opening ourselves with the hinging daylight hours

Monday, April 13, 2009

dyngus day---easter monday

IN many Catholic countires today is called Dyngus Day. It is a Festival Day full of Easter related activities such as egg rolling competions and dousing your friends with blessed holy water. Its also a day to continue eating Easter related leftovers, and the foods we were to have blessed on Easter such as horseradish, turnip greens, and other of the earliest crops.

Today as I was driving back to Camden from my parent's home in Lancaster County (outside Strasburg) I quickly noticed the Amish families participating in the festivities. There were multiple flatbeds full of many Amish familes being pulled all around the countryside lanes. There were Amish participating in games of croquet and baseball. The countryside reached harvestable levels of dandelions, and the cows grazed freely on the grassland. The Amish were celebrating a liberation from their workday, an Easter sabbath, the liberation from winter. The snow peas have emerged and their tendrils are reaching for the trellisses.

The Amish seem to function well with their own calendar, and for half the year they are an hour different than the "english,"  they don't participate in daylight saving's time. 

 In the "modern" educational system young children and children with disabilities in particular have difficulties adjusting to daylight savings time, as they their delicate circadian rhythms do not quickly adjust. The children learn to stop time during punishment, participating in "time-outs."  All of this seems a little wrong.

I left the Lancaster County countryside and landed on Temple University's Campus where I met up with my friend Ross. Ross and I are writing a dissertation together. His is for his master's degree, mine is for a faith-based eco-justice retreat center in Camden. We are researching the nuances of religious holy days, the liturgical calendar, and the interconnectivity of the agricultural seasons and practices with spiritual significance (the Ecological Liturgy).  i.e. planting your potatoes on St. Patrick's Day, inoculating wood for mushrooms on Good Friday, releasing ladybugs during Pentacost.

The calendar in which we widely accept is a strange measure of time. Pagans had little use for the concept of "weeks"  and rather they embedded themselves within the agricultural seasons. Our Gregorian Calendar takes the remnants of the nomadic concept of "months" and also includes the Judeo-Christian concept of the 7 day week. Christians celebrate Sabbath on Sunday, because of the correlation with Easter.  Its complicated, but I am not satisfied. 100 centimeters always equals 1 meter , a measurement of distance. Yet 1 month= 28 days sometimes, 29 days sometimes, 30 days sometimes, and 31 days sometimes. Priests and wisemen did the best that they could, relying on certain astrological events such as the appearence of Sirius. The calendar year is the cycle of time which embraces the return of the seasons.  The farmer's almanac is of more relevance than the social or civic calendars in most of Asia and Africa. 

I want to make my own calendar that spins like an ancient Torrah, but keeps going around and around, constant like the acceleration of gravity on earth. 

The Gregorian calendar as we know it was developed  in 1582 by pope Gregory XIII, developed in part due to the failure of the Julian calendar to determine Easter.  The Julian Calendar was developed by Julius Ceasar.  Easter lands on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring equinox. I am not sure how Gregory made this any easier to calculate, because, i can't calculate it without the full moons marked on next year's calendar. 

Progress is bound up in agriculture, and agriculture, to be successful, needs to know in advance exactly when the seasons would occur. Yet we lose something when our calendar is a flipping of pages, like a checklist, to be discarded as useless at the end of December. The Gregorian calendar has 28 varieties of months in week-day disposition, and requires 28 years to complete the cycle of changes.  I was born on a Tuesday. The 18th and 19th centuries saw numerous proposals for an unchanging calendar, yet we never saw a need to force the change.  

Every other year alternates 13 full moons or 13 new moons, this seems like a more practical rhythm to shape our calendars, have a calendar that lasts 5 or 7 years like the Mayans. Have a calendar that follows the same 28 day cycle of the biodynamic farmers, the tide, and my body.

 it just started to rain outside here. and now.


Anonymous said...

I encourage you to begin your research regarding the Sunday Sabbath earlier. It actually traces back before the Roman emperor Ceasar Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus Augustus, better known as Constantine I, who made Christianity the official Roman religion in the 4th century. He proclaimed the Edict of Milan which relegated religious tolerance abhorred by his predecessor Diocletian. The Byzantine Liturgical Calendar may come in good use here. Also look into the Council of Laodicea. Some sources may say some weird things but the main argument is that Constantine simply made law of worship to retain the celebration of the day Christ was Risen. Jews and some other Protestant groups keep the day of rest in the Judeo-Christian creation story, the one Jesus kept himself. The Sabbath itself was never changed. It is still Saturday, only the celebration on Sunday is a remembrance of the day Christ was risen and now accepted as a day of rest. It is not Shabbat. Compare the Gregorian calendar to the Hebrew calendar and decide for yourself. I have tons of books that completely contradict each other; people arguing on both sides of the coin disproving each other. Sara May's mom wrote her dissertation on this subject. I'm still learning myself. Also see Colossians 2:16 when Christians began eating foods and practicing particulars of the Sabbath that differed from Jews. It's interesting stuff. Good luck in your research. Let me know what you discover.

Courageous COWARD said...

andrea, incredible post. im trying to explore what i tell myself is christian naturalism, which is reflected a lot in this blog. the hawaiian islands are really ripe for that kind of discovery... (im trying to work on a farm for a few weeks next semester to maybe reconnect me to the vast majority of Gods creation) by the way, the hawaiians had a circular calendar too, check it out;

looking forward to catching up over the summer, hopefully i can find a place to lay me head out there...