I was inspired by to create a unique calendar for toki pona. I enjoyed the idea of using animals and elements to form calendar names; however, why follow the Chinese convention when we have animal names of our own? You would have to write <<tenpo sike pi akesi suli seli>> to say simply "Year of the Fire Dragon." It seems too long and cluttered, when <<tenpo akesi>> alone could suffice.
We have seven animals, in order of evolution (roughly):
pipi - bug - p.*
kala - fish - l.*
kasi - plant - i.*
akesi - snake - a.*
waso - bird - w.*
soweli - beast - s.*
jan - man - j.*
*I added possible abbreviations that could be used.
We also have several "elements", alphabetically:
jaki - dirt - j.
ko - paste - k.
kon - air - o.
ma - earth - m.
mani - money - n.
seli - fire - l.
sona - wise - s.
suwi - sweet - i.
telo - water -t.
unpa - sex - p.
utala - war - u.
wawa - power - w.
This creates a combination of 84 years. (Instead of a few elements and many animals, I used many elements and few animals -- it minimizes the number of words needed.) If we start with 2001, the year when toki pona began, as Dirt Bug Time (tenpo pipi jaki, or tenpo pj.), then that would make 2011, Paste Plant Time (tenpo kasi ko, or tenpo ik.). I was born in 1993, or War Man Time (tenpo jan utala, or tenpo ju.).
As for the seasons, we could use colors...
jelo - j. - summer (yellow for the sun) = Jun/Jul/Aug
loje - l. - fall (red for autumn leaves) = Sep/Oct/Nov
walo - w. - winter (white for snow) = Dec/Jan/Feb
laso - s. - spring (blue for water / green for plants) = Mar/Apr/May
...and then we could count the three months:
mun pi nanpa wan pi tenpo pipi jaki loje (September 2011)
Literally, first month in Dirt Bug Time autumn
mun pi nanpa tu pi tenpo pipi jaki loje (October 2011)
Literally, second month in Dirt Bug Time autumn
mun pi nanpa tu wan pi tenpo pipi jaki loje (November 2011)
Literally, third month in Dirt Bug Time autumn
If the year is assumed, you could simply state "mun pi nanpa wan pi tenpo loje" = September. We could also abbreviate it as "mun pnW. pi tl." (Sept.) or "mun pnW. pi tpjl." (Sept. 2011). Getting rid of the pis, nanpas, and tenpos are also possible if we understand that they are calendar names in context: mun wan loje / mWl. (September)
As for the days, counting to 31 could work (mute luke luke wan or MLLW), but I will leave that open for now. Perhaps we could count by weeks ("Monday of the third week") but that would require some maneuvering. For now, how do you feel about this month/year system. We can work on more of toki pona calendars after we establish year and month names.
To get a feel of how this calendar would work, here are some significant historical dates and how they'd be written:
Christmas - December 25
suno mute luko pi mun tu wan walo (sML mTWw.)
America's Independence - July 4, 1776
suno tu tu pi mun wan jan mani jelo (sTT mWjnj.)
End year of WWII - 1945
tenpo pipi seli (tpl.)
If we needed to clarify that 1776 were not actually 1944 nor 2028 (all Money Man Times, if my math is right) then perhaps we could start counting each rotation of 84 years. There is still a lot of work to do, but I feel this is a good blueprint to start with.