Bajoran Calendar

A Brief Summary

Day: 26 Bajoran hours; 25 Earth hours, 43 minutes and 12 seconds (1.072 Earth days).
Year: 0.8184 Earth years (on average).
Years: 5 months in a “short year,” 6 in a “normal year” and 7 in a “long year.”
Month Bajoran Days Long
Leaponemonth 35 (in “normal” and “long” years)
Onemonth 55
Twomonth 55
Threemonth 54
Fourmonth 55
Fivemonth 55
Leapfivemonth 59 (in “long” years only)

Most years are a “normal” year of 309 days. Every fourth year alternates between a “long” year of 368 days and a “short” year of 274 days.

What Do We Know?

The Bajoran calendar is the one we know most about. The characters on “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” make it plain that the station uses Bajoran time, with a 26-hour day (DS9 “‘Til Death Us Do Part”, DS9 “It’s Only a Paper Moon”, DS9 “Ties of Blood and Water”, DS9 “To the Death”, DS9 “Sanctuary”). It’s also established in DS9 “Starship Down” that the story takes place exactly two Bajoran years since Benjamin Sisko’s arrival in DS9 “Emissary”. DS9 “The Sound of Her Voice” takes place exactly one Bajoran month after DS9 “His Way”. In DS9 “Fascination”, the Bajoran days seems to run from evening to evening, although other references imply that Bajor has a “midnight” like ours. The time references in DS9 “Behind the Lines” for example, suggests that 08:00 is in the morning, rather than the middle of the night. DS9 “Second Skin” seems to suggest that the Bajoran week has seven days.

The Gratitude Festivals

The first Gratitude Festival since the departure of the Cardassians happens during DS9 “The Nagus”. The third occurs in DS9 “Fascination”, and there’s one just before DS9 “Tears of the Prophets”.

Constructing a Calendar

Constructing a calendar from the clues above wasn’t easy, especially when I added a theory of stardates to the mix. The gap between DS9 “Emissary” and DS9 “Starship Down” gives a Bajoran year that lasts longer than an Earth one, and yet the spacing of the Gratitude Festivals don’t allow years that long. After looking at things carefully, I made the arbitrary decision that the Gratitude Festival marks the end and the beginning of the Bajoran year. There’s no direct evidence that this is the case, but a festival about giving thanks for what’s happened and looking forward seems to fit. It’s also the festival that we see most often. It could be that it’s like Easter and moves around from year to year, but that would just add another level of arbitrariness to the calendar I came up with. Using the Gratitude Festivals as a guide, I came up with a pattern of shorter and longer years. The end result is similar to the Jewish calendar, in that it has “leap months” rather than a “leap year.” I speculate that the reason is the same, in that the Bajorans want to balance the month (based loosely on the orbit of a moon around Bajor) and the year (based on Bajor’s orbit around its star). I’ve made the “leap” months the first and last in the year because it maximises the benefits of changing the lengths of the years to fit the “known” Bajoran festivals and anniversaries in with the stardate sequence.

Twenty-six Hours?

There are absolutely 26 hours in the Bajoran day. It’s an odd number to pick, since it only divides by 2 and 13. Twenty-four will divide by 2, 3, 4, 6, 8 and 12. That’s what made it so attractive to the Babylonians who chose how many hours to divide the day into, a very long time ago. But, how long is a Bajoran hour? In other words, how closely do 26 Bajoran hours match up to 26 Earth hours? There’s no clear answer, and I don’t think the issue was ever really considered. All the same, the best guess I can make is that the assumption (if there ever was one at all) is that the Bajoran day is exactly 26 Bajoran hours long, and approximately 26 Earth hours long, too.

Why Bunches?

The pattern of “short” and “long” years is determined by the need to keep Ha’mara and the Gratitude Festival in places where they’d show up when they were needed, and not appear inconveniently in the middle of stories where they obviously aren’t happening. Unfortunately, the end result does raise the question of why the Bajorans don’t simply make their years a more standard length. It would be easier, and ensure that the solar and lunar calendars coincided more closely. The quick answer is that it doesn’t work if I do that. A more plausible (although not by much) possibility is that the calendar reflects the need to have a certain synchronisation, possibly between the positions of the several moons of Bajor. The calendar reflects a need for two or more of them to be at a certain place in the sky at a certain time. That’s my theory, anyway.

