Calendars

Final Fantasy VI

Starting the trend of using the Gregorian calendar for marking the dates in an FF world, FF6 has 12 months, each with 28-31 days to them. Any system for counting years is unknown.

Gaia (FF7)

The world of Gaia in Final Fantasy VII has several known eras, with the games sprinkled around the end of the last era and the beginning of the current one. The current year at the end of Dirge of Cerberus (the part of the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII furthest in the known times) is the [ν]-era year 10. Note that the ν is not of the western alphabet, but instead the Greek letter nu.
The previous era before [ν] was the [μ]-era (similarly, the Greek letter mu), and it ended at [μ] 2000, at the end of the Wutai War.

In the games, the 'era' that follows the era designation is actually spelled out εγι, or 'epsilon-gamma-lambda' in Greek letters, and thus it could be argued that the 'era's are actually [mu]-egl and [nu]-egl.

The actual calendar is very easily remembered - 12 months in a year, with 30 or 31 days per month except in the second month, when it is 28 (or 29), identical to the real-world Gregorian calendar.

Final Fantasy VIII

The calendar in the world of Final Fantasy VIII is similar to the Gregorian calendar as far as counting days and months. However, it is unknown whether (and if) there are weeks, what the weekdays are called, and if the leap year exists. Also, any previous calendars and the current year is unknown.

Gaia (FF9)

The current year on Gaia of Final Fantasy IX is the year 1800. It is unknown what event spurred on the current era, or even if it was anything special at all.

There are apparently 12 months to a year and a similar amount to the Gregorian calendar of days to a month. It is unknown (albeit likely to be similar to our own) what the months are called.

Vana'diel

The current era is known as Crystal Era, or CE. Notable recent events during this era have been the Crystal War that started in 864 and the start of the in-game clock that was set on the year 886. The start of the Crystal Era and the calendar in use were originally observed only by Lalafell, but the use of the calendar spread quickly throughout the middle lands. The Lalafell observed the blowing up of the Gordeus and decided it to be a sign from the heavens, making that the start of the new (current) era.

A year is divided into 12 months. These months are named like they are in Earth's Gregorian calendar - in English the familiar January, February, etc. In Japanese conflict between nonexistent lore and legend does not exist, for the months are named 一月, 二月, 三月, etc, which are translated literally as 'first month', 'second month', 'third month'.
Time is further divided into weeks, and each week is 8 days long. A day has 24 hours. The weekdays are as follows (in order):

Firesday
Earthsday
Watersday
Windsday
Iceday
Lightningsday
Lightsday
Darksday

Ivalice

The Ivalice games span many games and an incredibly long stretch of time within its world. Several different calendar systems are known from different periods of time, although each fails to give us some crucial pieces of information. Below are listed what is known in each main instalment within Ivalice.

Final Fantasy XII: Day/month system unknown. Years counted in Old Valendian (current 706). Also an ancient system partially known.
Revenant Wings: Day/month system unknown. Years counted in Old Valendian (current 707).
Grimoire of the Rift: Months named after colors and seasons, 20 days to a month. Year has 240 days. Current year unknown, but within several years of Revenant Wings.
Final Fantasy Tactics: Months named after zodiacs. Year has 365 days. Current year unknown, although extra materials indicate that the year 988 was in the past, as well as the year 1822. The latter is from an ancient time and thus may be from a different calendar system.
Vagrant Story: Day/month system unknown. Current year unknown, but around or more than 400 years after Tactics1

Days and Moons

There are three (or four) known systems. The first of them (when viewing Ivalice chronologically) is an unnamed system present in Letter to a Wayfarer, one of the supplementary materials given in the Hunt Catalog of FF12. It's known to have been used in ancient times, although no certainty of just how ancient. The second system is used in Jylland in Grimoire of the Rift, named after colors and seasonal words. The third (again, chronologically) is used in the kingdom of Ivalice in FF Tactics, and is based on zodiac signs.
The fourth, if it exists lore-wise in Ivalice at all, is the real-world Gregorian calendar. It was used in the original English version of FF Tactics. Note that starting with the War of the Lions edition of FFT, the game in English has used the zodiac calendar system. There are no dates in any other game that doesn't use one of the three first-mentioned calendars, so it's debatable if it's used anywhere in Ivalice.

