Today we seem to deal with dates in a straightforward way. A year has 12 months and 365 days or, if we have a leap year, 366 days. The names of the months are no secret. There are 52 weeks, and each week has seven days. Writing a date in the German language would be done in the following sequence: day/month/year. Well, so far nothing special. However, going back in time, things are not that easy.
What do you do, for example, when you try to enter into your program “Lupus ep Lugdun” and your computer does not accept such a date? What is going on? In early German Church records, pastors chose “special” names for certain dates. This was especially true when a christening, marriage or burial fell on a Sunday or a feast day. The church year has fixed and movable feast days. Christmas day has a fixed date. It always falls on December 25th of each year. Easter, on the other hand, is a moveable feast day. It is the Sunday of the first full moon in spring, and seven Sundays later is Pentecost. Easter could be on 35 possible days between March 22nd and April 25th.
If there is a Sunday between New Years Day and the 6th of January (Epiphany), that Sunday is called “Domini post Circumcisio,” then follow the first to sixth Sundays after Epiphany, which are called “1. Epiphanis,” “2. Epiphanis,”etc. After that, all successive Sundays have fixed names, until the first Sunday after Pentecost, which is called “Trinitatis.” Then follow from 22 to 27 Sundays called Trinitatis, depending on the Easter date.
There are other German holidays which are movable, such as Gründonnerstag, also known as “Dies viridum” or “Cena domini,” and Karfreitag, known as “Stiller Freitag” or “Parasceven.” As a German researcher, you should also be aware of Latinized calendar versions, in which the months of September, October, November, and December appear as 7bris, 8bris, 9bris, and 10bris or Xbris. German scribes also had to deal with the French Calendar, a whole new system of calendaring.
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