The modern calendar was devised by an emperor of Shou Lung in ancient times, in order to fix the dates of various annual festivals and holidays. In this, it was very successful and was widely adopted by all the civilized cultures of Kara-Tur by the mid–14th century DR.
The calendar was arranged according to the movements of the Moon and the constellations in the Celestial Heavens, which were maintained and steered by the Moon Women. The standard calendar comprised twelve months, four with 29 years and eight with 30 days, with a total of 356 days in a year. The months, their numbers of days, and the events held during them are as follows:
- Tsou (30 days)
- New Year's Festival; holy day of the God of Heaven; Feast of Lanterns; holy day of the God of Spring; holy day of the God of Wealth; Fertility Festival; holy day of the God of Happiness; holy day of the God of Learning.
- Ju (30 days)
- Holy day of the God of North; holy day of the Goddess of Mercy.
- Yu (30 days)
- Holy day of the God of Central Mound; holy day of the Queen of Heaven; Cherry Blossom Festival.
- Kao (30 days)
- Holy day of the God of Medicine; holy day of the God of South. The first day of a period called Shiang began in this month.
- Kao II (29 days)
- Holy day of the Thunder God; Dragon Boat Festival; holy day of the God of War.
- Chu (30 days)
- Hsiang (29 days)
- Holy day of the God of Fire; Purification Festival.
- Chuang (30 days)
- Moon Feast Festival; holy day of the God of Land and Grain; holy day of the God of Furnace; Great Sage's Birthday.
- Hsuan (30 days)
- Holy day of the Wine God; Yang Feast; holy day of the Polar Gods; holy day of the God of Wealth.
- Yang (29 days)
- Holy day of the God of Disease.
- Ku (30 days)
- Tu (29 days)
- King's Festival.
Other months were also recorded:
- The first day of a period called Matu began in this month.
The calendar included many special feasts, festivals, and holidays celebrated by the many cultures of Kara-Tur. Feasts were causes to gather in numbers and enjoy a grand banquet, or at least an affordable one. Festivals were celebrations that could run for several days, and even weeks. Holy days were dedicated to one or more gods; whether or not they were observed in a community depended on its culture and dominant faith. Where they were observed, they were simple affairs, and were typically a reason for a feast.
Oriental Adventures, page 107, says that the first day of the year coincides with some time in modern-day February or March. These correspond to the months of Alturiak and Ches in Faerûn's Calendar of Harptos.
Strangely, the Kara-Turan calendar has 356 days, whereas the Calendar of Harptos and Earth's Gregorian calendar have 365.25 days, with a leap day added every four years. (It should be noted that Oriental Adventures was printed before the setting was attached to the Forgotten Realms, and this smaller year may have initially applied to a different planet, such as Oerth, which has a 364-day year.) This suggests the Kara-Turan calendar lags behind the Faerûnian calendar 9.25 days each year. How this discrepancy is resolved is unknown; not enough information is given about the calendar in the sourcebooks. It may be the case that the calendar was kept deliberately vague as an aid to game-play. A possible solution is that one or more of the festivals are outside the months and fill up the remaining time, as in the Calendar of Harptos.
Another possibility is that the Kara-Turan calendar is a lunisolar calendar functioning like the Chinese calendar, which also has 29- and 30-day months and a shorter 354-day year, with a leap month added approximately every three years, determined based on the lunar calendar. This is supported by the description of the Kara-Turan calendar being "derived from the actions of Heaven" in Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms, page 25, and by the uncertain date given for the beginning of the year. (It is possible the Kara-Turan calendar was meant to copy the Chinese calendar, but has an incorrect number of 29-day months.) If so, it is possible a leap month, half-month, or other period of time is inserted periodically to correct the calendar. This may have a connection to the 60-year cycles for dates used in Kozakura.
In any case, the setting material does not explain and The Grand History of the Realms, page 4, in converting Shou dates and Wa dates to Dalereckoning, assumes an exact correspondence between the Kara-Turan year and the Faerûnian year. This convention is followed on this wiki.
The Grand History of the Realms, page 24, also presents a proclamation with a Shou date using a new month, Lotan, quoted above. While it is possible that this is the missing leap month, it is also likely to be from an earlier calendar, as the proclamation pre-dates the modern Kara-Turan setting by over 2000 years.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume I). (TSR, Inc), p. 3. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 Gary Gygax, David Cook, and François Marcela-Froideval (1985). Oriental Adventures. (TSR, Inc), p. 107. ISBN 0-8803-8099-3.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 42. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
- ↑ Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume I). (TSR, Inc), p. 25. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.