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The calendar display scrolls automatically through time when you move out of the visible portion. You can also scroll it manually. Imagine that the calendar window contains a long strip of paper with the months on it. Scrolling the calendar means moving the strip horizontally, so that new months become visible in the window.
The most basic calendar scroll commands scroll by one month at a time. This means that there are two months of overlap between the display before the command and the display after. C-x < scrolls the calendar contents one month to the left; that is, it moves the display forward in time. C-x > scrolls the contents to the right, which moves backwards in time.
The commands C-v and M-v scroll the calendar by an entire "screenful"---three months--in analogy with the usual meaning of these commands. C-v makes later dates visible and M-v makes earlier dates visible. These commands take a numeric argument as a repeat count; in particular, since C-u multiplies the next command by four, typing C-u C-v scrolls the calendar forward by a year and typing C-u M-v scrolls the calendar backward by a year.
The function keys NEXT and PRIOR are equivalent to C-v and M-v, just as they are in other modes.