In “From the Book” Goldenstar discusses the significance of in-game people, places and things that were part of the book.
The Shire folks are so self-contained and feel separated from the rest of Middle Earth that they even have their own calendar that differs from the rest of the world.
The first year of the Shire Reckoning (SR) starts when the Shire was founded by Marcho and Blanco which was year 1601 of the Third Age. Basically the Shire Reckoning is figured by subtracting 1600 from the Third Age year. When Middle Earth declared the Third Age over and started at year one of the Fourth Age, the Hobbits didn’t see any reason to change their calendar and considered it the next year or year 1421 SR.
The Shire year was separated into 12 months each with 30 days that follow the lunar cycle. Five additional days were added for their holidays so their calendar is the typical 365 days in a year. There is also a leap day (called Overlithe) observed every four years.
They have their own names for the months of the year as well as for the days of the week. However, the dates and times given in the books generally follow the normal Gregorian Calendar. For example, they say Frodo and Bilbo’s birthday is September 22nd which is a date we easily understand.
For those interested, a very detailed description of Shire Reckoning and the Hobbit’s calendar, I suggest you take a visit to The Shire Calendar web site. They list all the names for the months and days and list a calendar with the observed Hobbit holidays on it.
This system is rarely used from what I’ve seen in LOTRO but if you read the books you will hear often of the “Shire Reckoning” or “SR” date. This is just further example of how detailed Tolkien made his world. There was no reason to create a separate Shire calendar that’s hardly used but he did and quite a bit of thought seems to have been added into it’s creation as well.
Update: For some reason I couldn’t stop reading about this subject and I have found a correction I need to make. I had said that Tolkien had created the names of the Shire months and after reading this article on the Oxford University Press I find that the amazing professor used old Anglo-Saxon texts for the name of the Hobbit months. It’s pretty interesting read I suggest you check the article out!
Have a question on why something in-game is the way it is? Have a in-game item that was in the book but not really mentioned in the movies? Send your questions and suggestions to Goldenstar!