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18. Year And Its Subdivisions

The seasons are distinguished according to the position of the sun and their sequence is connected with the sun's movement [98], so that four or more seasons form a year. The year in Tungus is anggan'i (Khin. RTM. Bar), angyani (Bir. Kum. RTM), angani (Bir) (Mank. Castr.), angyini (Lani), etc. anyn (Oxot. Klaproth), anan (Lamut, Klaproth), an 'a (Manchu Writ. Sp.), an'e (Nuichen, Grube). The Manchu form is also used among the Tungus who are in contact with the Manchus. The beginning of the new year is not fixed among all groups, which depends on the calendar in use. Groups which have adopted Manchu-Chinese system begin the new year according to this system, while the groups influenced by the Russians begin it much earlier. What was the original Tungus system and when they used to begin the new year is difficult to say.

The months are known and counted according to the moons. There are different arrangements of calendar. Amongst the Tungus of Manchuria — the Birarchen, Kumarchen and Khingan groups, — the Manchu names for months are adopted with a slight phonetic adaptation. This is a Chinese system translated into Manchu, i. e. the first moon, second moon, and so on. The «month» is b'a as in Manchu, and not «bega».

The system of the Reindeer Tungus of Manchuria is evidently borrowed from the Yakuts. It consists of twelve months beginning from the end of January:

1. Toksun'u — understood as «the cold weather is over» - cf. toxsun'u (Yak. Pek.) (Pek. Etymology: Toyus, — «nine», the ninth month).

2. Olon'o — the meaning could not be established - cf. olun'u (Yak. Pek.) (Pek. etymology: «ten», the tenth month, -February-March).

3. Kuluntutar — understood as «to keep the kolt» - cf. kulun tutar (Yak Pek.) (Pek. etymology: kulun, — the kolt; tutar, — to keep off).

4. Omija — understood as the «the grass appears» — I do not venture to compare with Yakut words. It does not sound like a Tungus word, and it cannot be understood as a Tungus word. Another term is Buyustar — understood as «the ice (river) breaks» - cf. mus (bus) ustar (Yak. Pek.) (Pek. etymology: «ice broke», — April-May).

5. Boy'ija — understood as «the pine bark can be separated» (formerly used as a food stuff) - cf. has (Yak. Pek-) - the pine. In Yakut (Pek.) it is yamyja, balykyia («May-June»).

The meaning of the following four months could not be established:

9. Boy'in'i cf. basin'i (Yak. Pek.) (Pek. etymology: «five»);

10. Alin'i cf. alyn'y (Yak. Pek.) (Pek. etymology: «six»)

11. Satin 'i cf. sattini (Yak. Pek.) (Pek. etymology. «seven», the

seventh month);

12. Aksinn'i cf. axsyn'y (Yak. Pek.) (Pek. etymology: «eight»).

From the comparison of RTM names with those of the Yakuts it is evident that RTM terms are merely borrowed from the Yakuts. This Tungus group formerly was under a Yakut influence (vide SONT). However, some considerations are of interest. First of all, the Tungus understand the names of months not in their etymological meaning {vide E. Pekarskii's analyses) but as various characteristic of the months. In some cases, like kuluntutar the meaning in Tungus and Yakut coincides. Olon'o is not undestood at all. The names Omija and Boyija are seemingly lacking (?) in Yakut and have quite concrete meanings. I do not know how the names of the months are now understood by the Yakuts, and whether the Tungus interpretations correspond to that of the Yakuts or not, but the fact that there are names which are not met with in Yakut is indicative that in the Tungus (RTM) mind the names of the months have certain meaning in which there are included characteristics of the months as seasons. I have been told by some Tungus, e.g. in Transbaikalia and in Manchuria (Birarchen) that they formerly used to have different names of the months by which they characterised the seasonal conditions. Perhaps the spirit of RTM names is a secondary adaptation of the Yakut names to the old complex. The counting of the months as «first, «second», etc. in RTM seems to be an adaptation to the Russian Church year cycle, which begins in January (14th of Gregorian calendar). I was unable to establish when these groups; used to begin their year cycle.

The system used among the Tumynxyn Tungus recorded by P. V. Olenin is quite different. When they count months they sometimes touch the head and articulations of the upper limbs as shown.

1. Xeja — the top of the head, (cf. ojo, etc. also Mongol and Manchu, ibid., the top of the mountain, head, etc.) which seems to fall on January (end?).

2. not recorded. Probably m'ir'i — the shoulder.

3. Iecan — the elbow; (cf. ican, etc. the «elbow»); the elbow of the right arm is meant or touched.

4. B'ilan — the wrist; the wrist of the right arm is touched.

5. Neun'in'i so is called the first summer month which seems to be merely «the spring» (vide infra).

6. Kulin [99] elann'i — the second summer month.

7. hunni elann'i — the third summer month [The etymology is not clear. Elan (Turn) elann 'i (Lam), according to the record, means «the month»]

8. Mont'ahli — the fourth summer month [The etymology is not clear]

9. marked but not recorded.

10. Eur'i m'ir'i — the left (arm) shoulder.

11. Eur'i iecan — the left (arm) elbow.

12. Eur'i b'ilan — the left (arm) wrist.

13. Eur'i unm'i — the left (arm) finger root.

To this system may be related the system given by Rev. Popov [cf. op. cit. 33] who translated the Lamut system as shown.

January — Xeja;

February — M'ir;

March — Eca;

April — Bilen;

May — Onma;

June — N'eng'in';i

July — D'ugun'i [The etymology is not clear; perhaps it may be connected with «summer» (vide infra);

August — coka [the etymology is not clear];

September — Totti onma [totti — seems to mean «rising», from the stem tot — to rise, climb, going from the finger root up to the shoulder.];

October — Totti b 'ilen;

November — Totti ecan;

December — Totti m 'ir.

This system is a variation of the Tum. system. Indeed, the identification of Xeja as January must be accepted with great caution, for it is not likely that these Tungus (Lamut) counted according to the old Russian style — the first of January prior to 1900 falling on the 13th day of the Gregorian January. The Lamut system seems to be an adaptation of the Tungus system to the needs of the Church. Yet, according to Lam. system there are thirteen months while according to the Lamut system there are only twelve. It may be pointed out that the names of summer months are different in the two compared dialects.

In a small dictionary of an Enissy Tungus dialect compiled by a missionary I find the names of «January» and «February» gildena, which seems to be the name of a season; «April» no-gen'i, which seems to be the name of the season (vide infra); June — manman'i, and July — xum'in'i, which may be compared with the name for «third summer month» of Turn, dialect. Perhaps this dialect still preserves some old Tungus names. However, it must be pointed out that these names may also be new names (for the months) introduced under the pressure of missionaries.

In order to complete the variety of existing systems it may be noted that the Tungus groups in Transbaikalia use either Russian names (modification of Latin names) in a Tungus phonetic adaptation, or they use Buriat names when the Buriat influence is strong.

So, in so far as it may be seen from the facts, the Tungus at the present time use different systems — (1) Chinese (in Manchu modification and Tungus adaptation); (2) Yakut (perhaps fused with the old Tungus system) (based on the counting of months as it was amongst the Uigurs); (3) the mechanical counting of months, with the names of uncertain origin and meaning; (4) the Russian system; and (5) the Buriat (Mongol) system. These four cultural influences may be observed in all phenomena of Tungus complexes. All these systems are not of Tungus origin, and even the system (3) cannot be considered as Tungus, for it seems to be a translation of an alien system. In fact, the Tungus as many other ethnical groups count by bones and articulations (cf. amongst the Europeans the counting of months with 30 and 31 days). However, in the RTM system, as well as in Turn, and Lamut system for summer months we find some traces of the old Tungus system which was based upon the essential characteristics of the regions of Siberia, e.g. Om'ija — «the grass appears» (in May), Boyija — «the juicy pine bark» (in June), ku-lin elann'i the «snake (?) month» (in June). If these hints may be accounted as an evidence, the inference may be made that the Tungus prior to the appearance of the above indicated influences possessed a certain calendar based on the lunar months named according to the local characteristics of the seasons. This was a Northern Tungus system but in so far as it may be seen the old Pro-Tungus system cannot be restored. The Chinese system has received great diffusion through the Manchus and it has been adapted, conventionally «translated», by some distant groups (e.g. in Lam. and Lamut). The Uigur-Yakut system has also influenced the Tungus. The Buriat-Mongol and Russian-Latin system are recent influences.

* * *

The Tungus complex recognizes seasons which do not cover definite months.

SPRING. There seems to be no definite period or starting moment of the «spring». There are two words in some dialects (RTM) for designation of a period which may be called «spring». The stem nV7+suff. Ki: nulki (Khin), nelki (Mank), nalki (Ur. Mank. Castren), nelki (Turn.) (Neg. Sch), nilki (RTM), noltki (Neg. Sch.) designate the season when the snow begins to thaw. The stem nog (ja): nongja (RTM), noungi (Lam), n'ongn'on, nongn'on (Neg. Sch.) n'ongn'o (Goldi. Sch.), n'engn'er'i (Manchu Writ.) etc. designate the period when the grass appears. The stem and word or'ilasani (Ner.) [ovilassa=or'ilasani= ov'e-iaksani (Ang. Ner. Tit.)] designates early spring, when the snow is partly melted and the earth begin to be seen. Indeed, these are designations of the periods of the spring, but they are not «spring». In the records these names were sometimes identified as names of different months. So e.g. it was done by the missionaries, E. I. Titov referred nilki to «March», but nongnbn'i (Ang. Tit) to «June-July», which does not seem to be correct, for the period is called «summer» (vide infra). Such an identification is not correct. The etymology of these stems is difficult to find. Some parallels are probable but they are not at all sure. Naturally the beginning of the seasons greatly depends on the local climatic conditions and these cannot be referred to definite months of the year [100]. SUMMER. In so far as I know all Tungus dialects have the same stem for designation of the summer-season: juga with the suffixes — ni (n'i) and r'i (Manchu). The modifications are numerous: e.g. juyani(Ner. Bir.) juyen'i (Manchu Sp.) [cf. also juvemb 'e — «to spend the summer» (Manchu Sp.)], jua (Goldl, Sch.), dugan'i (Ner. Sch.) [101]. This season covers a vary-ing number of days depending on the local conditions. AUTUMN. In so far as I know there is only one stem used, — Bolo with suffixes n'i and r'i (Manchu). The variations are not interesting [102]. WINTER. In so far as I know there is only one stem — tuga, with variations similar to those of juga, «the summer», the most contracted form being found in Goldi tu.

