Primstav or rimstav is a flat, rod-shaped calendar made of wood. From Møre we also know the name ring rod, because the otherwise straight rod there was oval shaped. The calendar is perpetual (cyclical) because it does not include moving holidays.
Origin and use
The name primstav is related to the Latin expressions prima and primatia lunee, and the Norse word prim. The first word in the sense of golden number, which is the number of the year in the 19-year lunar cycle. The next two in the sense of the moon's re-ignition. Golden numbers rarely occur on Scandinavian prime bars. And the word prim is the Norse word for new moon.
The prim staff probably originates from the even older rune calendar, which is known since the 13th century, but may well be even older. From Norway we know about 650 prim rods, which are dated from the end of the 15th century until the beginning of the 19th century. The prim staff was in use until it became common with printed almanacs. After the Reformation, the original meaning of many signs associated with Catholic saints was forgotten. The anniversaries were often associated with weather signs or reminders about farming, for example, the weather on the winter day (October 14) was used as a warning of the weather for the winter and October 28 was called "beacon" because it heralded the winter.
The prim rod is typical of Norway and Denmark. The Danish prim rod can sometimes have bar numbers for marking the new phase of the moon. A similar calendar from Sweden is described as a rune rod and stands out in that the days are marked with the rune row. Some similar calendars are not known from Iceland, but the Danish barcode type is known from Germany and Central Europe.
Design and marking
The prim rod was usually a flat and elongated piece of wood 50-80 cm in length and 4-6 cm in width. There are also several examples of oval frame-like primers. The prim rod has two sides (the ring rod an oval top and bottom) with calendar drawings. The summer page is valid from 14 April to 13 October. Winter side from October 14 to April 13. After this division, the midwinter day fell on 14 January and the midsummer day on 14 July. On the prim rod, the days are marked with a line or a notch, and holidays and anniversaries are marked with special signs or figures. Some stakes also have weekly markings, and some have a night watch before certain holidays.
The prim rod marks are stylized line figures which in part are also used in boom marks from Norwegian farmers, e.g. ax, arrow, cross and twig.
Anniversaries on the Norwegian prim staff
The anniversaries of the primate are probably a mixture of pagan and Christian anniversaries, although the latter are now in the majority. The anniversaries can have different names. These are separated by commas in the brand name column. Each anniversary also has its own brand, which can also vary. The variants are separated by commas in the column for prime markers.
Brynjulf Alver: Day and brand: folk time and anniversary tradition Oslo 1970, New edition: Bergen 1981
Hans Cappelen. "Boomer marks in Norway - an overview", in Anders Bjønnes et al. (ed.): Seal drawings from the tributes in Norway 1591 and 1610, published by the Norwegian Genealogical Society, Oslo 2010
Audun Dybdahl: The primate in the light of the cult of saints: origin, form, function and symbolism. Tapir, 2011. ISBN 978-82-519-2564-8
Randi Ekrem (1992). Primstaven: traditions and anniversaries. Ålesund: R. Ekrem. ISBN 8299269105.
K. and Jon Haukanes. Seal and boom mark from Hardanger, Oslo 1944
Amund Helland: «Old Norwegian time calculus and the primate», in Topographical-statistical description of Bratsberg county. First part. Kristiania: Aschehoug, 1900, pp. 476–501.
Norvald Losnegard. Primstaven: gamle minne- og merkedagar 1999 Setesdalsforlaget ISBN 82-91820-47-3
L. Streams. Boom mark from Sunnmøre, Oslo 1943
Description of the prim rod
Kaare Hovind's primstavarkiv is available at NTN