Some Calendars of Note…

Coptic Calendar: This is a liturgical calendar; in fact, when people first see it, they usually say something like “Damn but that’s liturgical!” or “I thought the Ethiopian calendar was liturgical but, compared to this one, it’s downright pre-Columbian”.

You want liturgical?  I’ll SHOW you liturgical…

The Coptic Calendar might seem pretty cool, but it is just the old Egyptian calendar with a day added every four years. The Coptic new year starts on September eleventh which is good for at least a few conspiracy theories. The Coptic calendar observes Christmas on January seventh allowing for the Coptic Christians to harvest the best Christmas trees from the curbs of their neighbors who use the proper and god-fearing Gregorian calendar.

The Coptic year has only three seasons: One for growth, one for harvest and one where they just sat in their houses coming up with dumb ideas for calendars…

Haidas Calendar: This Pacific American Indian tribe has a calendar with but two seasons, winter and still more winter. The Haidas calendar has thirteen months, with names like “ripe berries” and “standing to defecate”. Their year begins in the Spring, just after the equinox. I’d love to mock this calendar but one of their months is named after bears. Pretty hardcore…

Celtic Calendar: It’s funny… we’ve got a moon that fits exactly over our sun during solar eclipses but does the solar year correspond in any way to the lunar month? No! So, the Celts came up with the idea of a “leap month”. Sure it’s ham-handed, clumsy and a little embarrassing; but, hardly surprising when you consider that Stonehenge was their crowning achievement.  And, before you come to the defense of the Celts, ask yourself:  “Would they do the same for me?”…

The Celtic new year started at the first last quarter moon after the Autumnal Equinox, unless you itemize; then, subtract one day for each dependent and one more for moving expenses if it was job-related…

Buddhist Calendar: The Buddhist calendar was based upon the Burmese calendar which was based on the Hindu calendar. The Hindu calendar, archaeologists believe, was based on an old Abbott and Costello routine from the movie, Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man. The Buddhist calendar loses a day every one hundred years but once they find it, they’ll know where to look the next time. The Buddhist calendar starts on the year of Gautama’s death because, before that, nothing much happened.

To synchronize the lunar and solar components, the Buddhist calendar has big leap years and small leap years. It is highly recommended that apartment dwellers only use the small leap years because the big ones take up too much closet space.

Hebrew Calendar: Speaking for those of us who do a lot of crossword puzzles, we are getting a little sick of the Hebrew calendar. Sure, I can understand how, as a puzzle maker, words like “Shevat” and “Adar” might come in handy; however, they aren’t used so much that we actually learn them. I could just buckle down and memorize them, I suppose; but, I’ve already memorized the Greek alphabet… WHAT MORE DO THEY WANT FROM ME???

The Hebrew calendar uses a metonic cycle of nineteen years to synchronize the solar year with the lunar month. This means, for each cycle, there is a leap year on the third, sixth, eighth, eleventh, fourteenth, seventeenth and nineteenth years. The easiest way to remember this is to live next door to a Rabbi and ask him.

Semites use the Hebrew calendar to determine exactly when their depressing “holidays” will fall. For example: To determine when Rosh Hashanah will be, you first determine when the new moon occurs during the month of Tishrei (or, as we know it, 55 Across). If the new moon happens later than noon or if it falls on a Sunday, Wednesday or Friday, Rosh Hashanah is a day later than it normally would be… if we are flexible on what the word “normally” means. There’s a simple mnemonic for determining when the main Jewish holidays fall: ATRND, which stands for “Ask the Rabbi Next Door”…

Julian Calendar: I doubt that Julius Caesar invented this calendar. He might’ve mentioned a need for an improved calendar and a proactive lackey did the rest. I just

“…if only… someone had… warned me…”

don’t think that he was smart enough. If someone had warned YOU to beware the Ides of March, what would be among the first things you would do? If it were me, I’d be bewaring the Ides of March. Instead, Caesar tells the soothsayer, “Ha! I’m already half way through the Ides of March and nothing’s happened. That virtually GUARANTEES that I’m home free”. I admire the soothsayer, though… or anyone who speaks sooth to power…

The Julian calendar has all your favorite months and leap year day. We’d still be using it if it didn’t lose a day every half millennium or so. Currently, it is seventeen days behind what it should be and still it struts around like it owns the place. The Julian calendar was still in use as of the early twentieth century because some nations just don’t get it.

The Babylonian Calendar: This calendar, like the premise to King of Queens, was based on the Sumerian calendar. Unlike King of Queens, the Babylonian calendar had twelve lunar months with a leap month thrown in by decree. The Babylonians added things like the week and the concept of a holy day of the week. And, those are IMPORTANT! A special day gives you something to either dread or to look forward to; either way, it does help you organize your time. Be honest: If the week had no weekend, would anyone even CARE what day it is?

The Babylonians also invented the New Year’s resolution.

The biggest difference between their resolutions and ours was that they made their resolutions to their gods. We make resolutions to ourselves. If you tell an all powerful being that you are going to lose that extra five pounds, you have a lot more motivation to do so than making that same promise to yourself, the guy who routinely bakes and eats an entire pound cake…

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