Sunday, January 1, 2017

On New Years, Months, Weeks, Days, Hours, Minutes, Seconds: On Time and What it Means

In a previous post we mentioned the historical origins of the choice of New Year's Day in Western Civilization. However, we did not mention the cosmic logic of the choice of new year's day. It is a solar calendar, divided by the lunar calendar: viz. it is the beginning of the growth of the new growth cycle of the sun coordinated with the cyclic beginnings of the growth of the moon (i.e. December 20th the days begin to become longer after the shortest day of the year, and so we take the next new moon, ca. January 1st, and divide the year approximately into the moons thereof (hence twelve months, each new moon being roughly 30 days). Ours is a solar calendar because it is based on the solar cycle with an approximate alignment with that of the moon. And the Pope determined that we should calculate our time from this reference point because of its agreement with the birth of Christ (commemorated December 25th to January 6th).

Weeks probably come from the seven days of creation of the Judeo-Christian dispensation, roughly equivalent to an half moon (cf. consult any normal calendar and you will see each week indicating the lunar phases, the first week of the month there is a new moon, second week a first quarter moon, the third week a full moon, and the fourth week a third quarter moon). The length of our days are based on the sun, the daily revolutions of the earth. The hours (24) and the minutes (60) and the seconds (60) are from 3,000 B.C. Sumerian origin.

Another related question is the etymology (in various languages) of the words/names which we give to all of these temporal divisions. Perhaps a future post.

Happy Anno Domini MMXVII!, Merry Christmas Octave!

"Christ, yesterday and today, the beginning and the end, Alpha, and Omega. All time belongs to him, and all the ages; to him be glory and power, through every age for ever" Cf. Pope Saint John Paul II, 1999.

The sun represents Christ Our Most Blessed Lord and God and the moon represents Mary Our Most Blessed and Ever Virgin Mother, and so it is most fitting that we count our years in reference to their cooperation, for that indeed is our salvation.

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