Amongst the Birarchen the characteristics of the seasons are as shown:

The Spring — nolk'ini — begins when the snow begins to melt. There are two periods: the first ope nolk'ini ineni iren [the spring day comes out (proceeds) ]; kais'i (the period when the snow is off); deyi emeren (the birds arrive); olo kacin cinaka turaren (all kinds of small birds speak). The second one: orokto cotor-garan, abdanna oltargaran (the grass begins to become green and the leaves begin to come out); birakama olio soloron (small river fish go up stream).

The Summer — Juyani — begins with appearance of the insects during the first period when manmakta juren, irgakta juren (the mosquitoes come out, the gad flies appear); and the second period when orokto isomi ogdi odan, monin napcin iso'm ogdi oca (the grass in reaching big become the tree leaf in reaching big became), alla kacin kulikan juren (all kinds of «worms and snakes» are coming out,), cokomokta juren (the midges are coming out).

The Autumn — boloni — begins when bolor inengi iren (the autumnal day proceeds); s'iliksa g'iligdi odan (the dew cold becomes); abdanna sillaren (the leaves change colour), bojengga bungceran (the Cervus Elaphus cries); orokto olgoron (the grass becomes dry). The second period is when juka juren, tur tukseren (the ice comes out, the earth [soil] becomes cold). The third period is when emana tukillan (the snow falls down).

The Winter — tuyan'i — which begins about the middle of November, when g'iligdi odinji emanava do yilifkanen [with the extremely cold wind the snow is made to fly (like a bird)]; the second period is when turtan iren (the coldest period comes) [there are distinguished: ilan turtan odin (the three coldest winds»; tile third period is when buya n'amallan (the world becomes warm), dilaca okugdi odan (the sun hot becomes), inengi gonom odan (the day becomes long)].

As seen in this system the periods are distinguished with great detail, and are referred to the lunar months of the Chinese-Manchu system. I do not need to point out that this classification satisfies two requirements, — the correct characteristics of the seasons and periods and the aesthetic feeling of the Tungus.

From the above facts it may be seen that the distinction of seasons is well preserved amongst the Tungus groups and it is rather uniform. There are some other minor distinctions of the seasons, but they are not uniform, and one may see in them the influence of the change of vegetation and economic activity of the groups [103]. It may be supposed that in former days the Tungus groups possessed different system of designation of smaller units of the seasons but how far they coincided with the calendar, it is difficult to say. Yet, we have no data regarding the old Tungus calendar in the sense of counting years and months.

As shown the Tungus language possesses the word for «the year» (the stem anga, contracted in Manchu to an'a) but for counting age all Tungus groups have different terms, borrowed from the Manchus, Yakuts and Mongol-Buriats; for counting age of animals, they have distinct names for all important age groups of reindeer, and even wild cervines, as well as for horses and cows amongst the Tungus living on horse and cattle breeding. Indeed, such a particularism is not incidental. Among all Tungus groups it is common that the people do not know their exact age. The distinction of persons according to their social position and according to their, shall I say, physiological condition, -children, young people, adult people, elderly people, old people and very old, — suffice the Tungus for establishing their relations. The age in terms of years is not so much needed as it is in the European groups. Certainly it does not mean that the Tungus do not know the method of exact record and do not count years, months and days. They are very strict, and do it without mistake, when it is necessary. For instance, they sometimes make arrangements for meetings to take place several months after the agreement. To aid memory they would make a mark on a device, usually a wooden piece with the marks of days, months and years. Some of these are very complex but nevertheless can be read easily by the Tungus. The days of the new moon and Winter and Summer soltices are carefully observed.

98. The Birarchen would say the sun is Buga which creates the seasons. However, it will not be an identification of the celestial body with the spirit buga (vide infra). The sun is only one of the manifestations of buga. The summer is the mother, the winter is the father, the spring and autumn are daughter and son respectively. The Spring covers itself as a girl with flowers. The mother feeds all of them. Indeed, these are poetic metaphors and probably of not Tungus origin.

99. Kulin — is it not «snake»?

100. In the dictionary compiled by the missionaries in Enissy region, Spring (as adjective) is figured as bolen'i. I believe it is a mistake of the recorder.

101. In Lam. there has been recorded ireldu u «the summer», but I am not sure of this record.

102. In Lam. the autumn is recorded as mont'ahli, cf. also the name of the fourth summer month. I am not sure about the record.

103. For instance, the seasons distinguished are: turtan (Bir) — the period of the most intensive cold weather (according to the Chinese complex containing 9,3 days); siyilaya (RTM) — the season of the hunting of squirrel; cukalaja (RTM) — the season of the intensive growth of grass. I need not multiply instances.

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