Celebrating the New Year 0 – Day 0

15 December 2012

Reclaiming the New Year from ball dropping to proper Saturnalian debauchery.

New Year’s celebrations are the largest festival in many cultures, and it must be said that they fall short in the Americas. Holidays such as Canadian Christmas, US Thanksgiving, and Mexican Easter are celebrated with greater verve than the ringing in of the New Year. What a pity.

In reclaiming this holiday, and looking back to its origins, theAbysmal Calendar is well suited to properly ring in the New Year old schoole.

[Check the Myth of the Eternal Return for source material]

also see Myth of the Year a series regarding the symbolism of 13 months (or days, or weeks)

Out with the Old, in with the Big Bang

The New Year buries the old year, and welcomes the new. I know, huge revelation, right? It explains why we use the image of the wizened elder handing off the scepter to the newborn babe to signify the flipping of calendars. The hourglass is a typical device to signify the last moments slipping away, and the scythe is the inevitability of the end of all things, including the year, and thus time. I have no idea about the top hat.

…the essential thing is that everywhere a conception of the end and the beginning of a temporal period, based on the observation of biocosmic rhythms and forming part of a larger system – the system of periodic purifications (cf. purges, fasting, confession of sins, etc.) and of the periodic regeneration of life. This need for a periodic regeneration seems to us of considerable significance in itself. ..a periodic regeneration of time presupposes… – and especially in the historical civilizations – a new Creation, that is, a repetition of the cosmogonic act. And this conception of a periodic creation, i.e., of the cyclical regeneration of time, poses the problem of the abolition of ‘history’… –Mircea Eliade, the Myth of the Eternal Return

A few points I’d like to look at in the above passage. The first is that the end/beginning of the temporal period is based on biocosmic rhythms. That would be something like the New Moon to ring in the Chinese New Year, the Sun passing in front of the constellation of Aries to mark the South and Southeast Asian New Year, or the Vernal Equinox for the Persians. What of January 1st? As far as my research has been able to reveal, it has nothing to do with anything. It may have, long ago when the Romans followed a lunar calendar, but the date has no significance in the biocosmic order of things. theAbysmal Calendar’s New Year falls on the Southern Solstice (winter in the northern hemisphere, summer in the southern), which returns us from the meaningless January 1st date to something biocosmically significant, and certainly part of a larger system (call it ethno-astronomy).

The second point, dealing with purifications, is based in culture, but there is a tradition associated with the Winter Solstice which symbolizes the regeneration of life. It originates (according to Eliade) with the phases of the Moon, where the Moon was thought to die at the New Moon, and then rise again through it’s apex at the Full Moon, and then wane back to renew itself. The cycle of birth, growth, life, and death, as seen in the celestial rodoscope. So with the Sun through the Year. For those between the Tropics, the Sun’s path across the sky moves from overhead at noon on a particular day (depending on the latitude of the observer), then northward from day to day until it reaches the Northern Tropic, then it makes its return journey south, passes overhead at noon, then continues south until it passes directly over the Southern Tropic.

Analemma – the position of the Sun at the same time of day throughout the year.

To the observers in the higher latitudes outside the Tropics, the Sun appears to fall lower and lower towards the horizon as it approaches the winter solstice. At the winter solstice, the sun reaches its lowest point, and appears to do so for 3 days. After this, it gains altitude from day to day, until it reaches its highest point at the summer solstice.

In the northern hemisphere, the winter solstice reaches its lowest point on or about December 21st, sits there for 3 days, and rises again on December 25th. See? The Sun (son) is reborn (born) on December 25th. This is the myth of Easter as well as Christmas combined. I’m not sure why Easter’s mythology was shifted to the Vernal Equinox. Maybe to contend with all the fertility rituals the pagans were involved in (you didn’t think rabbits and eggs was really about chocolate did you? that’s just to distract the children from all the adult entertainment in the air).

The point here is that the Winter Solstice is an event that represents death and rebirth.

For the southern hemisphere, where this time is the Summer Solstice, the celebrations are based on the Sun’s highest point to the North, and to celebrate its apex.

The last point is that of a periodic recreation. Celebrations in many cultures are repetitions of creation stories, either acted out, or what have you. Given the wide variety of creation myths, theAbysmal might do better to leave that up to each community to decide. The idea of properly sketching out a story of the Big Bang (as opposed to the factual description – informative but boring as all get out) may do well. If told properly, the act of participating in the story is not so much a retelling, so much as a transformation of participants to the point of creation. Since creation is outside of time, and proper storytelling it outside of time, the two occur in the same place outside of time. Neato.

don’t believe me? (and why would you, this is a blog after all):

…the beliefs, held almost everywhere, according to which the dead return to their families…at the New Year season… (during the twelve days between Christmas and Epiphany) signify the hope that the abolition of time is possible at this mythical moment, in which the world is destroyed and recreated.

