The year was a ceremonial baton, that represented the passing of the year from the Queen of Snow to the Queen of Sunrise during the Spring Equinox, and vice versa during the Autumn Equinox. Although its purpose was metaphorical, its presence in the Land of Holly and Hawthorn did have applications to the seasons of Gielinor.
During the 2011 Easter Event, known as Holly and Hawthorn, the Year was stolen by the Queen of Snow, who did not understand why people enjoyed the coming of spring because she can only see winter-aligned things and spring and summer time are black emptiness when not in the Land of Snow. Players destroyed an Evil holly tree and received a fake year. The true year had to be obtained by gathering keys from spirits and carving a sculpture for the Queen of Snow, so that she can see the beauty of it in ice, in order to convince her.