January 2, 2009

A New Calendar

I blame my continual decent into the mindset of an architect for this post (I never used to scrutinize a misalignment of an expansion joint and a window mullion). On this New Years day I was reflecting on our placement of the “new year” mark and was finding it to be disturbingly arbitrary. It didn’t make any sense outside of our traditional calendar saying this night is the new year. It is just close enough to the winter solstice to set off my architectural flags. This in turn set off a chain of thoughts cumulating in a complete redesign of the calendar. So here it is:

A couple of notes:

+Instead of random holidays that are not properly spaced there are four week long holidays. They roughly correspond to the major Jewish holidays and all end at an equinox or solstice (which provides a good measure of non arbitrariness). Christianity could then use them as celebration points throughout the year.

Spring Holiday= Celebration Holiday
Celebration of the Resurrection

Summer Holiday= Petition Holiday
Celebration of Grace
Jewish Shavot (Feasts of Weeks)

Fall Holiday= Gratitude Holiday
Celebration of Provision
Jewish Sukkot (Feast of Booths)

Winter Holiday= Repentance Holiday
Celebration of Justice
Jewish Yom Kippur

+With this calendar I am proposing a six day work week with shorter work hours on each of the days. (or you can just not have the week long holidays and make every 3rd month have an extra week)

7 hrs a day @ 6 days a week @ 48 weeks a year = 2016 work hours
compared with
8 hrs a day @ 5 days a week @ 52 weeks a year = 2080 work hours

+Each month has the same number of days, being 28. This means that every individual day of the month is always a certain day (ex: every 5th of every month is a Thursday). It also makes each month more in line with the lunar phases.

+Due to dividing the year into equal weeks, there is one day left to account for. I would put it right at the end of Spring holiday and call it something cool (celebration day will have to do for the moment). It would not be a day of the week. And to come full circle, it would be the start of the new year. The resurrection of Christ being the resurrection of the year.

+Just so you know I know: I don’t ever think a new calendar system will be implemented. This was just an exercise in the ideal. And think of all the people who have birthdays on days 29 to 31 who would be offended.


Mom said...

Dad's b-day is on April 29. At this point in life, he probably would appreciate no more b-days. He did say he would still expect the gifts. Maybe he can have his present on the celebration day.

Blake said...

Is there a petition that I can sign?

Kari said...

Have I mentioned recently how much I appreciate the way you think? You've been fussing over our arbitrary measures of time for a while now, but I've got to say this is your best so far. Evenly spaced holidays? Yes, please! Halloween-becomes-Thanksgiving-which-is-really-just-a-warmup-for-Christmas-and-then-New-Years-and-can-we-all-please-stop-but-wait-there's-Valentine's-Day... Ug. I could do with your system.

My one remark would be over the placement of "Celebration Day." Celebrating the "new" year in spring is perfectly valid, carries clear symbolic weight, and was traditional to a number of cultures over the years. Still, I find the winter solstice New Year incredibly powerful. So much darkness each day, plenty of time to reflect over the past year and mark the turning of time, and knowing that though things are really dark now, this is as long as the nights get, and from here out things will be getting brighter. Psychologically speaking, there's the seasonal dysphoria to offset, and I think it's no coincidence that cultures from colder climates tend to have their biggest, showiest festival in the middle of winter. It's a good time to party and a good time to think of things as "new."

Nitpicking aside, I love your brain. I hope you keep sharing these kind of thoughts; they brighten my day each time.

Jacob Haynes said...

One thing I forgot to add was the need for the occasional adjustment due to our planet not quiet rotating exactly 365 times each orbital journey or rather leap years. I would just add another “celebration day” when necessary.

I did debate the positioning of celebration/New Years Day. The beginning of spring seemed an appropriate place symbolically but I like your thoughts on keeping it with the winter’s solstice. Both places are valid as long as it is directly on a solstice or equinox. I appreciate your thoughts as well.

Jacob Haynes said...

As much as I would support the use of such a calendar as mine, there are logistical hurdles higher than Everest blocking the way. The biggest is that every major economic power in the world would have to agree to switch over to it. That is too many minds to convince on a decision that would cost them a whole lot of money if they said yes (with a no that cost them nothing and preserves the status quo).

Not to mention the inevitable “anti new calendar” group that would spring up. With their budgetary experts being quoted on all the blogs, the facebook group full of useless complaints, and the handful of angry protesters in front of the mall claiming that I am the anti-Christ trying to usher in the new world order. Not worth twenty eight day months.

ninepoundhammer said...

You're just confusing me with your charts and colours...

And don't forget to find at least one week in there somewhere for Festivus! :)