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Thread: Old Norse Month Names

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    Old Norse Month Names

    I am presently reading the Orkneyinga Saga [concerning the lives of the Norse Earls of Orkney - an archipelago off the north coast of Scotland], and was interested to read the following;
    The Founding of Norway
    1. THERE was a king named Fornjot (1), he ruled over those lands which are called Finland and Kvenland; that is to the east of that bight of the sea which goes north- ward to meet Gandvik; that we call the Helsingbight. Fornjot had three sons; one was named Hler, whom we call Aegir, the second Logi, the third Kari; he was the father of Frost, the father of Snow the old, his son's name was Thorburnri; he (Thorburnri) had two sons, one was named Norr and the other Gorr; his daughter's name was Goi. Thorburnri (2) was a great sacrificer, he had a sacrifice every year at midwinter; that they called Thorburnri's sacrifice; from that the month took its name.
    (1) Mythical: Fornjot, king of Finland
    (2) Mythical: Thorburnri, king of Finland
    Translator's note: According to the Icelandic calendar, Thorburnri is the name of the month starting in the third week of January, and Goa is the following month. In pagan times sacrifices were held at the beginning of Thorburnri.
    Was Goa named after THorri's daughter?
    Can anybody tell me the other old names of the months?

    Thorburnri is placed 13/14 generations above the Earls of Orkney who fought [on the wrong side!] in the north of England in 1066, so must have lived around the seventh century - rather too late for the founding of Norge, but such is the nature of legend!

    Incidentally, this struck me too;
    Fornjot had three sons; one was named Hler, whom we call Aegir,
    Aegir the Sea God, yes? What is this alternative name?
    The Celtic God of the Sea [one of em at least] was known in Irish tradition as Mannanan Mac Lir, and this Lir is thought to be the same as the Welsh Llyr [the prototype for Shakespeare's King Lear]. Very odd that the pronunciation of Hler and Llyr should be so similar, and for both to be figures associated with the Sea...

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    Sv: Old Norse Month names

    At "Hler" or "Hlesey" was Aegir's undersea banquet hall.
    Hler is Old Norse for "the sea".

    *edit*
    Here you can read about month and day names in the Viking age.
    Lík börn leika best.

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    Re: Sv: Old Norse Month names

    Many Thanks, Blutwolfin!

    Hler = Sea, eh? Perhaps the Llyr thing is just a coincidence then.
    What kind of word is Hler, though? Is it exclusively poetic, or is it a normal term? Any idea as to the etymology?

    For completion's sake, here's the month list from Blutwolfin's link;
    Month Names
    Oct. 14th - Nov. 13th - Winter Finding (1st winter month)
    Nov. 14th - Dec. 13th - Frost Moon
    Dec. 14th - Jan. 13th - Jól
    Jan. 14th - Feb. 13th - Thorburnri
    Feb. 14th - March 13th - Barren Moon
    March 14th - April 13th - Single Moon
    April 14th - May 13th - Summer Finding (1st summer month)
    May 14th - June 13th - Eggtide
    June 14th - July 13th - Midsummer
    July 14th - August 13th - Haymaking
    August 14th - Sept. 13th - Double Moon
    Sept. 14th - Oct. 13th - Harvest Moon
    These month names are based on the actual Old Norse names for the month or for the blót feast that was held during that month. The Old Norse months began on what was the middle of modern months. Following are my reasons for using the names I present here for the month names.
    Winter Finding: The Old Norse word for this month is gormánuđr. (mánuđr = month) This month was considered the first winter month and it is on Oct. 14th that the blót-feast, Winter Finding is held. For this reason I choose Winter Finding as the name for this month.
    Frost Moon: The word month is derived from the word for moon. Given the importance Northern Europeans placed on using the moon as a guide for time I thought it appropriate to use the word moon in the month names instead of the word 'month.' The Old Norse name for this month was frermánuđr. Frer means frost so the direct translation of this month name would be Frost Month or Frost Moon.
    Jól: The choosing of the name for this month is easily explained as the great Feast of Jól (Yule) falls in it. The Old Norse name for this month was hrútmánuđr or 'Ram-month.'
    Thorburnri: The Old Norse name for this month as Ţorri (Thorburnri) named after the descendent of a giant.
    Barren Moon: The Old Norse name for this month was gói which meant roughly 'barren.' Other sources call this month 'hunger month.'
    Single Moon: The Old Norse for this month's name was einmánuđr or 'single-month.'
    Summer Finding: Like Winter Finding the beginning of this month, the blót feast of Summer Finding or Sigrblót was celebrated. It was the first month of Summer.
    Egg-tide: The name for this month is a direct translation of the Old Norse name for it, 'eggtíđ' (eggtide).
    Midsummer: During this month the great feast of Midsummer or Sun's Wending is celebrated. The Old Norse name was sólmánuđr 'sun-month.'
    Haymaking: The Old Norse name for this month was heyannir which is translated as 'hay-making season' or 'haying season'.
    Double Moon: The Old Norse for this month was tvímánuđr or Double-month.
    Harvest Moon: The Old Norse name for this month was haustmánuđr which is translated as Harvest-month.
    Last edited by Oswiu; Friday, June 30th, 2006 at 09:59 PM.

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