None of these calendars are officially named. For ease of reference, we'll be using the terms 'Omega calendar' (after the device the developer in Wayfarer is making), 'Jylland calendar' (after the region it's used in) and 'Zodiac calendar' (after the way it names months) for the three.

Omega Calendar

It isn't known when exactly the excerpt given in Letter to a Wayfarer take place, but it takes place in a prosperous time with technology not seen in FF12-era Ivalice, but not too far in the past as the language can still be deciphered by scholars. As it's doubtful that the Occuria would have let the Omega Mk XII take roost in Giruvegan while they were still physicall present, it's likely that this places the calendar at a time after they left. This gives a time period of at least 2,000 but up to 5,000 or so years before FF12.

The Omega calendar features some oddities. Below are all the dates present in the Letter to a Wayfarer.

12/24/27
19/26/27
29/26/27
1/27/27
5/27/27
6/28/27
16/29/27
14/30/27
29/30/27
1/31/27
5/31/27

As you can see, the last number stays the same in all the entries, the middle number constantly rises, while the first number jumps all over the place. Note that these dates are taken from the English-language version of the game. In the Japanese version, the constant number 27 is listed first, the semi-constant numbers second, and the variable last. Comparing the ways to write dates in different Earth cultures, we find out that 'day-month-year' order is in use in many western countries, while in Japan the order 'year-month-day' is used. From this, we can deduce that (going by the list given) the first number is a day, second month, and third something resembling the concept of a 'year'. More on the 'year' slot later in the 'Years and Eras' section below.

Based on the dates given, where an entry on day 29 is several times followed by an entry on day 1, it's likely that the Omega calendar has 29 or so days to a month. As the writer of the development diary didn't write a new entry every day, this allows for some variance, such as 30 days per month, or 28-32 days per month, as long as the amount stays around the 29 mark.
As for months, the only thing that can be said for sure is that they increase until the 'year' changes, and that it isn't known if every 'year' has the same amount of 'months' (see 'Years and Eras'). In any case, in the 'year' 27, a summer falls on at least the month 282.

Jylland Calendar

This calendar system is known to be in use in the Jylland region in Grimoire of the Rift, chronologically a few years after the events of FF12. Since Ordallia continent (on the western edge of which Jylland is located) is relatively close to the Galtean peninsula where most of FF12 happens, it may be possible that this calendar is in use in Dalmasca and Archadian Empire as well. However, note that while they're close by, there is still another empire - the Rozarrian Empire between them. It may be just as likely that this calendar is in use only in other parts of the world.

The months in the Jylland calendar are divided neatly between four seasons, each consisting of three months. The year starts in the middle of winter in Blackfrost3. Also quite neatly, each month consists of 20 days. This means that a year in the Jylland calendar is a mere 240 days long. If the length of these months is indeed 20 days in in-lore terms as well as game mechanics terms, then there may be periods of time in the Jylland calendar not considered part of any month, as the later Zodiac calendar says there is 365 days to a year. A third option is that in the unnamed big Cataclysm that happened before the known use of the Zodiac calendar, the stability of the world was shaken enough to affects the world's orbit, and thus lengthen the year by a total of 125 days.

Season English Japanese Translated Japanese
Winter Blackfrost 黒冬の月 [kokutou no tsuki] Blackwinter Moon
Skyfrost 空冬の月 [kuutou no tsuki] Azurewinter Moon
Spring Greenfire 緑陽の月 [ryokuyou no tsuki] Greensunshine Moon
Bloodfire 赤陽の月 [sekiyou no tsuki] Redsunshine Moon
Rosefire 桃陽の月 [touyou no tsuki] Peachsunshine Moon
Summer Coppersun 黄夏の月 [ouka no tsuki] Yellowsummer Moon
Goldsun 金夏の月 [kinka no tsuki] Goldsummer Moon
Silversun 銀夏の月 [ginka no tsuki] Silversummer Moon
Autumn Ashleaf 灰秋の月 [kaishuu no tsuki] Grayfall Moon
Mistleaf 青秋の月 [seishuu no tsuki] Bluefall Moon
Emberleaf 紅秋の月 [koushuu no tsuki] Crimsonfall Moon
Winter Plumfrost 紫冬の月 [shitou no tsuki] Purplewinter Moon

Zodiac Calendar

The Zodiac calendar is known to be in use in the kingdom of Ivalice in FFT. It's unknown if any other concurrent countries use the same calendar, and there are no other games set around the same time period so more hints could be obtained. It is also unknown when this calendar was taken into use and whether (or when) it fell out of use.

