Haida Calendar

The Haida people of the Haida Gwaii islands have a simple but interesting system of counting the months. An entire year is called a "cold," or, as we should say, a “winter,” and originally this was divided into two periods of six months each, with a thirteenth month intercalated between them.  In enumerating these to me they began with the summer series, recommencing their count with the winter series.

So in 2013 there are 12 moons, 2014 has 13 moons = a complete cycle of 25 moons every two years or 100 moons every 8 years or 500 moons every 40 years. 2015 has 12 moons and 2016 has 13 moons, and so on.

Quick formula to determine your age in moons.
Age (in years) x 365 (days) / 29.5 (days per moon) = number of lunar months old

The following shows how the 13 months and extra days of the Haida Calendar occur in relation to the dates of the Gregorian calendar:

Haida Calendar
Matching dates on Gregorian
Starts on Haida day 1
Ends on Haida day 28 (or 29)

Hlgidguun kongaas January 1January 28
Taan kongaasJanuary 29February 25
Xiid gyaasFebruary 26March 25*
Wiid gyaasMarch 26*April 22*
Gansgee 'laa kongaasApril 23*May 20*
Wa.aay gwaalgeeMay 21*June 17*

June (Leap Day)
Kong koaansJune 18July 15
Sgaana gyaasJuly 16August 12
K'iijaasAugust 13September 9
K'eed adiiSeptember 10October 7
K'algyaa kongaasOctober 8November 4
Jid kongaasNovember 5December 2
Kong gyaangaasDecember 3December 30
December 31 (Year Day)

*These Gregorian dates between March and June are a day earlier in a Gregorian leap year. March in the Haida Calendar always has a fixed number of days (28), and includes the Gregorian 29 February (on Gregorian leap years).

All the months look like this:

It is said in the Raven story that, when Raven had thrown the moon up into the sky, he called a dog and said to him, "Shall I make four moons ?" But the dog wanted to have six. Then Raven said to him, "What will you do when spring comes on (and the food is almost gone)?” And the dog said, “I will move my feet in front of my face,” as dogs are said to do when they are hungry. So Raven established six moons in each series.

At Massett the low tides are said not to have been named, but Raven gave names to two of the high tides in spring. The new-moon tide at the end of the first summer month was called "dune?", which signifies it was thought that deaths would always occur at this high tide. The high tide on the full moon following the above was called "Tl’ao a‘ninaas?", which probably means that the shell-fish were then deeply buried under the ocean, the one before the big one.” Raven ordained that this tide should be the highest.