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The '''[[Coptic]] calendar''', also called the '''Alexandrian Calendar''', is used by the Coptic Orthodox Church. It is based on the Ancient [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egyptian_calendar Egyptian calendar]. To avoid the calendar creep of the
latter, a reform of the Ancient Egyptian calendar was introduced at the time of Ptolemy III (Decree of Canopus, in 238 BC) which consisted in the intercalation of a 6th epagomenal (auxiliary) day every fourth year. However, this reform was opposed by the Egyptian priests, and the idea was not adopted until 25 BC, when the Roman Emperor Augustus formally reformed the calendar of Egypt, keeping it forever synchronized with the newly introduced Julian calendar. To distinguish it from the Ancient Egyptian calendar, which remained in use by some astronomers until medieval times, this reformed calendar is known as the Coptic calendar. Its years and months coincide with those of the [[Ethiopian calendar]] [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethiopian_calendar] but have different Amharic names.
==The Coptic year==
The Coptic year is the extension of the ancient Egyptian civil year, retaining its subdivision into the three seasons, four months each. The three seasons are commemorated by special prayers in the Coptic Liturgy. This calendar is still in use all over Egypt by farmers to keep track of the various agricultural seasons. The Coptic calendar has 13 months, 12 of 30 days each and an intercalary month at the end of the year of 5 or 6 days, depending whether the year is a leap year or not. The year starts on [[August 29|29 August]] in the Julian Calendar or on the 30th in the year before (Julian) Leap Years. The Coptic Leap Year follows the same rules as the Julian Calendar so that the extra month always has six days in the year before a Julian Leap Year.
The Feast of Neyrouz marks the first day of the Coptic year. Its celebration falls on the 1st day of the month of Thout, the first month of the Coptic year, which for AD 1901 to 2098 usually coincides with [[September 11|11 September]], except before a Gregorian leap year when it's [[September 12]]. Coptic years are counted from AD 284, the year [[Diocletian]] became Roman Emperor, whose reign was marked by tortures and mass executions of Christians, especially in Egypt. Hence, the Coptic year is identified by the abbreviation A.M. (for ''Anno Martyrum'' or "Year of the Martyrs"). The A.M. abbreviation is also used for the unrelated Jewish year (''Anno Mundi'').
:Thout also known as Tout is the first month of the Coptic calendar. It lies between [[September 11]] and [[October 10]] of the Gregorian calendar. The month of Thout is also the first month of the Season of 'Akhet' (Inundation) in Ancient Egypt, where the Nile floods cover the land of Egypt. The name of the month of Thout comes from Thot, the Ancient Egyptian God of Wisdom.
:Paopi also known as Baba is the second month of the Coptic calendar. It lies between [[October 11]] and [[November 10]] of the Gregorian calendar. The month of Paopi is also the second month of the Season of 'Akhet' (Inundation) in Ancient Egypt, where the Nile floods cover the land of Egypt. The name of the month of Paopi comes from Hapy, the Ancient Egyptian Nile God.