Friday, February 29, 2008

Happy Leap Day

In case you forgot, today is NOT March 1, but that rare date of February 29. For those of you who only get a birthday every four years, happy birthday! Feb 29 is a day that reminds us (as if we needed reminding) of the calendrical difficulties of basically almost all civilizations (except the Mayans) to create an annual calendar that matches the solar year (at least for those who tried).

So, for example, the Egyptians attempted a 365-day solar calendar. And, it is increasingly becoming evident that the pre-Hasmonean calendar in Second Temple Judaism was also probably solar, as was the calendar of the Dead Sea sectarians of only 364 days, replaced by (most likely) the Hasmoneans by the distinctive luni-solar calendar. The 364-day calendar must have had some sort of leap-recalibration to keep the seasonal festivals to match their respective seasons, although there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever of this.

It is also a reminder (again, as if we needed reminding) that this is an election year. Really, like we needed to give this year's candidates ANOTHER day to campaign. Haven't they campaigned enough?

So happy leap day!

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