Posts tagged ‘new year’

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

January 4, 2014

THE EGYPTIAN CALENDAR

by eirenehogan

I have noticed I have a couple of followers on this blog.  Wow, thanks for that.  I think therefore I should post some more.

I’ve been reading a lot on calendars over the Yule period, and it is very complicated.  I will attempt to post more on it as time goes on.  But anyway, for now is some more info on the Egyptian calendar.

 

Bede wrote a fascinating book on how the year and the months were calculated according the movement of the sun, the moon and the planets.  It is a collection of the knowledge of the ancients that he could get a hold of.  It is called The Reckoning of Time (or the Latin thereof).  In it he examines ancient calendars, the Roman calendar and the Anglo-Saxon calendar.  You can access it from Google Books, and I have linked the above title to that.

 

Below I have transcribed the Egyptian calendar as he recorded it.  The dates of the beginning are according to the Roman calendar, and therefore ours – well, taking into account how often that calendar was out.  The months did not begin exactly on those days but give or take a day or so according to how accurately both the Egyptian and the Roman calendar reflected the actual cycle of the sun at the time.

 

Interesting to note that they had leap years.  I don’t know what era this calendar belongs too.  To say something is ‘Ancient Egyptian’ allows for about 3000 years of time.  As Bede has access to the info I’d assume it comes from Greek/Roman writers who had access to such places as the Alexandrian Library. Now as the Roman calendar dates are given, I am assuming this calendar was in force during Roman times.  Yeah, more research needed here.

 

 

Months

 

Name of month

Date of Roman Calendar when month begins

Thoth 29 August
Phaophi 28 Sept
Hathyr 29 Oct
Choiac 27 Nov
Tybi 27 Dec
Mecheir 26 Jan
Phamenoth 25 Feb
Pharmouhti 27 Mar
Pachons 26 April
Payni 26 May
Epieph 25 June
Mesore 25 July
5 intercalated days / 6 every four years 24 Aug

 

From:

The Reckoning of Time, By Saint Bede (the Venerable).

Trans. Faith Wallis, 1999,

Liverpool University Press,

viewed from GOOGLE Books (viewed 3.1.14)

p. 45.

 

December 30, 2013

Ancient Egyptian New Year – 20th july

by eirenehogan

The Ancient Egyptians had twelve 30 day months, divided into 3 ten day weeks.  At the end of the year they had an extra 5 day week to make up the year.

Early Egyptologists believed that a tablet from the First Dynasty showed Egyptians had linked the rising of the Sirius star as the beginning of the year – which was in mid July. However closer analysis of the tablet puts doubt on this.  Also, mid July was when the Nile began to flood and was first seen in the capital of Egypt, Memphis (near modern Cairo).  Surely this is a much more likely reason for it to be the beginning of the Egyptian year.

The modern date given for the Ancient Egyptian beginning of the year is 20 July.

 

 

 

 

 

(source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egyptian_calendar)

December 20, 2013

What truly is the “true” meaning of 25th December?

by eirenehogan

Christians haven’t quite got a handle on ‘multiculturalism’ as yet, have they?

 

I received some messages on my Facebook page from relatives and sometimes friends, who speak of the “true meaning of Christmas”.  Now I have a lot of respect for these relatives and friends, but I do get irritated by those statements, such as:

 

Jesus is the reason for the season.

 

Keep the Christ in Christmas

 

Christ is the true meaning of Christmas

 

And such.  Yuck!

 

It irritates me because I am not a believer in the religion of Christians.  In fact I don’t believe in any god and so therefore I do believe that Christianity is just one religion among many.  You choose, for whatever reason, to believe in a god and so choose a religion.  No religion is better than any other religion.

 

As I said, Christians haven’t got a handle on multiculturalism as yet.  Or rather, they don’t have a handle on secularism.  And Australia is secular, it is in our constitution and was an aim of the place from its original colonisation.  Thanks to the Age of Enlightenment in 18th century England.

 

Secularism means even if you believe your God is the one true God, you don’t force it onto others.  If others don’t believe it, they are entitled to NOT believe.

 

So this returns to the idea of the true meaning of Christmas.  Christians seem to want to refuse to allow us to celebrate the end of the year with a party and being nice to each other and happy and maybe giving gifts to others as a token of our love and generosity.  They seem to think that if we are NOT Christian, we aren’t allowed to do that.  Well, you know, if Jesus and his Dad ARE real, then I’d think they would see us secularists acting like that as rather nice and kind and maybe we’d get a good tick next to our name.  And even if he doesn’t, who cares?  Only those who believe care.  Those of us who don’t are happy being nice and kind to our community, regardless.

 

 

Do Christians have it right when they claim Christmas as theirs and theirs alone?

 

OK, the word ‘Christmas’ presumably means ‘Christ’s Mass’ so I guess the actual festivity of  “Christmas” does belong to Christ and the his followers.

 

But does that mean we non-believers are not allowed to have an end of year celebration where we relax and give gifts etc?

 

By non-believers I mean all of those who worship a different god and all of those who worship no god, ie, everyone else who is not Christian.

 

The so-called Christmas tree, the candles, the Christmas dinner, the hymns, Santa Claus and even the gift giving are not actually part of the original Christmas festival.

 

A mid-winter festival is a common festival in many, if not most, if not all, human societies through out history.

OK, we don’t concern ourselves these days over whether the sun will return or not, but we still enjoy an end of year celebration; in fact I would say we NEED to have an end of year celebration.  We need time to relax, to chill out, to take stock, to make resolutions and plans for the new year, to assess what we achieved in this year, or what we did not, to spend time with our family, to mark the passing of time, to just have a rest. Imagine life without it.  Imagine trudging off to work endlessly with no break.

 

So I guess for many the day is really a new year celebration, but for historical reasons it is the Christians holy day.  Maybe we should stop calling it “Christmas” and recognise it for what it is, an end of year celebration.   Maybe we should transfer it to New Year?  Or maybe the whole week from 25th Dec to Jan 1st is an end of year/beginning of year celebration.  Maybe we could call it the Close of the Year and Jan 1st the Opening of the year?

 

So I will accept that “Christmas” is a Christian festival, but the end of year celebration is not.  Christians can celebrate their day how they wish, but the rest of society is allowed to have its end of year party too.

 

 

 

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