The Calendar is Remarkably Arbitrary

It is, isn’t it? Once I’d picked a length of day, and used the “one (Bajoran) month anniversary” of Odo and Kira’s first kiss (the kiss is in DS9 “His Way”, the anniversary is in DS9 “The Sound of Her Voice”) in combination with the Gratitude Festivals to establish the length of a Bajoran month, I just added a “short” and a “long” leap month to the basic year to get everything to match up how I wanted it to. It’s a “proof of concept,” rather than a serious attempt to create a complicated “realistic” calendar. In any case, what I’ve already got was getting quite complicated enough for me.

Names

There is one. In the whole run of “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” the only day ever referred to by a Bajoran name is Ha’mara, the anniversary of Benjamin Sisko’s arrival. Every other name is helpfully translated into an English equivalent. Since I have no idea where to start in making up Bajoran words, I’ve used “place-holder” names. They may or may not reflect the actual Bajoran names. I think they don’t. Bajor is an immensely ancient society no matter how you look at it. Their written language hasn’t changed appreciably for thousands of years. The names of the days and the months are likely to be shrouded in even more levels of meaning than the names we use. Just using numbers to identify them seems a cop-out, so I’d like to make it plain: THESE NAMES ARE IN NO WAY OFFICIAL AND ARE NOT PLAUSIBLE TRANSLATIONS OF BAJORAN WORDS. (Sorry for shouting.)

The Time of Day

The evidence (what there is of it) is contradictory. On the one hand, the Gratitude Festival is celebrated from sunset to sunset, suggesting the same sort of day used by the Jewish, Arab and Klingon calendars. In practice, when a time is mentioned, it seems to reflect a day that goes from midnight to midnight, as when Keiko’s school opens just after nine in DS9 “A Man Alone”. I’ve listed times in a 26-hour clock going from midnight, but what the Bajorans actually use is open to interpretation. Again, the decision to divide a Bajoran hour into 60 Bajoran minutes was taken to avoid confusion. How Bajorans divide up their hours is anyone’s guess, since all the time references seem to have been “translated” into something an Earth-bound audience isn’t going to find confusing or unlikely.

The Bajoran Era

The only firm date that we have is the year Akorem Laan vanished, 9174. It’s “over two centuries” before DS9 “Accession”, so I’ve fixed it so that it just about works in both Earth and Bajoran centuries, and the “long” and “short” years fall in the pattern I want.

Festivals

The year starts with the Gratitude Festival. That’s an assumption on my part. I’ve taken it as running from sunset in the last day of the year (55th Fivemonth or 59th Leapfivemonth) to sunset on the first day of the next year (1st Leaponemonth or Onemonth, depending). This reflects my calendar calculations, rather than the “facts” of the Bajoran calendar.

Next is the Bajoran “Month of Cleansing.” It’s only ever mentioned once, in DS9 “Bar Association”. Is it a full Bajoran month? Maybe it’s something closer to an Earth month and has been “translated”? Either way, I have it falling in Twomonth. I’m fairly sure that a careful examination of all the stories I’ve assigned to Twomonth will show that the “Month of Cleansing” is only being observed in any visible way in DS9 “Bar Association”, even in the year I’ve assigned it to. The best I can come up with is that it’s an irregular festival, possibly only happening once in eight years or maybe even longer. That way it doesn’t have to come up again until after the series is finished.

Then there’s Ha’mara. The one time we hear about it in DS9 “Starship Down”, it’s a big deal, with fireworks and everything. The stardates in DS9 “Emissary” are a bit unhelpful. In the interest of strict accuracy, I’ve assigned the festival to 18th Fivemonth, the exact anniversary (by my system) of the opening of DS9 “Emissary”.

Finally there’s the unnamed “fertility ceremony” that Kasidy presides over in DS9 “Strange Bedfellows”. My dates put it in the early part of Fivemonth. This either implies that the Bajoran year ends in spring or summer, or (as I say in the main timeline) these particular people live in the opposite hemisphere of Bajor to the main centres of population. In other words, “spring” where these people are, say in the southern hemisphere, will correspond to “autumn” (aka “fall”) in the other hemisphere, the northern in this example. We only hear of this once, since the Emissary doesn’t have a wife to attend it before the last season of “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”.

The end result is featured in the calendars page spreadsheet.


calendars

by StrauchiusStrauchius on 09 Feb 2011 13:26, last updated on 06 Jul 2017 08:42