Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Happy New Year!

Today was the first of moharram, the first month in the hijra calendar. It was a holiday, so the library was closed. I got some work, but not much, done. I watched Vanity Fair and thought that it was pretty but overall underwhelming. And the dance number in it was terrible! The Importance of Being Earnest is a much better Rese Witherspoon vehicle. Maybe it was one of those movies you had to watch on a large screen?

Anyhow, the thing with the Islamic calendar is that since it's a lunar calendar, the moon has to be seen so that the new month canbe declared, so there's no countdown to the New Year or anything, because you don't know when it's going to happen, until it's already happened.

3 Comments:

Blogger Zora said...

I still cannot wrap my head around the new moon thing. I mean, don't we know, through modern (even ancient, Arab-designed) astronomy, when the new moon happens? Bizarre.

6:03 PM  
Blogger AV said...

That's the thing--we _do_ know when it'll happen, but sometimes they don't see it.

Alas, I _still_ haven't emailed you any Eid pictures ...

8:04 PM  
Blogger anyblock said...

For many Americans, the new year doesn't begin until they see the ball drop in Times Square; they could just check a clock, but this would not satsify. We use specific rituals to tie our experiences of instances in the observable world to patterns of meaning in the ideal world. Direct observation of the moon or falling objects can be tied to the new year idea, but astronomy and clocks are already too ideal, too pattern-based. It's interesting that even indirect observation — someone telling me they saw the moon in its requisite state — trumps astronomy.

1:49 PM  

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