hærfest-mōnaþ

hærfest-mōnaþ, m.n: harvest month, September. (“har-vest-mon-ath”)

Kazutomo Karasawa says, ‘These records [i.e. Bede and Old English Martyrology] suggest that the month-name [Haligmonað] is related to the heathen harvest festivals, which are often said to have been held around the autumnal equinox in the latter half of September.’ Ælfric’s Grammar XVIII calls the month of September hærfestmonoð ‘harvest-month’.*

©Photo. R.M.N. / R.-G. OjŽda

September. Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry, by the Limbourg brothers, Barthélemy d’Eyck and Jean Colombe. France, between 1412 and 1416. Musée Condé, MS. 65, fol. 9v. [Wikipedia]

*Kazutomo Karasawa, The Old English Metrical Calendar (Menologium) (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2015), pp. 116-17.

hālig-mōnaþ

hālig-mōnaþ, m.n: holy month, September. (“ha-lee-moh-nath”)

september

Calendar pages for September, from the Hours of Joanna of Castile. Netherlands (Bruges), between 1496 and 1506. British Library, Additional 18852, ff. 9v-10. [blogs.bl.uk]

Further information from Kazutomo Karasawa’s The Old English Metrical Calendar (Menologium) (Cambridge, 2015):

Haligmonð,   heleϸum geϸinged, / fereð to folce,   swa hit foregleawe, / ealde uϸwitan,   æror fundan, / Septembres fær…

—The Old English Metrical Calendar (Menologium), lines 163-67a

Haligmonað comes to the folk as arranged for people, as the prudent, ancient scholars formerly found it, the coming of September…

—translation by K. Karasawa

According to Bede’s De temporum ratione, ‘Haligmonath is the month of religious rituals.’ The Old English Martyrology says that this was the month when pre-Christian Anglo-Saxons sacrificed to their ‘devil-idols’. (Karasawa, p. 116)

Wēod-mōnaþ

Wēod-mōnaþ, m.n: August; literally “weed-month”. (“weh-ohd-mon-ath”)

                                        And ϸæs symle scriϸ

ymb seofon niht ϸæs   sumere gebrihted

Weodmonað on tun,   welhwær bringeð

Agustus   yrmenϸeodum

hlafmæssan dæg.

—The Old English Metrical Calendar (Menologium), lines 136b-40a

And then after seven nights, the summer-glorified Weodmonað always comes to town; everywhere August brings to mighty people Lammas Day. (trans. by K. Karasawa)

The Old English Martyrology says that August is called Weodmonað “because [weeds] most greatly grow in this month”.*

*Kazutomo Karasawa, The Old English Metrical Calendar (Menologium) (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2015), p. 111.

august

A calendar page for August in the Isabella Breviary. British Library, Additional 18851, fol. 5. See British Library post here.

ǣrra līða

ǣrra līða, m.n: the “former Līða” or “first Līða”, i.e. June. (“ar-rah leeth-ah”)

june

From the British Library Medieval Manuscipts blog: Calendar pages for June in the Hours of Joanna of Castile. Bruges. Between 1496 and 1506. MS Additional 18852, ff. 6v-7.

Þænne monað bringð

ymb twa and feower   tiida lange,

Ærra Liða,   us to tune,

Iunius on geard,   on ϸam gim astihð

on heofenas up   hyhst on geare,

tungla torhtast,   and of tille agrynt,

to sete sigeð.   Wyle syððan leng

grund behealdan   and gangan lator

ofer foldan wang   fægerust l[e]ohta,

woruldgesceafta.

—The Old English Metrical Calendar (Menologium), lines 106b-115a

Then after two and four days, the (next) month, Ærra Liða, June, brings long (daytime) hours to town, to our enclosure, during which the gem, the brightest of stars, ascends into heaven above, highest in the year, and descends from its standing-place, sinks to its setting. Then the fairest of lights and of things in this world wishes to behold the ground longer and go more slowly over the earth. (trans. by K. Karasawa)

Kazutomo Karasawa says that the month Liða seems to have covered both June and July, with June called Ærra Liða (former Liða) and July called Æfterra Liða (latter Liða). According to Bede’s De temporum ratione, “Lida is said to be amiable and navigable since, in both of these months [i.e. June and July], the serenity of winds is pleasant and people are accustomed to navigating on plain surfaces of the sea.” The Old English Martyrology says the months are called Liða “because the air and the winds are then mild”. Karasawa observes, “Bede and the martyrologist etymologically connect the month-name Liða (also spelt Lida) with liðe ‘gentle, soft’, liðan ‘to travel, sail’, lid ‘ship’, lida ‘sailor’, etc.”*

*Kazutomo Karasawa, The Old English Metrical Calendar (Menologium) (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2015), p. 105

(You can see my review of the book here.)

þri-milce

þri-milce, m.n: the old name for the month of May, “three-milkings”. (“three-mill-cheh”)

milking

Detail of a miniature of woman milking a cow, who is licking its calf. England, S. (Salisbury?), 2nd quarter of the 13th century. British Library, MS Harley 4751, fol. 23. From The British Library.

                                    Swylce in burh raϸe

[embe syx niht ϸæs], smicere on gearwum,

wudum and wyrtum   cymeð wlitig scriðan

Þrymilce on tun;   ϸearfe bringeð

Maius micle   geond menigeo gehwær.

—The Old English Metrical Calendar (Menologium), lines 75b-79

Likewise, after six nights, beautiful Þrymylce comes gliding quickly into the citadel, into town, elegantly clad in adornments, woods and plants; May brings much of what is needed among a multitude of people everywhere. (trans. by K. Karasawa)

According to Bede’s De temporum ratione, May “used to be called Thrimilchi because in that month cows were milked three times a day, such was the fertility of Britain or Germania, from which the nation of the Angles migrated to Britain” (Karasawa, p. 101).

See Kazutomo Karasawa’s The Old English Metrical Calendar (Menologium) (Cambridge, 2015).