I have always been intrigued by the lunar calendar. Growing up with the Gregorian calendar as the de facto, I never quite understood some of the events we celebrate in Hawaii, like Chinese New Year. I never understood why it moved every year since the typical New Year’s celebration is always the first.
I can’t remember when I learned that the Chinese New Year is also called the Lunar New Year (I must have been about 8 years old), but that’s when I realized that there is more than one way for measuring time. Things started to make a little more sense in the books that I read when I started to note the lunar calendar.
It also opened more doors for me because I started to understand some of the traditions celebrated and why they were celebrated, which helped me understand people.
I learned that solstice is a derivative of the Latin words sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still) and that is because on a solstice the sun stops before reversing its direction. I think the correct term is that the sun stops in a declination. I don’t understand the term entirely, but it has something to do with the earth’s axis and the earth’s rotation. It’s fascinating stuff, but I’m no astronomer. It’ll take me a little while to understand the lingo.
Anyway, what also fascinates me are the traditions that can be found celebrated around the lunar calendar. The reason for my fascination is because our Gregorian calendar seems to borrow a lot of them, which seems in some ways makes sense and in other ways it doesn’t. There are many beliefs surrounding reasons for the adoption, but I’ll need to revisit that at another time. Believe you me, as an infojunkie, I have a lot of notes on what I want to research … if I ever get the time.
But, back to the original topic. Winter Solstice. For me, the Winter Solstice is another cool fact that I can refer to when I continue to study history and how society works. It’s something that I can turn to as I continue to live in this fascinating world.