Thirteen Months: 12 x 30 + 5|6

From time to time I question humanity’s systems of measurement.

There was the “metric is good for logic/programming, but imperial (standard) is better for communication” rumination (The problem with the metric system). I also recall a re-imagining of the English alphabet and the logical spelling of words (a=hay, aa=hat, aaa=car… Phonetic vowel sounds the programmers way). Or there’s the Centigrade vs Fahrenheit postulation Bodyscale 0 to 100. And finally, there’s this dispatch, story time & calendars, “what’s an hour to an Ork?” Not that you’ll actually read those but, I put them there for my own reference.

Point is, I contemplate such things and document my pontifications. And so, we come to this one, what is a month and why didn’t ancient cultures come up with a better plan for dividing the year?

There’s a slew of writing on the topic that I’ll not delve into. The Zodiac has 12 symbols, the Moon generally has 12 cycles per calendar Earth-year, the Romans fucked it up by initially using ten months (“Oct”ober, “Dec”ember), and loads of other cultural examples.

The bottom line is that hard dividing 365 into 12 will never work. My premise is, don’t bother. Take 360 of the days and make twelve thirty-day months. And those pesky dangling days? Five freebees of course. And when we need to leap over that irritating extra day, well, the month called Jubilee or Festival (not Holiday – these aren’t holy days), would get that extra, 6th day added to it. Tack Jubilee right at the end of the year such that the 1st of January (that fickle, two-faced month) would always fall on exactly the same day ever year.

Weeks? Fuck weeks. “Labor for six days and rest on the seventh?” I call bullshit. But, yeah, we need some monthly subdivision. So, lets take 30 days and cut time up as we like… Maybe five six-day weeks? Six five-day weeks? Three ten-day weeks? I think I’d prefer the six-day weeks where two of the days are weekends! Work 2/3s of the time, relax for 1/3rd, sounds like a plan to me.

Twelve months with the thirteenth, like a baker’s dozen, an extra month that’s like a gift from the gods.

Maybe in my next life I’ll write an epic story that encompasses all of these revisions of human measurement. Not!

4 thoughts on “Thirteen Months: 12 x 30 + 5|6

  1. Ah, dates. One of the biggest banes for any programmer! Another fine mess humanity has gotten itself into. If only the Earth diurnal rotation cycle had a better match its annual cycle. Maybe someday we’ll have to technology to do something about that…

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  2. Lots of accidents of history, combined with trying to work with moon and sun movements that don’t divide cleanly into each other. I think the Sumerian solution to calendar drift was similar to yours. I remember my college world history professor saying that their early system resulted in an extra month every four years, so they just partied for that month. I guess later civilizations, like the Romans, didn’t like that inefficiency. (Probably screwed up military campaigns.)

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  3. The current system of religious, pagan (is there a difference?) and celestial events is pretty much a lock. Society only needs to divide the time between solstices into a number of sunrise/set cycles until the sun shines through the hole on the pyramids (pick a continent) Stonehenge, et al. Done. Months are a waste of time. Birthday = day # pre or post Summer/Winter solstice. That would fuck up all the “religious” holidays, but they’d always be day # like birthdays. Months and days of the week are gone in this scenario. Day #, next. What’s really stupider than all of it is daylight savings time and no one has yet to explain several monoliths that know what day it is. I mean people have lived on that island for thousands of years and nobody has a great to the factor of 400 uncle who worked on Stonehenge?

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    1. Eight is the magic number, or so the Pagans would tell us: 1/4’s of a year each cut in half. So, yeah, months are nonsense.
      Human culture: designed by a sequence of agenda driven committees.
      I come back to that adage: what is a camel? A horse designed by committee.

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