September 2018 Letter
With the beginning of the new Coptic year 1735 AM., let’s learn the origin and meaning of the Coptic months from an article by H.G. Bishop Gregorious may God repose his sole:
Although we start the new Coptic year on the first of Tut, yet the Coptic calendar is much older than that of the martyrs. The Coptic calendar is even older than the western by many centuries, for the ancient Egyptians were the ones who started the calendar and divided the year into 12 months and made each month 30 days. It is well known that the Coptic – or ancient Egyptian – calendar goes back to the year 4241 B.C.
The Coptic or ancient Egyptian calendar is different than the western one in its starting point. While the western took the sun as their basis of calculation, the Coptic did not (they used the bright star Sirius as the basis of calculation), although the Egyptians were very aware of the sun; they even honored and glorified it as a lord or god.
As for the names of the Coptic months, they are mostly names of ancient Egyptians gods that they worshiped:
- The month of “Tut” was named after the Egyptian god “Thoth”, the god of knowledge and scribing, and the Egyptian scholar who set the calendar.
- As for “Babah” which is the second month, it was most probably named after “Hapi” the god of the Nile.
- “Hatour” is the name of the Egyptian goddess “Hathor” the goddess of love and beauty.
- As for “Kiahk”, it is said was named after the god of goodness.
- “Tubah” is said to be after the god of rain, and from it was driven the name the city of “Theba” which is known nowadays to be close to the city of Luxor in Upper Egypt.
- “Amshir” is said to be the name of god of devils, because of the many gusty winds during this month.
- “Baramhat” was named after the god of heat.
- “Barmoudah” is said to be the god of death, which is “Renenutet” the sacred cobra.
- “Bashans” which is also called “Bakhun” the son of “Mut” the mother goddess.
- As for “Baunah”, its name means “stone”, and is said to be the god of metals, considering that metals during this month are leveled because of the severe heat.
- And “Abib” is said to be god of joy.
- “Misra” means “son of sun”, celebrating the birth of the sun.
We are proud of our Coptic heritage and the precise calendar that our ancestors designed thousands of years ago.
May the blessing of St. Mary, St. Mercurius and all the martyrs be with us all. Amen.