Twelve Days of Christmas? Hell no. The 13 Days of theAbysmal!

It is also because the New Year repeats the cosmogonic act that the twelve days between Christmas and Epiphany are still regarded today as a prefiguration of the twelve months of the year.”

  1. the twelve intermediate days prefigure the twelve months of the year;
  2. during the twelve corresponding nights, the dead come in a procession to visit their families…’
  3. it is at this period that fires are extinguished and rekindled; and finally
  4. this is the moment of initiations… [In this same mythico-ceremonial complex of the end of the past year and the beginning of the New Year, we must also include the following facts:]
  5. ritual combats between two opposing groups; and
  6. presence of the erotic element (pursuit of girls, “Gandharvic” marriages, orgies…)

I’m all for orgies at New Year’s (that’s where all the drinking comes from – and the carousing, let us not forget the carousing). The UFC has begun to hold large events at the end of the year to coincide with New Year (a tradition begun by a now-defunct Japanese predecessor, PRIDE) – for those who don’t know, the UFC is the biggest promotion for Mixed Martial Arts competition. Today also marks the first day in the UFC’s 19 year history when they have had two events on the same day (although one is in Australia, and aired in North America’s yesterday). The UFC’s official New Year’s event takes place on Saturday Dec 29th.

However, the point I want to focus on is the first, the prefiguring of the New Year. theAbysmal is well set up for this. Here are the 13 Days of the New Year:

Each day in this series prefigures a month in the upcoming year. Today, for example, as Day 0, represent the 28 Days of Month 0, which runs from Dec 22nd to Jan 18th inclusive. If you have a great day today, that bodes well for the first month of the year. If you have difficulty getting around, well, it might be best to stay at home that month. Something like that. The principle idea is that this is a microcosm of the upcoming year (and of the 13 days of creation, whatever those are).

Because the number 13 works throughout theAbysmal Calendar, these 13 days might also prefigure the 13 weeks of the first quarter of the year. Why not?

Day 0 of the New Year

Equivalent to Month 0 (Dec 22nd to Jan 18th), Week 0 of Quarter 0 (Sat Dec 22nd to Fri Dec 28th)

Day 0 of Creation

In terms of creation, in the most general sense, this is the moment when all that is necessary for the potential to be present, and spill over into the kinetic, moving forward into the act of creation, whether it be human gestation, birth, and growth; evolution of life on earth; birth of the Sun and solar system; birth of the Milky Way; creation of the Universe.

In each case, it’s the progression from void, to chaos, to cosmos – disorganized and generalized, to organized and complex (screw you 2nd law of thermodynamics).

So, for theAbysmal Calendar, Day 0 is the day of balance, the infinitesimal countless moment when the universe sits on the head of a pin (so to speak).

Symbolism

For this day 0, the symbol that most appropriate suits it, is mu, the Japanese zen symbol that represents non-being.


Chromatic: Year 0 Lunation 0 Day —
Lunar: Year 0 Lunation 0 Day 2
Annual: Year — Month — Day —


Happy New Year שנה טובה ומבורכת

16 September 2012

Happy New Year – Rosh Hashanah.

The Hebrew Lunisolar calendar begins at sunset at the New Moon. The Hebrew calendar is one of the longer continuous running calendar still in use. It combines 12 lunar months of fixed duration, with an additional month added. The calendar itself is organized into six different years: 12 lunar month years, and 13 lunar month years. The regular years are 354 days and 384 days in the 12 and 13 lunar month years respectively. There are deficient years, 353 and 383 days each, and full years, 355 and 385 days. This system keeps the lunar months roughly in line with the lunar cycles.

The Hebrews, as one source of the seven-day week – based on the seven days of creation in the Book of Genesis in the Bible – have long had the week as part of their time reckoning. The rest of us have been catching up ever since.

96 Days to Dec 21st 2012


Happy New Year

11 September 2012

Copts, Egyptians, Ethiopeans, Eritreans

Happy New Year to the folks in the Horn of Africa & Egypt!

The calendar used by these folks is based on the ancient Egyptian calendar, which divides the year into 12 months 0f 30 days, with 5 days (6 in a leap year) which fall outside the months. As with most calendars in the world, it has adopted a version of the 7~day week. The Egyptian calendar had used a 10~day week, three per month.

