Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Thoughts on Calendars and Time

In an earlier post I made reference to the fact that time, and calendars, change. Today, with the 434th anniversary of the introduction of the Gregorian calendar, it seems that Google is catching up to my quick aside.

The Gregorian Calendar was pushed on the world by the Pope. It's not
the calendar used in some other countries, but it forms the basis of
time keeping in the USA and Europe. 

I was raised with two different calendars at my fingertips, although I never quite understood the second one. For many years I received a Hebrew calendar as a gift from my relatives in Tel Aviv. I was always fascinated by it and usually had the two calendars hanging either next to each other or on opposing walls. I don't recall when I stopped receiving them, I suspect I was in my high school years.  The Hebrew calendar is based on a lunar cycle with an extra month added every 2-3 years to bring things back into sync.

The Jewish calendar of my youth was always
interesting to me. They usually didn't have pretty
pictures, though, so were merely an oddity in my life. 

Time is a construct, a framework into which we plug the events of our lives. Mother Nature changes the seasons somewhat regularly, but how mankind tracks the passage of time varies from culture to culture and government to government. For instance, time, which most of us consider moving around from GMT for the purposes of navigation, can also be changed at a whim. In the USA we change time in most places in the nation twice a year for Daylight Saving Time. In North Korea, the clocks are 30 minutes behind the rest of the world because Kim Jong-Un decided to change the national time in August, 2015. He rules the country. He can do that.

There is always the option of using the Hanke-Henry Permanent
Calendar. This adds an extra week to the year every 5-6
years to bring things back into sync. The third month of
every three has 31 days, the first two have 30. 

So time as a construct can change on the whim of a person, and calendars can be structured differently depending on how they assign months and dates. Think about your personal time and calendar. Although I keep my basic calendar according to the Western ideas of calendars (and indeed, have them all over my house because I love calendar art), my personal calendar is a bit different.

Here's an interesting calendar. The opening is moved to show meats and
other foods available and appropriate for the particular month. The Cook's
Calendar starts with Venison and ends with Apple for the month
of December. I think I know friends who would enjoy a calendar like this. 

My calendar is more seasonal - a long winter, a short spring and autumn, a reasonable-length summer. It also has different dates of importance on it - family birthdays, family death anniversaries. My pathway through time moves through with a bit less precision than the Gregorian, although my days are still 24 hours in length. My holidays tend more to the lunar and solar and basically, I celebrate when I feel like a celebration.

Let's not forget that calendars existed long before the
Gregorian calendar in general use today. This is the Aztec
calendar. There was also an extremely accurate calendar
used by the Mayan people who predated the Aztecs and
lived a bit farther south. Calendars
are not exclusive to "Western" society and each one
holds its own beauty. 

Reading through today's post is a bit convoluted, but time itself swirls within the construct of stability. I hope you have a wonderful Tuesday. Enjoy celebrating the Gregorian calendar today.

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