Wednesday, June 04, 2008

On Lunar and Lunacy

Everything has a natural explanation. The moon is not a god, but a great rock, and the sun a hot rock. - Anaxagoras

The moon is a fascinating object. Its gender classification is a “she” because of her beauty and mysterious nature. In olden times men considered it god, like Luna, goddess of the moon. A lot of words where extracted from it like “lunacy”. I don’t know why a person with an abnormal conduct is akin to this huge rock. Maybe because of what the moon does to tides. Like a tide, a lunatic also manifest sudden burst of insanely behavior.

In the Middle East, where symbolisms abound, the moon has its proper place. One can see it in national flags of Islamic nations. It’s on top of every mosque and Red Crescent (similar to Red Cross), has it as its logo. Except for dental clinics, which use a giant molar, every hospital and pharmacy is represented by it.

She’s so highly regarded that they still based their calendar from it. Unlike the Gregorian calendar, which is based on solar cycle, Hejira calendar is based on lunar cycle. It has 12 months but has shorter days per month. Ten days difference in one Gregorian year. The kingdom have an official “moon watcher” who, by the shape of the moon, tells authorities if it’s the end of the month (especially during the holy month of Ramadan) or the end of the year. I wonder what these officials do if it’s cloudy and could not see the new moon.

Hejira calendar with its corresponding dates in Gregorian.

This method of counting time has its pros and cons. When dealing with government agencies, our company uses Hejira. But we use Gregorian in our internal affairs. It’s advantageous for government workers since their salary is based on shorter months. It’s profitable for apartment owners since they based rental fee on a shorter year. It’s disadvantageous for me since my wage is based on Gregorian, compounded by the fact that rental dates are always moving every year. I have to shell out rent money because our housing allowance is also based in Gregorian.

Some people find this kind of system lunatic. For me it’s a culture thing and I’ve learned to live with it.


  1. I agree with you in that it's a culture thing, something one has to get used to. Those people who are quick to label such a system as lunatic need to take some time to move out of their comfort zones and learn something different to broaden their horizons.

    Thanks for this great and very informative post. I didn't realize until now that Middle Eastern countries use the Hejira Calendar.

  2. Meron pang nakatagong dahilan kung bakit mahalaga ang buwan sa gitnang silangan. Ito ay hindi alam nang nakakarami sa kanila at kinakaila nang nakakaalam. Ngunit hinde ko maaaring isulat dito. Dahil ako ay panauhin sa bansang ito at dahil na rin sa paggalang ko sa kanilang paniwala.

  3. China,Japan,Mongolia and Korea although at present are using the gregorian calendar,the chinese calendar or lunar calendar whom it was based from the moon cycles (maybe similar in the middle east) are still widely observe. Here in Korea we observe both the lunar(occurs mostly between mid January or February) and gregorian calendar new year although the later is given more importance due to their long held tradition of lunar calendar observance.Well the good thing here is the employees are often given yearend bonus twice a year and of course longer holidays.

  4. What I want right now is a calendar with more months to stop me from aging as fast. LAtely, 12 months have been too fast for me. Meron kayang ganun. If none, let's invent one. hehe

  5. ed v., kahit sa Pinas, we used to count time by lunar cycle. That's why we call a month "buwan".

    Ka Rolly, siguro kung sa Jupiter tayo naka tira, we're still considered teenagers dahil mahaba ang isang taon doon compared to "earth year".

  6. So, ano na talaga yung first day of the week -- Lunes ba o Linggo? :)

  7. Ms. Sassy, agree ako kay Speedy. Pag bible ang basehan, dapat Lunes (Sabado kung dito). Kasi "He rested on the seventh day" eh.

  8. In genesis 2:2.. and on the seventh day God ended his work which he had done and rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done. Then God
    blessed the seventh day and sanctified it,because in it he rested from all his work which God has created and made.

    The jews and some christian groups also worship and rested on this day,it is from the setting of the sun on fridays to setting of the sun on Saturday and they called it Sabbath.In the early 11 century(crusade era) King Constatine thru the council of ludicea,change Saturday or the sabbath into Sunday as a rest day or day of worship in honor of the Sun god to unite the christian and the pagan worshipper,and so to this days many christian denomination considered sunday as the rest day.In the bible it is clearly shows that saturday is the seventh day then the next day which is sunday should be the first day of the week.The council of Ludicea did not actually change the order of days.

  9. ed v., wala namang binanggit sa Genesis kung anong araw (pangalan) nagpahinga, basta "He rested on the seventh day". It was only the Jews who designate that it should be Saturday. Since we rest on Sunday, therefore, the first day of the week is Monday.

    Teka, bakit ba pinagpipilitan ko ang Monday, e Sabado ang first day namin dito.