The Amenite Calendar is a calendar devised for Amenitism, a constructed religion. The accompanying language and culture are still undeveloped. The calendar is lunar and assumed to be used in a world and year similar to our own. It has twelve months:
|Summēna||5 Midwinter, 17 Freeborn, 19-23 Fifthdays|
|Trīmēna||9, 11, 13 Ghosts|
|Svešamēna||5 Neras, 15 Rose Moon|
|Dešummēna||15 Hunters Moon|
The calendar is metonic, so that in a cycle of 19 years, the years 3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 17, and 19 have 13 months. A leap-year month, second Svešamēna is added to bring the calendar closer to the solar year. The festivals of sixth month occur in the bisextile month in a leap-year. The civic calendar begins on the day of the new moon after 22 June, the southern winter solstice.
Each month consists of two fortnights. The first is the bright fortnight which moves toward the full-moon night. The second is the dark fortnight which moves toward the new-moon night. The first and fifteenth days are known as the 'entry-days', when pious laity join with the priests for special observances. At these times the priests will lead public worship and give scripture talks.
The Amenite Pantheon is hierarchical. At the top is a creator god in heaven, an invisible hermaphrodite diety. Second to god is the goddess who defeated the demons at the creation of the world and mediates between god and humanity. The goddess is highly venerated. Below her are the Holy Ones, an indefinite number of divine beings said to co-exist with humanity, dwelling in places, rivers and elements.
(5 Summēna) a thanksgiving addressed to God for the blessings of life, health, and sustenance and the privileges of social life. Amenites celebrate this day as the birthday of the Prophet. The Man chalked on the midwinter log represents an offering made by fire. The occasion is marked with great solemnity and prayers which include ceremonial lights and candles to bring back the sun and light up the night. Everyone sets off fireworks and firecrackers. Many places celebrate with music, dancing and pageantry. Feasts conclude the celebration. The ceremony commemorating the death of the Prophet is also celebrated with great veneration, and worshippers attend temple, reciting prayers in his honour. Holly and ivy are associated with the Midwinter Ceremony. Trees may be planted on this occasion and fruit shared.
(17 Summēna) a fertility festival characterised by masks, phallic symbols, and singing. An icon is escorted into the community in a torchlight procession including priests of the various schools dressed in gold who make offerings and libations. It is a popular occasion for initiation for freeborn children.
(19-23 Summēna) the first day of this festival commemorates the creation of the goddess. It is proper to wear yellow, and little yellow bouquets are sold at the doors of the temples. Children begin scavenging wood for bonfire night. Acts of penance and offerings are made to the awaking earth to cleanse it of impurities.
The final day marks the goddess's triumph over the demons. The ceremonial trumpets are purified in a festival as the goddess's image is clothed in new robes. The robes are carried on a ship on wheels followed by the people. It is considered a great honour for any girl to be considered worthy of weaving the goddess's robes.
Amenites observe the eve of the last day as vigil. It is believed to be blessing to keep the vigil, even for thieves and hunters active that night.
(21 Dovimēna) a festival for the purification of shepherds and flocks. Its ceremonies are conducted by priestesses. The sheep pens are cleaned and decorated. Sulphur is burned on bonfires so the smoke will purify the sheep. Special offering cakes and milk are presented in temples on the 15th of Dovimēna. The cakes are broken and sprinkled on the bonfires. A lamb is paraded and venerated as an offering to the earth, to protect the flocks and keep them fertile. Shepherds wash themselves, drink the milk and leap through the bonfires, followed by a celebration. Gifts of food are given to friends and to the poor.
(9, 11, 13 Trīmēna) the days that wandering spirits haunt the places of the living. On each of these days the household prepares a measure of black beans. As darkness falls he walks barefoot around the house to scatter these at the entrance of the house and in dark corners as food for the ghosts so they do not carry off living members of the household. A wreath is placed over the door of the house to prevent evil spirits from entering.
(9 Četurmēna) the day the convents are opened for married women to walk barefoot within them to bring simple food-offerings. Offerings are generally made when the crops are in danger. The coming of the rain at this time is vital for the first crops, and temple bells petition God to send rain. Bakers enjoy this day as a holiday. Asses are freed from the tread-mill and decorated with garlands and cakes. From 9 to 15 Četurmēna the convents stand open while they are cleaned. 15 Četurmēna, the Grass Moon, is a working day, when the dirt has been rightly cleared away.
(5 Svešamēna) the celebration of the water deities. These are both loved and feared and their images are painted on either side of doorways of houses, and are propitiated with offerings of milk and puffed rice. At this time entire sheets of serpentine images can be bought, printed in pairs on brightly coloured tissue paper so that they can be affixed to every doorway in the house.
(15 Svešamēna) the priestly day of attonement commemorating the giving of the Three Laws. Priests ritually cleanse themselves of the sins of the past year with ritual washing and the renewal of priestly symbols, and reaffirm their vows.
(15 Dešummēna) the day the Holy Ones return to earth to dwell among humanity so everything must be repaired for them. The festival celebrates not just the return of the Holy Ones but the transformation of life fro m one state to another. Two days beforehand a new pot must be bought and the house swept clean. New account books are begun and businesses close to celebrate their return. The holiday begins with an offering made at the temple followed by a public feast open to everyone, a time of enjoyment, goodwill and license, of present-giving. It is a time of ritual mating and pairbonding. Everyone dresses in holiday clothes and wears the soft cap. Servants are freed from their duties and might even be waited on by their masters and everyone shares in common with everyone else. Each household chooses a mock king to preside over the festivities. As evening approaches each household will put out a lamp in each window to welcome the Holy Ones.
(Turamēna) this festival is a moveable one, held on a day announced by the civic justice early in Turamēna to mark the end of the agricultural year. At a crossroad where the boundary of three or four farms meet, a small shrine is erected, open in all four directions to allow free passage to the ancestors that preside over each farm. At the festival the farmers hung up a plough at the shrine, and also a woollen doll for every free person in the household and a woollen ball for every serf. Serfs are allowed a great deal of licence at this festival, which is celebrated with copious beer drinking.
(13-21 Puramēna) on these days, devout Amenites recite the Hymn of the God in its entirety. Families clean and prepare graves, repainting and decorating them with green branches and flowers and lighting candles on them, this is especially important if a family has lost a member in the preceding three years. The dead are nourished by the food and drink offerings made to them in household shrines. During this period magistrates do not wear the insignia of office, temples are closed and marriages forbidden, although public assemblies may be held.
The third day, the Moon before Midwinter, a festival to secure fertility for the fields, the flocks and the people. The worshippers gather at temple for a solemn offering, then the vettens, or wolfdancers, are smeared with red dye and dressed as wolves and bears. They would then travel through the streets in the company of musicians, especially flautists, collecting coins for their dances, chasing children and whipping non-contributors with their tails.
The last day of this festival is a public ceremony, when a pot containing a mixture of boiled vegetables is carried to tombs for the use of the dead. At the end of the day the dead are banished with the cry, Be gone, ancestors, the festival is over.
Immediately after the Formula Days on the 22nd day of the month a family feast was celebrated to acknowledge the relationship between the dead and living members of the family. It is the custom to garland young children on this day and to open a bottle of wine and share it with the whole household on this day as a libation to God.