“Why isn’t the new year on the winter solstice?”

The answer, honestly, is that the Romans had no fucking idea how to run a calendar.

Like, seriously, people notice "OCTOber" and "DECEMber" and say, "hey, those mean 'eight' and 'ten', but they're the 10th and 12th months, what's up with that?".

If you've got a little more history, you'll know that July and August are named after Julius and Augustus Caesar, and think, "oh, they added those two months and bumped the rest of the months back."

Nope. The Romans were way, way worse at calendars than that.

@noelle « By a legal fiction, the Romans treated both the first "sixth day" and the additional "sixth day" before the Kalends of March as one day. Thus a child born on either of those days in a leap year would have its first birthday on the following sixth day before the Kalends of March. When, many years later, modern consecutive day counts were laid alongside the Roman dates the sixth day before the Kalends of March fell on 24 February. However, in a leap year the sixth day fell on 25 February because the additional sixth day came before the 'normal' sixth day. » :blobmeow_spiral:

@noelle but I love this so so much, it's so ridiculous and your writing is very much fun! thanks for the exhaustive write up 😊

@noelle we should just throw the whole thing out and start over

@noelle @acdw While it would be cool to have the year start out with the days only getting longer, the date of the vernal equinox is the most stable as well as being easier to measure. But of course they didn’t pick that one either.

@noelle @acdw Since the Gregorian calendar is already designed to keep the date of the vernal equinox fixed, I think we should just move the first day of the year to March 21, move the leap day to the last day of the year, and eliminate months in favor of just numbering the days from 1-365 or 366, or maybe start from 0 or call the leap day 0.

@freakazoid @noelle Aw I like 13 months of 28 days each -- that way every month is exactly four weeks long!

@acdw @noelle I think shifting the days of the week is likely to meet with a lot of resistance. I don’t know how Eastman Kodak managed it for so long. “Sorry you don’t get the same weekend as everyone else”?

@freakazoid @acdw I mean, that's already true of vast swaths of working adults with non-standard work weeks.

@freakazoid @acdw That's a judgment I'm not prepared to make on everyone's behalf, I'm afraid!

@freakazoid @acdw @noelle agreed, although i want an extra day of the week it would make scheduling easier ;)

but seriously, i agree 100% with day one being the vernal equinox

and I also think weeks are very important because they are a useful unit of length

we can't scrap weeks, months are too fucking long

@satchlj @noelle @acdw Having weeks have a prime number of days is annoying. 6 or 12 are the most divisible. 8 would at least give us an even number. Maybe we should just go to 6 day weeks and keep the 2 day weekends. Maybe go to 7 hour work days too. I don’t know about you but I’ve never had a full 8 hours of productivity in my life.

@freakazoid @noelle @acdw I think four day weeks and two day weekends would work, or five day weeks with three day weekends. I don't want a lower weekend/weekday ratio

As far as work days, yes, 8 hours is totally too long. 4 hours, split into two chucks? Perfect. Unfortunately, gotta make $$.

@freakazoid @satchlj @noelle @acdw
I would prefer to draw up my own day to day schedule and not have a (sometimes disregarded) two mandatory rest days every five days. Then we could all stagger the days that we work and there wouldn't be any "weekend shifts". Of course that would only work if employers would respect their workers schedules and work-life boundaries.

@satchlj @noelle @alm @acdw Personally I think “employment” as an institution should be abolished. Everything should be coops and peer to peer transactions.

@satchlj @noelle @freakazoid

I'd /really/ love 10-day weeks, with 6-on 4-off, but that's silly

@acdw @satchlj @noelle Vernor Vinge agrees, at least on the 10 day time period part.

@acdw @noelle Yeah you can definitely do that and use intercalary weeks to keep the vernal equinox within the same week. The ISO week calendar might be adaptable to that purpose, though the vernal equinox can fall in either week 11 or 12.

@noelle This is something I'd love to memorise as a fun fact to entertain friends with, but honestly, it's so complicated that I don't think I could. :ms_grin: Thank you very much for teaching me something new!

@noelle having the rest of february somewhere at the end of March makes a lot of sense actually. That bit of winter where winter was supposed to be over already.

@noelle I think this is an excellent example of how a new technology is abused for political power, but eventually becomes a boring old technology, and is mostly left alone in its mangled and barely usable sorry state.

@noelle another good start of the year would be the start of spring

and we could also put the leap day at the end of the year, and other cool ideas:

@noelle I celebrate the new year on the December solstice since last year, actually. Also switched the years to human era, waiting for the rest of the world to follow (they won't)


I think this is pretty conclusive proof that aliens must have built the parthenon, clearly they didn't have the skill to engineer such complex stuff if they couldn't have handled even making a calendar correctly.

@noelle bring back the winter void of no-month when nobody has to do anything and timekeeping doesn't matter

@noelle "the priesthood - who until not long before Julius controlled the release of the calendar, meaning that people paid attention to them to know when the months started - would extend or contract years to keep politicians (who were on yearly terms) they liked in power or force politicians they didn't like out early." — explains why years were always too long.

„you gave HIM three weeks more, so I want four! I swear you’ll like me.“

@noelle Ah cool. I've read this wacky story before in a chain of toots, this is easier to read. :)

@noelle Well, maybe the old Roman calendar was really convoluted, but I find the idea of taking winter out of calendar very appealing. The whole "we'll get back to it when the days are longer" attitude should be official even nowadays.
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Just Ellie (and perhaps some of her toys).