Although I have had the pleasure of working with people from Ethiopea, I still know little about the country. The most widespread contribution they’ve had to world culture is coffee, and for that, I am grateful. Happy New Year!

101 Days to Dec 21st 2012


Happy Day Out of Time

25 July 2012

New Year for the 13 Moon Law of Time Calendar

The Day Out of Time is the New Year Day for the Law of Time‘s 13 month calendar (same structure as theAbysmal, just aligned to the year differently). It also uses the number/glyph system from the Maya tzolkin, although it is not a version of the Maya Calendar. It has spread throughout the Americas and has a significant following.

This is the calendar system that Jose Arguelles developed to replace the gregorian. It’s a 13-month calendar. It inserts a leap year day on the day equal to February 29th. It also renames the weekdays (Dali, Seli, Gamma, Kali, Alpha, Limi, Silio). Most significantly is the comprehensive strategy the movement has developed, which foregrounds indigenous culture, environmental issues, and living harmoniously in the world in and around us. Certainly noble goals.

This system is what got me interested in calendars in the first place, but after delving into it for some time, it left me unsatisfied. Too many new age trappings for my taste. I didn’t feel it appealed broadly enough, in no small part because the New Year occurs as per the heliacal rising of Sirius, which may have been important to the Egyptians, but has very little significance to the world at large.

Nevertheless, starting from scratch and developing new weekdays, a new new year, and a different way of looking at time is as good a way to reform our global calendar as any.

They also assign adjectives instead of the numbers 1-13 to the months. As I’ve written before I find applying words, images, and ideas to the aspects of the calendar far more telling than simply numbering them. The progression from magnetic to cosmic is meant to follow a certain development and expansion of consciousness.

Along with the 13 month structure, there is the 260-day structure, which follows the same 13 numbers (magnetic-cosmic), as well as 20 glyphs (dragon to sun) and four colours (representing the cardinal directions).

Start at the top left and follow the series down. The first, colour: red, number 1: magnetic, glyph: dragon = red magnetic dragon. The second is white lunar wind, next is blue electric night, and so on, down to the final of the series in the bottom right corner yellow cosmic sun.

Today’s day out of time is white rhythmic mirror (number 58 in the image above).

So to all the Law of Timers, happy new year.

149 Days to Dec 21st 2012


Happy Armenian New Year

24 July 2012

A traditional Calendar evolved from Egypt?

The Armenian calendar, traditionally used prior to the arrival of the Julian calendar, uses the same structure as the Egyptian calendar. It has 12 months of 30 days each, with the 5 extra days added at the end of the year. It does not have a leap year rule, such that the New Year begins a day earlier every 4 years or so. This takes a full 1460 years (4 x 365) to come full circle. This year, July 24th 2012 marks the first year of a new cycle of 1460 years. The Calendar began 11 July 552 A.D. (as per the Julian Calendar).

I can’t say how much this calendar is in use today, however, there are few calendars in use that ignore the leap year and don’t bother to try to keep the calendar aligned with the seasons (the Mayan Haab is another). That in and of itself makes it noteworthy.

Another interesting trait is that the Armenians don’t number the 30 days of the month, they name them. This would be equivalent to us naming weekdays and months instead of using numbers as we do for days of the month. At any rate, the names of the months  are:

  1. Nawasard (begins today)
  2. Hoṙi
  3. Sahmi
  4. Trē
  5. Kʿałocʿ
  6. Aracʿ
  7. Mehekan
  8. Areg
  9. Ahekan
  10. Mareri
  11. Margacʿ
  12. Hroticʿ (5 leftover days)

It appears that the calendar was influenced by Zoroastrian changes to the Egyptian calendar. However, it seems that some Armenians celebrate the New Year at the vernal equinox, which is the same time the Zoroastrians, Persians, and Bahai do (although their calendars are structured somewhat differently). Nevertheless, it is yet one more variation on the theme.

These are the names of the 30 days of the month.

  1. Areg
  2. Hrand
  3. Aram
  4. Margar
  5. Ahrank’
  6. Mazdeł
  7. Astłik
  8. Mihr
  9. Jopaber
  10. Murç
  11. Erezhan
  12. Ani
  13. Parxar
  14. Vanat
  15. Aramazd
  16. Mani
  17. Asak
  18. Masis
  19. Anahit
  20. Aragac
  21. Gorgor
  22. Kordi
  23. Cmak
  24. Lusnak
  25. C̣rōn
  26. Npat
  27. Vahagn
  28. Sēin
  29. Varag
  30. Gišeravar

 

150 Days to Dec 21st 2012


Happy New Years to South and Southest Asia

14 April 2012

Happy New Year in Assam, Bengal, Orissa, Manipur, Punjab, Tamil Nadu; Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Nepal and Thailand.

