PM5501: Concerning Calendars

In General

A calendar represents a system of dividing time into divisions such as years, months, weeks and days. A separate but related concept is that of chronology, which refers to a system for numbering years successively.

There are a number of different calendars used in the world today, and many more which have either fallen into disuse, or been proposed but not widely adopted. However, by far the most common system is the Gregorian calendar, which is the main calendar used in Western countries, and more broadly is used globally for the purposes of international business, communications, and relations. It is named after Pope Gregory XIII, who instituted it in 1582 as a reform of the earlier Julian calendar. The Julian calendar in turn is named for Julius Caesar, who created it as a reform of the original Roman Republican calendar.

The Julian and Gregorian calendars are largely the same; the only differences are in the leap year rule, and the details of the method to calculate the date of Easter. In the Julian calendar, every fourth year is a leap year; in the Gregorian, every fourth year, except those divisible by 100, but including those divisible by 400. Thus, in the Gregorian calendar, 1900 was not a leap year (divisible by 400 but not 100), whereas 2000 was - but both are leap years in the Gregorian. The Julian calendar averages out to a year length of 365.25 days, the Gregorian to 365.2425. This is not a major difference in the short term, but in the long run causes the Julian calendar to drift with respect to the seasons, since the actual length of the year is about 365.24237 days. So, even the Gregorian calendar will drift in the long run, but nowhere near as quickly as the Julian does.

Having been proposed by the Pope, the Gregorian calendar was immediately adopted by several Catholic countries; however, Protestant and Eastern Orthodox countries ignored the Pope's reform at first, as did a few Catholic countries too. Eventually however, it was adopted throughout Europe. It took until 1752 for the British Empire (then including what was to become the United States and Canada) to switch from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian; Russia did not do so until after the Russian Revolution, in 1918; Greece was the last European country to do so, in 1923. As the difference between the calendars accumulated over the centuries, later switchover dates required a greater number of days to be skipped than earlier ones did.

The adoption of the Julian calendar was controversial in the Eastern Orthodox church - some churches have adopted it (e.g. the Church of Greece), others have not (e.g. the Russian Orthodox church). Even in Greece where it was adopted, there was a breakaway group established (the Old Calendarists) who rejected the new calendar as heretical. (Technically speaking, they did not adopt the Gregorian calendar, but rather another calendar called the Revised Julian calendar - although at present this is purely a theoretical difference, since the two calendars are identical up to the year 2800.)

Both calendars have 12 months of roughly 30 days, although the actual number varies from 28 to 31, to give 365 days in a common year. The different month lengths are arranged in no particular pattern, which makes them harder to remember (although various mnenomic devices have been devised). In English at least, the months retain their old Roman names - a mixture of the names of Roman gods (e.g. January for Janus, March for Mars, June for Juno, etc.), a Greek goddess (Maia for May), a Roman festival (February), Julius Caesar (July), the first Roman Emperor, Augustus (August), and also numeric names (September, October, November, December). But the numbers do not correspond to the current position of the month in the year - in the original Roman calendar, the year began with March, hence the month December literally means tenth month, even though today it is the 12th.

Both the Julian and Gregorian calendars are used in combination with a seven day week, although the week predates both of them. Originally, the Romans used an eight day week, derived from the Ertuscans, but later adopted the seven day week instead. The names of the week were named for the sun, the moon, and the five planets known to the ancients. The same system is continued in English, although the names of Roman planetary gods have been substituted with Germanic equivalents (except for Saturday). Traditionally the week starts on Sunday - although some modern calendars show the week starting on Monday instead (this is common in Europe, but uncommon in America), and this approach has been endorsed by the ISO 8601 standard.

There are a number of other calendars used in the world today - notable are the Hebrew and Islamic calendars.

There have been perennial proposals to reform the calendar to make it simpler - such as by adopting a more uniform system of month lengths. A common element in these proposals is to make the year always start on the same day of the week - thus there would be only one arrangement of months - days - weekdays for any year, rather than the 14 different arrangements which exist under the Julian or Gregorian calendars. But 365 days does not go evenly into seven - the two most common solutions are to have an extra 365th day which does not belong to the week, or else to make the year 364 days long, and then every few years add a leap week of seven days instead of a single leap day. The earlier proposal tends to be unacceptable to Jews and Christians, since it interrupts the weekly cycle they believe has continued uninterrupted since creation. In any case, although some of these proposals have been greatly discussed (including at the United Nations), none has ever received sufficient support to be adopted.

In Maratreanism

The Maratrean calendar contains twelve months, named for the signs of the zodiac - the first month is known as Capricorn and the twelfth as Saggitarius. Each month is either four or five weeks long. The first, third, fourth, sixth, seventh, ninth and tenth months are always four weeks (28 days) long; the second, fifth, eighth and eleventh months are always five weeks long (35 days); the twelfth month is four weeks long (28 days) in a common year but five weeks long (35 days) in a leap year. The leap weeks are inserted according to a 400 year cycle, with 71 of those years having leap weeks.

The week consists of seven days. The first day is named for the moon and the seventh for the sun; the five days in between are named for the planets - the second day for Mars, the third for Mercury, the fourth for Jupiter, the fifth for Venus, the sixth for Saturn.

The first five days of the week correspond to the tutelary deities of the five sacred animal tribes - Monday for Bacu, Tuesday for Trinca, Wednesday for Harpa, Thursday for Muna, Friday for Delvina.

It is said that the world was created in seven days. In Maratreanism, this is interpreted allegorically - the first five days represent the being of the many worlds, prior to the Cause; the sixth day (Saturday) represents the Cause, its establishment, progress, assumption, conquest and triumphs; the seventh day (Sunday) represents the three Sabbaths at the beginning-end of time.

The Maratrean Year

In the Maratrean calendar, common years are 364 days long, and leap years are 371.

Leap years are distributed according to a 400 year cycle, there being 71 leap years and 329 common years in every 400 Maratrean years.

The Maratrean Months

# Name Days
1 Capricorn 28
2 Aquarius 35
3 Pisces 28
4 Aries 28
5 Taurus 35
6 Gemini 28
7 Cancer 28
8 Leo 35
9 Virgo 28
10 Libra 28
11 Scorpio 35
12 Sagittarius 28 (common year) or 35 (leap year)

The basic structure of the Maratrean calendar was revealed during the Travancine-Clarettan establishment, including the number and length of months, and naming them for the signs of the zodiac. This is done intentionally to confuse and confound astrologers, since Maratreanism discourages astrology. It confuses them because the Maratrean months don't actually line up with the signs of the zodiac, despite being named after them. (We should note, we don't know what language was spoken by Travancus and Claretta, and hence neither do we know the actual names for the signs of the zodiac in their language - only that, whatever those names were, they used the same names for the months, by divine instruction.)

The first day of every Maratrean month is Monday, and the last day of every Maratrean month is Sunday.

The Maratrean Week

The Maratrean week begins on Monday and ends on Sunday.

# English Name Maratrean Name Planetary body Sacred animal tutelary Symbolizes
1 Monday Lunade the Moon Bacu being of the many worlds
2 Tuesday Marde Mars Trinca
3 Wednesday Mercurade Mercury Harpa
4 Thursday Jovade Jupiter Muna
5 Friday Venerade Venus Delvina
6 Saturday Saturnade Saturn (none) establishment, progress, assumption, conquest and triumphs of the most holy Cause
7 Sunday Solade the Sun three Sabbaths at the beginning-end of time

The Maratrean names are revealed for this establishment; they may not have been the names used in the Travancine-Clarettan establishment, although they follow the same logic.