Late 2017, I wondered why December 21, being the shortest day of the year, isn’t the start of a new year. Why aren’t September and October the 7th and 8th month? Another remarkable date is March 31, the end of the financial year in countries like Japan. All these calendar anomalies are connected. It’s another example of the decline in Common Knowledge (part 1, part 2).
The problems above arise following the differences between astronomical years and calendar years. Calendar years are a human invention, like Time itself. An astronomical year “is the orbital period of the Earth moving in its orbit around the Sun” – or 365.2425 days over a 400 year cycle (Wiki). Hence, every 4 years we have a leap year that adds 1 day (February 29).
“A calendar is a system of organizing days for social, religious, commercial or administrative purposes” (Wiki). The human list of calendars includes the Babylonian, Chinese, Egyptian, Gregorian, Hebrew, Hindu, Julian, Islamic, Mesoamerican (eg, Maya), Roman and Rumi calendars. The current – Western – calendar is the Gregorian calendar.
The Julian calendar, as proposed by Julius Caesar in 46 BC, took effect on 1 January 45 BC. January 1 has become the start of any new (Western) year ever since. The original 10-month Roman calendar was still (more or less) in line with astronomical years; “winter was left as an unassigned span of days” (Wiki). Hence, the new year started in March. September and October were still the 7th and 8th month in the Roman calendar.
In 1582, the Gregorian calendar succeeded the Julian calendar. This had a huge impact: in several parts of Europe 10 calendar days were cancelled. In 1752, the UK removed 11 calendar days. In 1923, Greece skipped 13 days. This cancellation also – but indirectly – explains the 10 day difference between December 21 and 31.
Financial years running from 1 April to 31 March still reflect the astronomical year and the ancient Roman calendar (before 45 BC). Financial years running from 1 January to 31 December are a consequence of the Julian calendar (45 BC). Hence, any claim that the accounting profession was responsible for this, must be wrong.
Another calendar anomaly is December 25, the day we celebrate Christmas and the birth of Jesus. Historically, December 25 has always been a very important – “pagan“ – date as it was considered the birthdate of Mitra – or Mithra in Zoroastrianism (my blogs). Moreover, the similarities between Mitra (or Mithra) and Jesus, and/or the Sumerian goddess Inanna and Jesus are striking (eg, Ancient Origins, Patheos, source, my blogs on Sumer, Wiki).
The decline in Common Knowledge about (ancient) religions amplifies current contradictions and hides historic common grounds between Sumerian religious beliefs, Zoroastrianism, and the 3 Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Common Ground (2016) by Our Last Night – artists, lyrics, video, Wiki
We can’t find common ground, so we agree to burn it down
We can’t let it burn down, so we need to find common ground