South Asia has presented me with more problems than any other region when it comes to trying to suss out what calendars are in use. It’s a similar situation to trying to figure out what languages they speak. A lot. Which often have similar roots but different interpretations (and if you believe in the proto-Indo-European language, then maybe European Calendars add to this variegated mullagatawny of time keeping).

There’s so much variation within any given system and between them, that in order to present a comprehensive view of these calendars might take me the better part of a month or two. The information I have found on it isn’t clear (at least not to me, and I have trouble keeping Sanskrit-derived names in my head). I’m going to give a general idea of the calendars, however, as they require a good deal of measuring of planetary bodies, it gets tricky. For the time being, I’ll avoid those details until I feel more confident that I understand them myself.

There’s a decent pdf here about the Vedic Calendar, and more information about Hindu Calendars.

 Vedic-Hindu Calendars

The Hindu Calendar is a solilunar calendar which relies on observations of the motion of the Sun and Moon across the heavens, in a way similar to astronomers tracking the Sun’s journey across the ecliptic, or astrologers tracking planets through the houses and signs of the zodiac.

The Day begins at sunrise, the Week begins on Sunday.

Nakshatras

The ecliptic is divided into 27 regions called nakshatras. The moon takes about one day to pass through a nakshatra. These are further subdivided into quarters (padas). The nakshatras are named after the prominent constellations or asterisms that occur within them and have mythological significance. Ashvini is the first of the nakshatras, equivalent to Aries (although the boundaries differ from those the IAU has designated for the constellation).

The starting point of Ashvini is defined as the point along the ecliptic opposite the star Spica (in the constellation Virgo). This starting point, at the beginning of the constellation Aries, is called the Meshaadi.

Yogas

No, not the stretchy pants and blue mats kind of yoga.

There are 27 of these measures. The one which is considered “active” at sunrise is applied to the day. This is done by calculating the angular distance along the ecliptic from our starting point (Meshaadi) to a particular object. Equivalent measures for the location of the sun and moon are then factored in. I don’t pretend I have the foggiest how these calculations are done.


Lunar & Solar Months & the New Year

There are twelve lunar months, determined by the New Moon prior to sunrise (which means sometimes it will coincide with theAbysmal lunar months, sometimes it will be off by a day). The first month, Chaitra takes place during the Vernal Equinox.

There are twelve solar months, which is how this New Year date is determined in the first place. The first of the solar months is Mesha, and is determined by the Sun passing before the constellation Aries. This is similar to the astrological “Sun in Aries”, with one notable exception: the Hindu system looks at the actual constellations, the astrological system uses artificial boundaries not related directly to the heavens.

There’s a series of calendars for 2012 for a variety of cities. Here is the pdf for Toronto.

New Year’s Celebration in Burma. I hope Aung San Suu Kyi election to head of the opposition signifies things to come.

South Asia
Assam New Year – Rongali Bihu
Bengali New Year – Pohela Boishakh
Oriya New Year – Vishuva Sankranti
Tamil New Year – Puthandu
Meiteis New Year – Sajibu Cheiraoba
Sinhalese New Year – Sinhala Aluth Avurudda
Malayali New Year – Vishu
Punjab New Year – Visakhi

Southeast Asia
Thai New Year – Songkran
Burmese New Year – Thingyan
Cambodian New Year – Chaul Chnam Thmey
Loa New Year – Pbeemai or Songkan

251 Days to Dec 21st 2012


Vernal Equinox – Happy New Years سال نو مبارک

20 March 2012

Persians, Kurds, Zoroastrians, Baha’i, India and Western Astrology celebrate with the Sun.

The Persian Calendar, also observed by the Kurds and Zoroastrians in Iran, Afghanistan and spread across the globe is an ancient solar calendar that has its basis in astronomical observation. The Bahá’í also begin their year with the equinox, which likewise sees the Sun enter Aries in the Western astrological tradition. Let’s take a look at those who celebrate when the Sun is directly above the equator.

Formilab’s Calendar Converter is a very useful page as far as converting from one calendar system to another.

Persian Calendar

Persian Calendar celebrates Nowrouz, the new year, which begins the year 1391.

The Persian calendar has 12 months as we’ve seen in other solar calendar systems. The months begin with the actual Vernal Equinox (as opposed to observed, or near-enough acknowledgements). The first six months have 31 days each, the following five months have 30 days each and the last month has 29 days, or 30 in a leap year. The days of the months are determined by the relative velocity of the earth’s orbit around the sun, which is a far cry more telling and accurate than the Gregorian’s irregular month length.

