenians, defeated the Babylonian King Bel and thus established Navasard as the new beginning of the solar year. In the early Christian era, the Armenian calendar was reintroduced in 552 CE to establish accurate ongoing dates for liturgical holidays.  


The named months and days of the Armenian calendar as we know it show strong influences from its neighboring Persian and Georgian cultures. Months (solar) are named after festivals and seasonal customs, and the 30 days of each month are named rather than numbered. There was also known to be a seven day week (lunar time) named after the seven planets:


1. Aregaki - Sunday

2. Lousni - Monday

3. Hradi - Tuesday

4. Paylatsoui - Wednesday

5. Lousntagi - Thursday

6. Arousyaki - Friday

7. Yerevaki - Saturday


According to one source, nine of the months were named by Hayk after his sons (4, 5, 6, 12) and daughters (1, 2, 3, 8, 10). The names of the 13 months (12 solar months + avelyats, 5-6 days):


1. Navasard: August 11- September 9

2. Hori: September 10-October 9

3. Sah'mi: October 10-November 8

4. Tre: November 9-December 8

5. Khagots: December 9-January 7

6. Arats: January 8-February 6

7. Mehekan: February 7-March 8

8. Areg: March 9-April 7

9. Ahekan: April 8-May 7

10. Mareri: May 8-June 6

11. Margats: June 7-July 6

12. Hratits: July 7-August 5

13. Avelyats: August 6-10

An Ancient Armenian Wheel of the Year

To see the symbol key to the calendar wheel pictured above, go to Rituals and Traditions. The names of the days of the month reflect deities, regions, elements, mountains, and other qualities:


1. Areg (sun)

2. Hrand (earth mixed with fire)

3.  Aram

4. Margar (prophet)

5. Ahrank (half-burned)

6. Mazdegh


8. Mihr

9. Dzopaber (tumultuous)

10. Mourts (triumph)

11. Yerezkan (hermit)

12. Ani (ancient capital city)

13. Parkhar

14. Vanatur

15. Aramazd

16. Mani (beginning)

17. Asak (beginningless)

18. Masis (Mt Ararat)


20. Aragats (Mt Aragats)

21. Grgor (a mountain)

22. Korduik

23. Tsmak (east wind)

24. Lousnak (half moon)

25. Tsron (dispersion)

26. Npat

27. Vahagn

28. Sis (a mountain)

29. Varag (a mountain)

30. Gisheravar (evening star)