Heyannir, or Hay Work, was the 10th month of the year, according to the Old Icelandic Calendar. It was also the 4th summer month. The month’s name describes what farm work had to be done that month.
Nordic and Northern European people used the Norse calendar until Christianity took over. However, Icelanders kept using their calendar version, especially the names of the months, until the 18th century. Icelanders still use a few month names, especially þorri, góa, and harpa. The first days of those months are the husband’s day, the woman’s day, and the first day of summer, respectively.
You can read all about the calendar here. Then we have posts about individual months:
In the blog on sólmánuður, we told you about a book called Atli, published in the 18th century, about proper conduct regarding farming. It had a hilariously long name (as 18th-century books often have), and you can find information about all sorts of things, such as the old calendar months. If you can read Icelandic and gothic script, you can read the book here.
The tenth month of the old calendar year was the month of heyannir. It always began on a Sunday between July 23 to 30.
The Farmers Guide Book Atli
The month is described like this in the 18th-century book Atli:
Heyannir, or Hay Work, is the month in which the sun passes through the star sign of Leo. The name of this month shows what to do. Because now, we have come to the most profitable work in this country, gathering hay, and most people value it more than others. Mowing usually starts in mid-summer. People water plants once a week, with seawater and other water, if there are severe droughts. Ferns can now be collected; it is suitable for storing eggs, roots, and apples, which cannot bud; it also protects from mildew and rot. People have also used ash instead of fern. Alpine snakeweed and caraway can now be collected. The middle of this month is the time to pick dulse.
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