The year in the Zodiac calendar starts in what appears to be middle of spring. This corresponds with 21st March in the real-world Gregorian calendar. This is known since FFT provides a way to input your birthday for the main character Ramza Beoulve, and then converts it to a Zodiac calendar date. Also of note is that while 'spring' and other seasons are likely a concept in the kingdom of Ivalice, there is also a climate of alternating dry and wet seasons in place, corresponding roughly with real-world Mediterranean or sub-tropical climates. This means the wet (monsoon) seasons correspond with early summer and the middle of winter (21.5-22.7 and 23.11-18.2 in the Gregorian calendar).
The Zodiac calendar has 365 days to a year. Note that this is 125 more days than the previously used Jylland calendar. Either the Jylland calendar's length is due to game mechanics only, there are days not considered part of the calendar, or in some point of time between the Jylland and the Zodiac calendars (likely the Cataclysm event), the orbit of the planet changed enough to account for the extra days.

The calendar system is displayed below. For comparison and completion's sake, the corresponding Gregorian dates of the Zodiac calendar have also been listed. Note that unlike in English, in Japanese it's specified that it's the name of a month ('-no tsuki'). In English, this could be translated as 'Aries Moon' or 'Month of Aries', to name an example.

Season Days English Japanese Gregorian Dates
Dry 30 Aries 白羊の月 [hakuyou no tsuki] 21.3-19.4
Dry 31 Taurus 金牛の月 [kingyuu no tsuki] 20.4-20.5
Wet 32 Gemini 双子の月 [soushi no tsuki] 21.5-21.6
Wet 31 Cancer 巨蟹の月 [kyokai no tsuki] 22.6-22.7
Dry 31 Leo 獅子の月 [shishi no tsuki] 23.7-22.8
Dry 31 Virgo 処女の月 [shojo no tsuki] 23.8-22.9
Dry 31 Libra 天秤の月 [tenbin no tsuki] 23.9-23.10
Dry 30 Scorpio 天蠍の月 [tenkatsu no tsuki] 24.10-22.11
Wet 30 Sagittarius 人馬の月 [jinba no tsuki] 23.11-22.12
Wet 28 Capricorn 磨羯の月 [makatsu no tsuki] 23.12-19.1
Wet 30 Aquarius 宝瓶の月 [houbei no tsuki] 20.1-18.2
Dry 30 Pisces 双魚の月 [sougyo no tsuki] 19.2-20.3

Years and Eras

Above, we have established how days and months are counted in various time periods of Ivalician history. This section deals with the counting of years.

What is Known

Letter to a Wayfarer

The 'year' slot is an interesting case in the Omega calendar. As Ivalice obviously doesn't have years consisting of 899 or more days (29 days each for 31 months, which are the biggest numbers given by the dates), deciphering this calendar requires some creativity. It could be, for example, that the 'year' slot refers instead to a Japanese-style era (like Heisei or Showa) that changes only with major events, given a number instead of a name. This with the difference that the Omega calendar would count only the months in that era in a sequence, instead of years within the specific era and months within the years of the era like the Japanese system does. To clarify this with an example with real-world dates, if the date 1.1.2000 was the start of the era '27', on 1.1.2001 would start the 13th month of the 27th era.

This is mere speculation however (although evidence-based speculation), and no explanation is given to the dates of the Omega calendar within the game or its extra materials.

Final Fantasy XII

The only 100% confirmed system for counting years is Old Valendian, at use in the times of FF12. Presumably it wasn't called 'Old' Valendian contemporarily (it might have been called simply 'Valendian'), but the term 'Old Valendian' gives us an important hint - at some point in FF12's future, a 'New Valendian' system was devised. It isn't known at what point that is, however, as the term 'Old Valendian' is never mentioned in FF12 at all.

Old Valendian is known to have started with the founding of the Galtean Alliance by King Raithwall. It isn't known for how long it's in use, but FF12 takes place in the year 706.

Final Fantasy Tactics

In addition to these, there are a few fragmentary mentions of years in the sound novels of FF Tactics. Note that they haven't been included in any official English-language release of the game, you will have to go to the original Japanese versions for them. The years mentioned are 1822, when the young to-be Hero-King Mesa Ricksen went adventuring. The year is from a fictional novel, but it isn't too much of a stretch to presume the writer of the novel would at least get right the years the Hero-King lived during. Also, as the year is from his early life, this puts it at before the Cataclysm event.

Other dates mentioned are 788, the year of an anti-monarchy revolution in an unnamed country, and the year 988, when a book is written about those same events. It isn't clear if this revelatory book is meant to be contemporary or ancient (or at least old), it's simply known that its contents could 'rewrite history' if publically known. At first glance this makes it seem as if the book was recently published in FFT, but it may also be that it was suppressed or never gained much recognition, in which case it can be hundreds of years old even. In any case, it is likely that these two years come from the same system used in FFT, which places the year in FFT at 988 or later of this unnamed era.

Summary

While relative mentions of years passing are made in many an instance in the Ivalice games, the ones mentioned above are the only known references to actual year numbers, and thus the only mentions that matter for the purpose of establishing the systems used. Based on them, below is a rough outline.

(complete unknown) - time of the Occuria
Omega calendar 'year' 27 - likely after Occuria leave the world, but no further timing given
Old Valendian 0-706+ - as established by Dynast-King Raithwall, events of FF12, likely events of FF12RW and FFTA2 main parts
unknown era 1822 - time of the Hero-King Mesa Ricksen, pre-Calamity
unknown era 0-988+ - mentioned in the Oeilvert text in FFT, likely events of FFT
(complete unknown) - events of Vagrant Story and the modern bits of FFTA and FFTA2

In addition to the above, we know that at least one era is known as 'New Valendian' or similar. However, this is all that can be said for sure about the counting of years in Ivalice. There are events that tie together (and sometimes contradict) the years mentioned above. These have been covered in more detail in Timeline of Ivalice as they can't be firmly tied to a specific year number.

Hydaelyn

It is unknown what kind of a calendar the rest of the world uses, but in Eorzea a system penned by astrologist and theologist Lewphon of Sharlayan is in use. Lewphon designed the calendar in the year 233 of 6th Astral Era. The current year is 1st year of 7th Astral Era (as declared at the end of the main story in 2.0).

The calendar is largely dependent on the alternation between Astral and Umbral polarities and the elemental affinities of Ice, Water, Wind, Lightning, Fire and Earth. Repeating numbers are six and twelve as well as four and eight. Based on these one can discern not only the days of the month or the months in a year, but the hours in a day and the eras as well.

Hours, Days, Weeks

One day consist of four cycles of the six elemental affinities, each an hour long - thus, being 24 hours long, each element/polarity combination being present twice in the duration of one day. Eight days consist a week, named the same as in Final Fantasy XI4. It isn't confirmed whether just the names are the same or if the order is the same as well. Below they are listed in the FF11 order.

Firesday
Earthsday
Watersday
Windsday
Iceday
Lightningsday
Lightsday
Darksday

Moons and Years

In turn, four weeks (cycles of the Sun) or 32 days make up one Moon - that is, the time it takes for a moon to grow full and disappear again to start another cycle.
A year is made up out of twelve Moons, and cycles through the elements and polarities in order. The Moons are listed below. In addition to each Moon having an element and a polarity, each moon is guarded by one of the Twelve. Note that the length of one Moon tells us that one year has a total of 384 days.