Order

Days

Iranian Persian (Farsi)

Iranian-English

Native Script

1

31

Farvardin

فروردین

2

31

Ordibehesht

اردیبهشت

3

31

Khordad

خرداد

4

31

Tir

تیر

5

31

Mordad

مرداد

6

31

Shahrivar

شهریور

7

30

Mehr

مهر

8

30

Aban

آبان

9

30

Azar

آذر

10

30

Dei

دی

11

30

Bahman

بهمن

12

29/30

Esfand

اسفند

The Persian Calendar also observes the seven-day market week, which begins on Saturday and ends on Friday (as does theAbysmal Calendar).

The custom of sowing seed at the time of the spring equinox is found over a very extensive area and has always been linked with agricultural ceremonies.–Mircea Eliade, the Myth of the Eternal Return

This is a common practice in Iran during Nowrouz. It supports the idea that the seeds of the entire year are planted at the beginning, and develop accordingly. It is not far off from our “New Year’s Resolution“, which are ironically devoid of resolve, where our intentions for the year are laid out during the celebrations on Dec 31st – Jan 1st (which, incidentally, is the worst time to plant anything in the northern hemisphere).

For this Nowrouz in particular, I wish peace upon the people of Iran.

Western Astrology

The signs of the Zodiac in Western Astrology correspond to months in a calendar, insofar as one can say that the Sun is in a particular sign.

With the exception of Taurus and Leo, the days per sign of the Western astrological system are similar to the Persian months. Hardly surprising considering the Persian adherence to the stars. Although the astronomical constellations are not aligned with the astrological signs, as we shall see in April.

Persian Month

Days

Western Astrology

Days

Farvardin 31 Aries 31
Ordibehesht 31 Taurus 30
Khordad 31 Gemini 31
Tir 31 Cancer 31
Mordad 31 Leo 32
Shahrivar 31 Virgo 31
Mehr 30 Libra 30
Aban 30 Scorpio 30
Azar 30 Sagittarius 30
Dei 30 Capricorn 30
Bahman 30 Aquarius 30
Esfand 29/30 Pisces 29/30

Bahá’í Calendar

Bahá’í Calendar‘s New Year celebrates the beginning of the year 169 Bahá’í Era (BE).

The number importance of the number 19 is evident in the 19 months of 19 days each – that works out to 361 days, plus the 4 (or 5) extra which are added to make up the year. The Baha’i also observe greater cycles of 19 years (which coincides with the Metonic cycle of 235 lunations to 19 years. Although the lunations-to-years is roughly 19 years, after a few centuries it shows that it isn’t an exact correlation)

Month

Arabic Name

Arabic Script

English Translation

1

Bahá

بهاء

Splendour

2

Jalál

جلال

Glory

3

Jamál

جمال

Beauty

4

Aẓamat

عظمة

Grandeur

5

Núr

نور

Light

6

Raḥmat

رحمة

Mercy

7

Kalimát

كلمات

Words

8

Kamál

كمال

Perfection

9

Asmá

اسماء

Names

10

Izzat

عزة

Might

11

Mashíyyat

مشية

Will

12

Ilm

علم

Knowledge

13

Qudrat

قدرة

Power

14

Qawl

قول

Speech

15

Masá’il

مسائل

Questions

16

Sharaf

شرف

Honour

17

Sulṭán

سلطان

Sovereignty

18

Mulk

ملك

Dominion

Ayyám-i-Há

ايام الهاء

The Days of Há

19

‘Alá’

علاء

Indian National Calendar

Indian National Calendar begins its new year – year 1936.

This is a civil calendar, which seems to have been derived from the Persian Calendar. It has 12 months of 31 or 30 days, begins on the Vernal Equinox, and relates the months to the signs of the zodiac, as follows:

Month (Sanskrit)

Days

Zodiac Sign

1

Chaitra 30/31 Aries

2

Vaishākha 31 Taurus

3

Jyaishtha 31 Gemini

4

Āshādha 31 Cancer

5

Shrāvana 31 Leo

6

Bhādrapada 31 Virgo

7

Āshvini 30 Libra

8

Kārtika 30 Scorpio

9

Agrahayana 30 Sagittarius

10

Pausha 30 Capricorn

11

Māgha 30 Aquarius

12

Phālguna 30 Pisces

The month names are also those used in regional lunar calendars – which can make the thing all the more confusing.

 

276 Days to Dec 21st 2012