The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Dates
22 June in a leap year1 on a modern (Gregorian) calendar
Race
Cultures
Shire-hobbits, and probably also Bree-hobbits
Pronunciation
o'verlithe
Meaning
Lithe comes from the Old English month Liða, 'warm, gentle'; the 'over' prefix indicates that this was an extra or additional day
Other names
Similar in concept to the Enderi of the Númenórean calendars2

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About this entry:

  • Updated 19 July 2018
  • Updates planned: 1

Overlithe

A Hobbit holiday

Just like the modern Gregorian calendar, the Shire Calendar regulated time by adding an extra day every four years. This extra day was known as the Overlithe: it occurred between Mid-year's Day and the second of the two normal Lithedays. It was treated as a special holiday by the inhabitants of the Shire.


Notes

1

In those years of the Shire Calendar when the Overlithe occurred, it fell directly after Mid-year's Day, and since Mid-year's Day normally corresponded to modern 22 June, it would be natural to expect the Overlithe to fall on 23 June. Things are complicated, however, by the fact that the Gregorian calendar accounts for leap years by inserting an intercalary day (its equivalent of the Overlithe) at the end of February, and this means that for nearly four months from March to June, the modern calendar runs a day ahead of the Shire Calendar. Hence, in a leap year, the Shire Mid-year's Day falls on modern 21 June, and the Overlithe on 22 June. From the following day, the second Litheday (on the Shire Calendar) or 23 June (Gregorian), the two calendars fall back into synchronisation.

2

The Shire Calendar's system of managing leap years was doubtless derived from that of the Dúnedain, which was functionally identical. Going back to the old King's Reckoning of Númenor, the Dúnedain added an extra day after Midsummer, but in their system a leap year was marked by the single day Loëndë being replaced by two Enderi or 'Middle-days'. So, both approaches worked by inserting a day after the central day of the year, but the Dúnedain used the collective name Enderi for Midsummer and the day after, and hence had no direct equivalent of 'Overlithe'.

Indexes:

About this entry:

  • Updated 19 July 2018
  • Updates planned: 1

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