Given that my path draws from multiple cultures, it follows that my calendar would too. I draw from three ancient calendar systems, as well as the calendar of my own culture.
I use the modern Gregorian calendar as my base; it is the calendar I was raised with, and the one I use every day of my life. It doesn’t make sense for me to try to separate my religious calendar into something else- not only would it be deeply confusing, since I draw from more than one ancient calendar, it’d be putting a barrier between my life and my faith, separating it out unnecessarily. Similarly, my days begin and end at midnight, and not the sunset as it was reckoned in many ancient cultures. That said, I do keep track of what day it is in the ancient calendars I draw from, as you can see on the main festival calendar page; it helps me get a better sense of the progression of time, and where the months and observances generally sit in the year.
So where do my holydays come from, then? Several are of my own creation, with little or no historical precedent. You are more than welcome to mark them if they speak to you, or adapt them into something that fills a different need! (I’d love to hear about it.) Some of my observances are US holidays; I am also poking at relevant holidays from the nations my ancestors came from. The rest of my holydays come from the ancient Greeks, the ancient Egyptians, and the ancient Irish Celts.
As the Attic/Athenian calendar is the Hellenic calendar to have survived the best, it is my primary source. It is a lunisolar calendar, and their year began on the first new moon after the summer solstice. It is mostly a pleasantly straightforward lunar calendar, with months of 29-30 days. I do use one month name from the Boetian calendar, exchanging Hermaios for Poseideon, due to an informal geis against working with/in honor of Poseidon. (One might find a parallel in “building a fence around the Torah”.) Additionally, I calculate any necessary intercalary days at the end of the year, instead of repeating Hermaios. I am not overly concerned that anyone will be offended by my mucking about with the calendar, as the ancient Greeks did it all the time. I’ve not drawn any holydays from other Hellenic calendars, but I may in the future.
To call the ancient Egyptian calendars a headache to deal with is an understatement. Like the ancient Greeks, different places in Egypt had their own calendars, which changed over time. Additionally, they utilized a lunisolar calendar, with months of 29-30 days, as well as a fixed 30 days per month civic calendar, which shared the same month names. In an effort to simplify, I use the fixed 30 day calendar for all holyday dates that do not have an obvious lunar cycle point attached to them. The new year begins with the local heliacal rising of Sopdet/Sirius, which can vary more than a week by geographical location; I calculate from my hometown, as the Egyptians would have. Therefore all Kemetic dates are local to me in North Carolina. Finally, the Egyptians do not appear to have named their months until the Middle Kingdom, previously numbering the months in each season; this is the standard presentation of dates in the modern Kemetic community, so that’s what I stick with.
Finally, the ancient Irish. The Celts left little behind; the Coligny calendar is Gaulish, from the continent, and has not been fully translated. Several versions of tree or animal calendars have been produced, but these are all extremely modern creations, with no historical foundations. Given that there is so little surviving material, historical Irish Celtic holydays are unsurprisingly the least represented on my calendar. I do intend to adapt some traditional and folk holidays for my calendar in the future, though nothing with strong Christian themes (like Saints’ days).
If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to say hello! I love talking calendar stuff.