The New Year According to Gregory

The decision that January 1st would mark the beginning of every new year was a political and religious move, particularly decided upon by the catholic church. Currently a large portion of the world adheres to the Gregorian solar arithmetical calendar in determining how they measure the passage of time.

Before the Gregorian calendar, a portion of the world followed the Julian calendar. The month of July is also derived from Julian. We give him a lot of credit. Apparently, from my minor google and google scholar search the move to the Gregorian reformed calendar all had to do with needing a consistent way to date the celebration of Easter. Sure, the world moves in a fluid way which leads to inconsistencies by our basic understanding but that doesn’t work for certain agendas.

For instance, it would be nice if the New Moons and Full Moons each happened once a month. However, the way the earth and moon rotate around the sun and each other doesn’t allow for that perfect packaged deal. The same can be said for the Vernal Spring Equinox. Its exact date is known to change at times. That doesn’t work too well for some religions where they used the equinox as a springboard to form their major holiday which is Easter. The savior couldn’t have risen on a changing date. His ascension needs to be consistent. Therefore rather than letting the natural order of nature show the passage of time, some people decided to supersede that so religion could take a precedent.

Some interesting tidbits I came across were…

1. The protestant reformation delayed the global wide acceptance of the gregorian calendar.

2. The last day of the julian calendar was Thursday, 4 October 1582 and this was followed by the first day of the Gregorian calendar, Friday, 15 October 1582. (This process is fairly new. Considering how old the earth is, its interesting how this new concept and new religion has systematically found ways to control most of our thought processes and understanding of the world at large.)

3. Japan replaced its traditional lunisolar calendar with the gregorian calendar on 1 January 1873.

4. The Islamic calendar is called the Hijri calendar and is based on the year the prophet and his fellow muslims emigrated to Madinah int he year 622 C.E. It is a lunar calendar. (why is it that we measure time by religious means?)

I don’t particularly celebrate most american holidays. Thanksgiving. Christmas. New Year. Easter. July 4th. to name a few. I celebrate the rotation of the moon. I celebrate the equinox and solstices. I celebrate myself. But saying happy new year at midnight so that the ascension of the savior is perfectly timed each year, just doesn’t appeal to me.

I wrote a little bit about this back in 2007, its simply titled, “Midnight”.

Islam 101
Mapping Time: the calendar and its history

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