1st Astral Moon (Ice) - Halone
1st Umbral Moon (Ice) - Menphina
2nd Astral Moon (Water) - Thaliak
2nd Umbral Moon (Water) - Nymeia
3rd Astral Moon (Wind) - Llymlaen
3rd Umbral Moon (Wind) - Oschon
4th Astral Moon (Lightning) - Byregot
4th Umbral Moon (Lightning) - Rhalgr
5th Astral Moon (Fire) - Azeyma
5th Umbral Moon (Fire) - Nald'thal
6th Astral Moon (Earth) - Nophica
6th Umbral Moon (Earth) - Althyk

Epochs and Eras

Years, in turn, are divided into groups of twelve. It is unclear if this cycle of twelve years is a universal thing or whether it refers to cycles of a person's life, likely the latter. Whatever the case may be, each year in the cycle is governed by one of the twelve gods of Eorzea. In order they are the years of Llymlaen, Oschon, Byregot, Rhalgr, Azeyma, Nald'thal, Nophica, Althyk, Halone, Menphina, Thaliak and Nymeia. One cycle of twelve years is called an epoch.
It bears noting that in Earth's cultures with this type of a system in use for years, it was common to refer to one's age by the year's name - for example, somebody on their 1st Nophica would be 7 years old by our system, while somebody on their 2nd Thaliak would be 23. It's unknown if this system is in use in Hydaelyn however.

As for the Eras, the Astral and Umbral eras alternate, with individual eras each having an elemental affinity, in the familiar order of elements. The Umbral eras are said to be times of doubt and suffering, while the Astral eras are of prosperity and flourishing mankind.
The game itself only notes that the 6th Umbral era was that of Water and that the next Umbral era's element is unknown, but with additional information5 more light is shed on the issue. The Umbral eras started with Wind, and this is said to be the end of the era of divine and the start of the era of mankind. Following it came the Astral era of wind and so on, making the era during 1.x version of FF14 the 6th Astral era, that of Water.

The 7th Umbral era brings an interesting issue. For a long time the people of Eorzea believed that there would be no more Umbral eras as all the elements had made their trials upon Eorzea already, but according to some texts (namely the Divine Chronicles), the Circle of Knowing came to think that the 7th Umbral era would that of either Astral or Umbral, with the choice from the two being up to mankind itself. Whichever it is, the alignment of the current (7th) Era is unknown.

1st Umbral Era: Wind
1st Astral Era: Wind
2nd Umbral Era: Lightning
2nd Astral Era: Lightning
3rd Umbral Era: Fire
3rd Astral Era: Fire
4th Umbral Era: Earth
4th Astral Era: Earth
5th Umbral Era: Ice
5th Astral Era: Ice
6th Umbral Era: Water
6th Astral Era: Water
7th Umbral Era: unknown
7th Astral Era: unknown (current)

Orience

Not much is known about the calendar system of Orience yet. The current calendar is called the Seagull Calendar (鴎歴 [kamome-reki]), although what this refers to is unknown. The current year is 842 during the events of Final Fantasy Type-0.

It is unknown according to what the months are named. They do not appear to respond to four seasons, and instead come in three clusters of four, with the elemental order being fire-water-earth-wind in each of them. Comparing the order within an element likewise reveals us something. Fire-Flame-Heat, Water-Ice-Chill, Boulders-Earth-Rock, Wind-Storm-Sky. The words in each cluster seem to be more normal-state in the first, extreme in the second, and mellow in the third. What this could mean, however, is up to each reader.

1. Month of Fire / 火の月
2. Month of Water / 水の月
3. Month of Boulders / 岩の月
4. Month of Wind / 風の月
5. Month of Flame / 炎の月
6. Month of Ice / 氷の月
7. Month of Earth / 土の月
8. Month of Storm / 嵐の月
9. Month of Heat / 熱の月
10. Month of Chill / 冷の月
11. Month or Rock / 巌の月
12. Month of Sky / 空の月

Crystal of Time

While no actual calendar system is presented in the game, lore given does outline a system for counting years. It isn't known how long each year is, but however long they are, the world is divided into two general eras. The first is known as BC (Before Crisis), and the second AC (After Crisis), where 'crisis' refers to the Mysidia Crisis. The 'current' year given in the game is AC 2015, although throughout the game's story many visits are done to various eras in the world.

There are also vague references to eras. The years BC are known as the Age of Magick, and 'ancient times' refers to that time period. 'Middle ages' (or 'medieval times') refers to a time period encompassing the year AC 1280.


Category: Encyclopedia

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