My head is full of bees and they’re quite happy buzzing around. As a result of the Zoom session which involved an understanding of medieval calendars I have a new bee buzzing gently at the back of my skull! Medieval calendars.
Egyptian Days, of which there were 24 each year, were the days that medieval calendar users believed to have been identified by ancient Egyptian astrologers as unlucky for new projects, battles, setting off on journeys, business deals and also for blood letting amongst other things. Apparently no self-respecting Anglo-Saxon would have eaten a goose on an Egyptian Day. The other way of describing them was as “evil days” which translated from Latin gives us the word “dismal.” And I’m very sorry if your birthday happens to fall on one of the days listed below. It was considered an unlucky start in life.
January 1st and 25th
February 1st and 26th
March 1st and 28th
April 10th and 20th
May 3rd and 25th
June 10th and 16th
July 13th and 22nd
August 1st and 30th
September 3rd and 21st
October 3rd and 22nd
November 5th and 28th
December 7th and 22nd
As with all these things there were those who dismissed bad luck days as superstitious nonsense, one such was the chronicler William of Newburgh who thought they were nonsense – unless you happened to be Jewish in which case England was to the medieval Jewish community what Egypt had once been which accounted for the murder of the Jewish community in York to to mention associated anti-jewish rioting and it was all down to Egyptian days rather than any unpleasantness by the local population.
As if that wasn’t bad enough there were plenty of medieval calendars that also incorporated dangerous hours. By the fourteenth century not only should you have your blood taken from an auspicious location according to the planets but you also had to watch out which day it was and what the time might be.
Egyptian Days can be found at the top of medieval monthly calendars and marked with a letter “D” for evil days.
SKEMER, DON C. “‘ARMIS GUNFE’: REMEMBERING EGYPTIAN DAYS.” Traditio, vol. 65, 2010, pp. 75–106. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/41417991. Accessed 3 Nov. 2020.