One of my favorite rituals at the end of each year is preparing next year's calendar. I open the new calendar (this year - celestial maps) and page through last year's calendar transferring birthdays, anniversaries and other notes reminding myself to renew the car tabs and seal the driveway. It is usually a peaceful process to go through the old year remembering where we were and what we did -- the occasions, the appointments, the vacations, the happy hours -- and contemplate the upcoming year with anticipation. While not the sexiest of rituals, my old calendar is the closest thing I have to a diary, besides time-stamped photos, and once a year I enjoy the process of recollecting that 'on this day I [fill in the blank].' And my new calendar helps me visualize the new year and set goals and benchmarks for myself.

So, imagine my chagrin when, as I began the transfer of memories and envisioning the new year, I slowly realized that my new calendar's grid starts with Monday, and places Sunday at the end of the grid. Why, oh, why did the publishers have to throw me off that way? I figured it had to do with how grids are displayed in other countries around the world (the Time and Date.com calendar generator indicates my suspicions are correct), and, I get that the work week starts on Monday for most people, etc., but still. This could really throw me off. Sheesh!

Anyway. I'll live. Or get a new calendar. But, it got me thinking about other calendrical facts that I manage to forget.
  • The Gregorian calendar system began in 1582. Because the change in systems was a papal bull, several protestant countries continued to use the Julian calendar. England didn't switch until 1752. Many other countries didn't make the switch until the 1900s.
  • The Jewish calendar is based on the moon's revolution around the earth, as well as the earth's rotation and revolution around the sun. (It seems like most people can keep this straight whether they are Jewish or not, but maybe that isn't the case). The holidays are on the same day of the Jewish calendar every year, but I'm going to need some help to keep track (mainly for purposes of putting out the Passover books at the appropriate time of year).
  • The Chinese calendar (again, of interest so I display Chinese new year books at the right time) is similarly based on lunar and solar observations. Chinese new year begins at the second new moon after the winter solstice, btw. There are legends about how the years were named, but I guess the animal name system is mainly used today for practical purposes. I was born in the year of the Snake, FYI.
  • The types of calendars (covering lunar-based, solar-based, and combinations of the two and how they fit with Muslim, Chinese, Mayan and other calendar systems) are nicely summarized by the Hermetic Systems calendar software company.

And finally, on the topic of calendars, there are sooooo many posts in the blogosphere about organization during this time of New Year's Resolutions. iCalShare is a place to publicly post your calendar and allows users to view upcoming calendars from tons of different organizations. Pretty nifty.

No comments: