What are the halcyon days? On what date do the dog days begin? What is Hansel Monday? How do Chinese, Muslim, Mesoamerican, Jewish, and Babylonian calendars differ from Christian calendars? The answers to these and hundreds of other intriguing questions about the way humans have marked and measured time over the millennia can be found in The Oxford Companion to the Year.
The desire to set aside certain periods of time to mark their significance is a transhistorical, transcultural phenomena. Virtually all cultures have marked special days or periods: the feast day of a saint, the celebration of a historical event, the turning of a season, a period of fasting, the birthday of an important historical figure. Around these days a rich body of traditions, beliefs, and superstitions have grown up, many of them only half-remembered today. Now, for the first time, Bonnie Blackburn and Leofranc Holford-Strevens combine this body of knowledge with a wide-ranging survey of calendars across cultures in an authoritative and engaging one-volume reference work. The first section of The Oxford Companion to the Year is a day-by-day survey of the calendar year, revealing the history, literature, legend, and lore associated with each season, month, and day. The second part provides a broader study of time-reckoning: historical and modern calendars, religious and civil, are explained, with handy tables for the conversion of dates between various systems and a helpful index to facilitate speedy reference.
The Oxford Companion to the Year is a unique and uniquely delightful reference source, an indispensable aid for all historians and antiquarians, and a rich mine of information and inspiration for browsers.
`Superbly and magisterially surveys man's attempts to order time by measuring it, dividing it neatly and giving significance to its parts.'
'Superbly and magisterially survey's man's attempts to order time by measuring it.' - Iain Finlayson, The Times, 9.12.99
'Never, indeed, have reference books been better produced, more amply illustrated and often more accessible than ever before. A beautiful example is the Oxford Companion to the Year ... the ultimate millennium calendar.' The Express on Sunday, 5.12.99
'Effective ....This is one of the few books you will never get fed up with reading. Focus, January 2000
Part I: the bulk of the book consists of a January-December listing, divided by month and then by day. Each month begins with information, for example etymology of the name and quotations, dealing with the month in general, and each day contains information on holidays and anniversaries, saints and their legends, historical and social customs, and relevant quotations from historical and modern texts. Part I ends with a discussion of seasons,
months, terms, weeks, and days in general, a section on the Western Church and the Orthodox Church years, and finally secular holidays not tied to a specific day (e.g. Thanksgiving).
Part II: a more technical section on calendars, throughout history and across the world, and chronology, including computus.
Series: Oxford Companions
Number Of Pages: 955
Published: 1st December 1999
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 24.2 x 16.3
Weight (kg): 1.51