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Gates of Summer

The Gates of Summer was a great feast held in Gondolin when the Gondolindrim sang as the Sun rose.

It was upon the morning of this feast that Morgoth's armies attacked Gondolin, beginning the (in)famous Fall of Gondolin.[1][2]

Other versions of the Legendarium

In early versions of the Legendarium, more details are provided about the feast: Tarnin Austa (meaning "Gates of Summer" in Gnomish, an older draft of Sindarin) was held on the first day of summer. It was custom to begin a solemn ceremony at midnight, continuing it until dawn of Tarnin Austa. No-one could speak from midnight to daybreak, but upon the rising of the Sun they would burst into ancient songs, with choirs standing upon the eastern wall. At that time the city was filled with silver lamps, and lights of jeweled colors hung on the branches of the new-leaved trees.[3]

In the early 1920s as Tolkien continued to evolve his ideas of Gnomish phonology, vocabulary, and plural-formation, he changed the name of the festival to Ternin Awest[4]:153 (or Ennyn Awest) in the Noldorin Word-lists, with the festival's Qenya name being Andonavestan.[4]:143 In his c. 1923 Noldorin Dictionary, Tolkien further emended Ternin to Teirn,[4]:160 reflecting his next conception for pluralizing tarn "gate".[4]:153


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Shaping of Middle-earth, "III. The Quenta: [Section] 16", p. 144
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, pp. 172, 211, 347
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 J.R.R. Tolkien, "The Alphabet of Rúmil & Early Noldorin Fragments", in Parma Eldalamberon XIII (edited by Carl F. Hostetter, Christopher Gilson, Arden R. Smith, Patrick H. Wynne, and Bill Welden)