Posts tagged ‘Gregorian calendar’

April 18, 2014

EASTER AND THE ANCIENT MYSTERY RELIGIONS

by eirenehogan

Great Eleusis ReliefMost ancient societies had a spring festival, to celebrate the ending of the cold winter and the beginning of the warmth again. With this warmth came the budding of new life, of plants, flowers, and often of the young of animals. In societies where food was dependent on an almost subsistence existence, ie, where your food depended on your own farm products, then spring was a very important time. Spring meant the growth of new food, both plant and animal. Without spring, all the food stores of winter would be very soon used up, and no more food would come. Without spring would be death.

In a pre scientific age, the most obvious explanation for the seasons were the whims of the gods. Something magic and other-world like would have to explain the seasons, what else would? The sun’s heat ranges from the heat of summer, then fades into the cold of winter. There would always be the fear that maybe one day the sun might not get hot again after winter, that it might continue to fade away and no warmth would return (“Winter is coming”).

Spring was seen as the rebirth of life, the rebirth of plants, and animals, and of the sun, and the very essence of life itself. In primitive societies, the rebirth was seen to be of the gods, or of a particular god or goddess who brought the rebirth of plants and animals with him/her. In ancient Egypt this god was Osiris and his associated Goddess, Isis. In ancient Greece the god Adonis was connected with it, as also was the Goddess Kore/Persephone, and the god Dionysus. In the ancient Near East there was the god Tammuz, who is mentioned in the Bible. These gods, by their discovery of rebirth, offered the secret of eternal life after death to humans. This could be gained by initiation ceremonies, which were often held in Spring, and involved a symbolic retelling of their myth of death and rebirth. The most famous one involved Persephone in the Eleusinian Mysteries of Athens.

When Christianity became the dominant religion in the Roman Empire the festival of the rebirth of Jesus Christ (Easter) took on many of the aspects of these mystery religions.

January 16, 2014

Eastern Orthodox New Year

by eirenehogan

14th January, 2014, is new year according to the Eastern Orthodox church, or some of them, which has kept the Julian calendar – or a version of it –  instead of taking on the Gregorian calendar, which was introduced in 1582.

 

The Julian calendar had been introduced by Julius Caesar and added the leap year to make up 0.25 of a day each year was out.  But the year was actually out by 0.2425 of a day, ie, slightly LESS than a quarter of a day.  By the 1500s this meant the calendar was out by 10 days, and more importantly, meant Easter, which was meant to be celebrated at the time of the Spring equinox, was out, and so the reforms were brought in.

 

But while Catholic countries took it up quickly (as Gregory was the Pope) Protestant and Orthodox countries were suspicious of it.  It wasn’t taken up in England until 1752.

 

The Orthodox churches didn’t take it up within their church, although the countries did slowly adopt it as their civil calendar.  Russia took it up finally in 1918 (ie, after the revolution) and Greece did not take it up until 1923.  That’d be right, the Greeks never did like the Romans.

 

While most countries in the world have taken it up, some still have not, including – according to Wikipedia – Saudi ArabiaEthiopiaNepalIran and Afghanistan

The Postgrad Chronicles

Medieval History from Alfred the Great to The Battle of Castillon

%d bloggers like this: