Between the years

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Between the years describes her as saying today usually the time between Christmas and New Year's Eve / New Year , which in Switzerland Altjahrswoche is called. Originally, the so-intentioned period, either the so-called covered Rauhnächte (also twelve holy nights , twelve nights called) or the time between the end of the old year (December 24) and the start of the New Year (January 6). While the period between the years has a very different number of bridging days due to the Christian festivals , the Rauhnächte are between December 21 (winter solstice) and January 6. For the period between Christmas (December 25th) and the apparition of the Lord (January 6th) the term twelve Christmas days (also the twelfth for short ) is common. The term between the holidays is also used.

Alternative names

The idiom in this form was mainly at home in Baden and Westphalia. There have been different expressions for the same thing elsewhere, including:

Friesland twasche ujl en nai
Schleswig twische de dage
Denmark juletylvten
Sweden mellandagarna
Norway romjul
England twelve nights
Bohemia / Vogtland Overnight , intermediate and intermediate nights


Already in ancient Egypt a time between the years was named with Heriu-renpet , which in the Old Kingdom was still assigned to the Nile flood in June and the Achet season and between the month of Ipet-hemet as the “year-end” and the Wepet-renpet as the “year opener “Lay. The Egyptians limited their year to 360 days in order to be able to calculate more easily with twelve months of 30 days. The remaining 5 days were then added at the end.

The origin of the twelve and thirteen day periods lies in the difference between the annual division according to the lunar and solar calendars . There is a difference of twelve days between the two counting methods for a year ( Epagomene ), whereby according to the counting method of the lunar calendar, twelve days are missing for the astronomically correct solar rotation in 365 days.

The connection with the ecclesiastical Dodekahemeron is more obvious , those twelve days (nights) which were declared to be especially venerable at the Council of Tours in 567 . This period - however, beginning with the Yule (winter solstice ) - is also the time of Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus handed († 959).

Until the calendar reform by Pope Gregory XIII. the beginning of the new year in large parts of Europe was January 6th. This date goes back to Roman customs and shifts in the calendar. The end of the year, on the other hand, was traditionally celebrated on December 24th, so that the time until the beginning of the next year was “between the years”.

In addition, the Gregorian calendar - especially for religious reasons - was not introduced everywhere at the same time. Therefore, in these decades around the turn of the year, the year numbers differed between the areas of the old and new calendar. The expression “between the years” is also attributed to this.

Pope Innocent XII. then established the binding last day of the year in 1691, namely December 31, on which the day of death and remembrance of Pope New Year I is celebrated in the Catholic Church .

Therefore, due to historical development, different periods of time can be associated with the expression between the years .

December 21st to January 6th Rauhnächte (Dodeka-hḗmeron)
December 24th to January 6th in the Middle Ages between the “end” of the old and the “beginning” of the new year and
after the calendar reform due to the confessionally different beginning of the year
December 24th to January 1st Between Christmas and the beginning of the New Year (at the latest after binding determination by Pope Innocent and acceptance by the other denominations)

In addition, there are comparable periods in other cultural areas, for example in Great Britain the so-called Boxing Week between Boxing Day (December 26th) and New Year's Eve . In Sweden the same period is now called Mellandagarna . In Norway, this period is called Mellomjul (also Romjul , Romhelg ) - albeit only beginning on December 27th .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Journal of Austrian Folklore , Volume 9 (1903), p. 16.
  2. ^ Journal of Austrian Folklore , Volume 9 (1903), p. 15.
  3. Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde , Volume 16 (2000), pp. 103-104.
  4. Calendar patchwork in southern Germany - The “time between the years” is reminiscent of denominational disputes ( memento of the original from November 24, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. and five days between the years - formerly: denominational contradiction - today: time of the balance sheet ( memento of the original from March 4, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /