Tag Archives: Gregorian Calendar

Origins of April Fool’s Day


Myself  

By T. V. Antony Raj

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The joker symbolizes the practical jokes associated with April Fools’ Day. (PhotoObjects.net/Jupiterimages)

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One of the most light-hearted days of the year is April Fools’ Day, sometimes called All Fools’ Day, celebrated every year on April 1.

On April Fools’ Day, people indulge in playing harmless practical jokes, for example, telling friends that their shoelaces are untied or sending them on so-called fools’ errands, and also spreading hoaxes. Both the jokes and their victims are labelled “April fools”. So, people indulging in playing April Fool jokes expose their prank by shouting “April Fool!“.

On this day some newspapers, magazines and other published media report fake stories, which are usually explained on the following day or printed below the news section in small letters like those found in some agreements.

Although April Fools’ Day or All Fools’ Day, has been celebrated by different cultures for several centuries no country has yet declared the day as a public holiday.

The exact origins of All Fools’ Day still remain a mystery.

The Hilaria

Some forerunners of April Fools’ Day, the custom of setting aside a day for the playing of harmless pranks upon one’s neighbours, include the Roman festival of Hilaria.

The Hilaria (Latin “the cheerful ones“) were ancient Roman religious festivals celebrated on the March equinox to honour Cybele.

The term ” Hilaria” seems to have originally been a name which was given to any day or season of rejoicing, celebrated in Rome at the end of March and involved people dressing up in disguises. According to Maximus the Confessor (c. 580 – August 13, 662), a Christian monk, theologian, and scholar, the Hilaria were, either private or public. If private, it is the day in which a person gets married, or a day when a son was born. If public, those days of public rejoicings decided by a new emperor which were devoted to general rejoicings and public sacrifices, and no one was allowed.

Some speculate that April Fools’ Day was tied to the vernal equinox, or the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, when Mother Nature fooled people with changing, unpredictable weather.

Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales

The first recorded association between April 1 and foolishness appeared around 1392, in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. In The Prologue to the “Nun’s Priest’s Tale“, Chaucer tells the story of the vain cock Chauntecler who falls for the tricks of a fox. The narrator describes the tale as occurring:

When that the monthe in which the world bigan
That highte  March, whan God first maked man,
Was complet, and passed were also
Syn March bigan thritty dayes  and two

Unfortunately, the reference “Syn March bigan thritty dayes  and two” is ambiguous and worthless as historical evidence.

Readers apparently misunderstood this line to mean “32 March”, meaning April 1. Modern scholars believe that there is a copying error in the extant manuscripts and that Chaucer actually wrote, Syn March was gon. Thus the passage originally meant 32 days after March, namely, May 2nd, the anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia, which took place in 1381.

Whatever Chaucer may have meant to convey, we can not conclude, based on these few lines, that he was aware of a custom of playing pranks on April 1st.

Poisson d’vril

Poisson d’avril

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In 1508, in a poem titled “Le livre de la deablerie” written by Eloy d’Amerval, a French choirmaster and composer might have a possible reference to April Fool’s Day. According to Wikipedia, it consists of “a dialogue between Satan and Lucifer, in which their nefarious plotting of future evil deeds is interrupted periodically by the author, who among other accounts of earthly and divine virtue, records useful information on contemporary musical practice.”

Though the poem would only be of interest to historians of music, it includes the line, “maquereau infâme de maintt homme et de mainte  femme, poisson d’vril.

The phrase “poisson d’vril” (April Fish) is the French term for an April Fool, a possible reference to the holiday when people were made fools for having paper fish placed on their backs to symbolize a gullible person or a young, easily caught fish.  However, it is unclear whether d’Amerval’s use of the term referred to April 1st specifically. He might have intended the phrase simply to mean a foolish person.

Eduard de Dene’s comical poem (1561)

In 1561, Flemish poet Eduard de Dene published a comical poem titled “Refereyn vp verzendekens dach / Twelck den eersten April te zyne plach” meaning (roughly) “Refrain on errand-day / which is the first of April.” In this poem, a nobleman who hatches a plan to send his servant on absurd errands on April 1st, supposedly to help prepare for a wedding feast. In the closing line of each stanza, the servant says, “I am afraid… that you are trying to make me run a fool’s errand.

This is a fairly clear reference to a custom of playing practical jokes on April 1st. So, we can infer that April Fool’s Day dates back at least to the sixteenth century.

Because of this reference to poet Eduard de Dene and other vague French references, historians believe that April Fool’s Day must have originated in continental northern Europe and then spread to Britain.

The changeover from Julian Calendar to Gregorian Calendar

The Romans used a complicated lunar calendar, based on the phases of the moon. A group of people decided the addition and removal of days to keep this calendar in unison with the astronomical seasons, marked by equinoxes and solstices.

Julius Caesar consulted an Alexandrian astronomer named Sosigenes and in 45 BCE, created a more regulated civil solar calendar, based on the Earth’s revolution around the Sun. In this Julian calendar, a common year had 365 days divided into 12 months with every fourth a leap year with a leap day added to the month of February.

Today, the Gregorian calendar also known as the Western or Christian Calendar is the most widely used calendar in the world. In 1582, as called for by the Council of Trent in 1563, some European Catholic countries such as France, Italy, Poland, Portugal, and Spain introduced the Gregorian calendar. However, many countries non-Catholic continued to use the Julian Calendar. Turkey was the last country to changeover officially to the Gregorian calendar on January 1, 1927, So, it took almost 300 years for all the countries to switch over to the Gregorian calendar from the Julian Calendar.

In the Middle Ages, most European towns celebrated New Year’s Day on March 25. In some areas of France, New Year’s Day was a week-long holiday ending on April 1. The use of January 1 as New Year’s Day was common in France by the mid-16th century, and this date was adopted officially in 1564 by the Edict of Roussillon.

So, according to some historians, the April Fools’ Day dates back to 1582 when people who were slow to get the news of the changeover to the Gregorian calendar from the Julian Calendar, or failed to understand the new calendar. So, those who celebrated the New Year’s Day on some other dates other January 1, became victims of the butt of jokes and hoaxes of those who celebrated New Year’s Day on January 1.

Escape of Duke of Lorraine and his wife on April 1, 1632

According to a legend, the Duke of Lorraine and his wife were imprisoned at Nantes. On April 1, 1632, disguising themselves as peasants, they escaped from the prison by walking through the front gate.  A person who recognized them told the guards about it. The guards thought the warning was a “Poisson d’vril joke and scoffed at the person who reported it.

John Aubrey (1686)

In 1686, John Aubrey, an English antiquarian, collected notes about popular customs and superstitions, as research for a contemplated work to be titled, Remains of Gentilism and Judaism. His collected notes were published posthumously. He wrote, “Fooles holy day. We observe it on ye first of April. And so it is kept in Germany everywhere.”

So by the late seventeenth century, April Fool’s Day had definitely spread to Britain.

Washing the Lions prank (1968)

The tradition of keeping animals at the Tower of London began in the 13th century when Emperor Frederic II sent three leopards to King Henry III. In the following years, elephants, lions, and even a polar bear trained to catch fish in the Thames were added to the collection.

During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, a German visitor wrote, “all variety of creatures in the Tower including three lionesses, one lion of great size called Edward VI from his having been born in that reign; a tyger; a lynx; a wolf excessively old… there is besides a porcupine, and an eagle.”

At that time, a popular traditional prank to be played on April Fool’s Day was sending gullible victims to the Tower of London to see the “washing of the lions” (a non-existent ceremony).

On April 2, 1698, a British newspaper Dawks’s News-Letter reported: “Yesterday being the first of April, several persons were sent to the Tower Ditch to see the Lions washed.”

Examples of this “washing of the lions” prank occurred as late as the mid-nineteenth century. For more about the history of this prank, see the article: Washing the Lions.

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Washing The Lions (Source: Hoaxes.org)

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The above is an image of a card printed by the late Albert Smith and distributed among his friends. It’s hard to say whether any of these cards were sold as he did not authorise the transaction nor whether any person tried to use these cards at the non-existent “White Gate.”

By the eighteenth century, one of the most popular outing for visitors to London was to visit the Tower of London to see the menagerie. However, the population of the animals declined during the early nineteenth century. In 1834, the few remaining animals were transferred to the London Zoo opened to the public in 1828 in an area of Regent’s Park.

In the 18th century, April Fools’ Day spread throughout Britain. In 1708, a correspondent wrote to the British Apollo magazine asking, “Whence proceeds the custom of making April Fools?

In Scotland, it turned into a traditional two-day event that began with “hunting the gowk,” in which people were sent on phoney errands. Gowk is a word that denotes a  cuckoo bird, a symbol for a fool.

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Tailie Day

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This was followed by Tailie Day, a prank played on people’s derrieres, such as pinning fake tails or “kick me” signs on them.

Nowadays, newspapers, radio and TV stations, and Web sites have participated in the April 1 tradition creating intricate April Fools’ Day hoaxes by reporting outrageous fictional claims to fool their audiences.

In 1957, BBC reported that Swiss farmers were experiencing a record spaghetti crop and showed footage of people harvesting noodles from trees. In fact, many viewers fell for this report.

In 1985, Sports Illustrated tricked many of its readers when it ran a cooked-up article about a rookie pitcher named Sidd Finch who could throw a fastball over 168 miles per hour.

In 1996, Taco Bell, the fast-food restaurant chain, duped people by announcing that it had agreed to purchase Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell and intended to rename it the Taco Liberty Bell.

In 1998, Burger King advertised a “Left-Handed Whopper,” and many clueless customers requested the fake sandwich.

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I Wish You “A Happy New Year!”


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Myself 

By T.V. Antony Raj

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Happy New Year 2014

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The earlier Julian calendar, as well as the modern Gregorian calendar, have January 1 as the first day of the year.

At present, most countries use the Gregorian calendar as their de facto calendar and observe January 1 as the New Year’s Day which is probably the most celebrated public holiday in the world. As the new year starts at the stroke of midnight in each time zone, people invariably greet the New Year’s Day it with fireworks. Globally, New Years’ Day traditions include making new resolutions and meeting the members of one’s family and friends.

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The Roman god Janus is usually depicted as having two faces, since he looks to the future and to the past (Source: storify.com)
The Roman god Janus is usually depicted as having two faces, since he looks to the future and to the past (Source: storify.com)

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In pre-Christian Rome, the Julian calendar dedicates the first day of the year to Janus, the god of beginnings and transitions. The Romans venerated Janus as the god of gates, doors, doorways, passages and beginnings, and named the first month of the year in his honour. This implies that the New Year’s Day celebrations follow pagan traditions.

Since 45 BC, the Roman Empire used the Julian calendar and had January 1 as the first day of the year. The Gregorian calendar created in 1582 also called the Western calendar and the Christian calendar was a refined version of the Julian calendar and it too had January 1 as the first day of the year.

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Detail of Circumcision of Jesus Christ by Pellegrino da San Daniele (Photograph: Elio Ciol/Corbis)
Detail of Circumcision of Jesus Christ by Pellegrino da San Daniele (Photograph: Elio Ciol/Corbis)

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In the Gregorian calendar of Christendom, the New Year’s Day liturgically marked the Feast of the Naming and Circumcision of Jesus. The Anglican Church and the Lutheran Church still observe the day as such.

The circumcision of Jesus is an event from the life of Jesus. Verse 2:21 in the Gospel of Luke states:

When eight days were completed for his circumcision, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

The Jewish law holds that all males have to undergo circumcision eight days after birth during a Brit milah ceremony, at which they are also given their name. So, according to Jewish tradition, Jesus born on December 25 underwent circumcision on the eighth day of his life on January 1 and named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before Mary conceived him. Hence, liturgically January 1, the New Year’s Day, marked the Feast of the Circumcision of Jesus in the Gregorian calendar of Christendom.

The Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates the event on January 1 as the Feast of the Circumcision. Likewise, the Anglican and Lutheran churches celebrate the Feast of the Circumcision of Jesus on January 1.

Roman Catholics for long celebrated the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus on January 1. Now, the Roman Catholic Church considers New Year’s Day as a Holy Day of Obligation and celebrates the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, on this day.

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I Wish You “A Happy New Year 2014!”


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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Happy New Year 2014

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January 1 is probably the world’s most celebrated public holiday. In each time zone, as the new year starts at the stroke of midnight, it is invariably greeted with fireworks.

Janus, the Roman god of gates, doors, and beginnings.
Janus, the Roman god of gates, doors, and beginnings.

The first month of the year, January, is named after Janus, the Roman god who had two faces, one looking forward and the other looking backward. The Romans dedicated New Year’s Day to Janus, the god of gates, doors, and beginnings. This suggests that New Year’s celebrations are founded on pagan traditions.

The Julian calendar used in the Roman Empire since 45 BC, as well as the Gregorian calendar also called the Western calendar and the Christian calendar that refined the Julian calendar in 1582 have January 1 as the first day of the year.

Circumcision of Jesus.
Circumcision of Jesus.

Later on, January 1, the New Year’s Day, was liturgically marked the Feast of the Circumcision of Jesus in the Gregorian calendar of Christendom. The Anglican and Lutheran churches celebrate the Feast of the Circumcision of Jesus on January 1, based on the belief that if Jesus was born on December 25, then according to Jewish tradition, his circumcision would have taken place on the eighth day of his life (January 1).

The Roman Catholic Church considers New Year’s Day as a Holy Day of Obligation and celebrates the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, on this day.

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The Transition to the Gregorian Calendar


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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Do you know that people who lived in the year 1752 AD lost 11 days of their lives?

Normally, except in a few instances, a reform can bring about happier times in our lives. The Gregorian calendar, also called the Western calendar and the Christian calendar that we use today, is internationally the most widely accepted and used civil calendar. It was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582, by papal bull Inter gravissimas dated February 24, 1582 as a reform to the Julian calendar.

Calendar for September 1752

Look carefully at the image of the above calendar for September 1752. You will notice that 11 days, 3rd to 13th, are missing.

To better understand the calendar change of 1752 that led up to this particular occurrence of missing dates we must know a little about the history of major calendars starting with the Roman calendar.

The Roman calendar

The Roman calendar changed its form several times from the founding of Rome to the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. The original Roman calendar is believed to have been a lunar calendar, which may have been based on one of the Greek lunar calendars. As there are about 12 lunations (synodic months) in a solar year, this period (354.37 days) is sometimes called a lunar year with an average length of the synodic month of 29.530589 days. This requires the length of a month to be alternately 29 and 30 days (termed respectively hollow and full). At some point of history dates of months ceased to be connected with the lunar phases, but it is not known when it happened.

A common purely lunar calendar is the Islamic calendar or Hijri Qamari calendar. A feature of the Islamic calendar is that a year is always 12 months, so the months are not linked with the seasons and drift each solar year by 11 to 12 days. It comes back to the position it had relative to the solar year approximately every 33 Islamic years. It is used mainly for religious purposes, and in Saudi Arabia it is the official calendar. In other systems, a lunar calendar may include extra months added that synchronize it with the solar calendar.

The Julian calendar

Following the advice of Sosigenes, the Alexandrian astronomer, Julius Caesar established a more regulated civil calendar based entirely on the Earth’s revolutions around the sun. It took effect in 45 BC (709 AUC). It had three common years containing 365 days, and one year (leap year) containing 366 days (every fourth year). This twelve-month calendar, based on a solar (tropical) year, served for many years in perpetual cycle. This calendar is known as the Julian or Old Style (O.S.) and was used throughout the Roman Empire and by various Christian churches. It was the predominant calendar in most of Europe, and in European settlements in the Americas and elsewhere, until it was superseded by the Gregorian calendar.

The Gregorian Calendar

Pope Gregory XIII celebrating the introduction of the Gregorian calendar. Detail of the pope's tomb by Camillo Rusconi.

Early Christians of Jewish origin celebrated Easter, the resurrection of Jesus, as a new facet of the Jewish Passover festival as both are linked with much of their symbolism, In many languages, the words for “Easter” and “Passover” are etymologically related.

The early Roman Catholic Church found the steady drift in the date of Easter undesirable since it was tied to the spring equinox. In 325 AD, the First Council of Nicaea established the date of Easter as the first Sunday after the full moon (the Paschal Full Moon) after the March equinox. Therefore, the date of Easter varies between March 22 and April 25. A canon of the council specified that all Christians should celebrate Easter on the same day.

The Gregorian reform contained two parts:

  • a reform of the Julian calendar as used before Pope Gregory XIII’s time, and
  • a reform of the lunar cycle used by the Church, with the Julian calendar, to calculate the date of Easter.

The reform was a modification of a proposal made by Aloysius Lilius, an Italian doctor, astronomer, philosopher and chronologist. His proposal included reducing the number of leap years in four centuries from 100 to 97, by making three out of four centurial years common instead of leap years. This part of the proposal had been suggested before by, among others, Pietro Pitati, an Italian astronomer and mathematician.

The Gregorian reform modified the Julian calendar’s scheme of leap years as follows:

Every year that is exactly divisible by four is a leap year, except for years that are exactly divisible by 100; the centurial years that are exactly divisible by 400 are still leap years. For example, the year 1900 is not a leap year; the year 2000 is a leap year.

The Gregorian reform also took note of the change in the mean length of the calendar year from 365.25 days (365 days 6 hours) to 365.2425 days (365 days 5 hours 49 minutes 12 seconds), a reduction of 10 minutes 48 seconds per year and dealt with the accumulated difference between these lengths.

Between AD 325 (when the First Council of Nicaea was held, and the vernal equinox occurred approximately March 21st), and the time of Pope Gregory’s bull in 1582, the vernal equinox had moved backward in the calendar, until it was occurring on about March 11th, ten days earlier. Therefore, the Gregorian calendar began by skipping ten calendar days, to restore March 21st as the date of the vernal equinox.

The bull Inter gravissimas issued by Pope Gregory XIII on February 24, 1582 became the law of the Catholic Church in 1582, but it was not recognized by Protestant Churches, Orthodox Churches, and a few others. Consequently, the days on which Easter and related holidays were celebrated by different Christian Churches again diverged. Protestants and Eastern Orthodox countries continued to use the traditional Julian calendar and adopted the Gregorian reform after a time, for the sake of convenience in international trade. It took almost five centuries before almost all Christians achieved that goal. The last European country to adopt the reform was Greece in 1923.

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Was there a Year Zero?


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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Year zero - blue

Do you know that year zero does not exist in the Anno Domini system of our present Gregorian calendar and in its predecessor, the Julian calendar?

In 525 AD, Dionysius Exiguus (c.470-c.544), a 6th-century monk born in Scythia Minor, modern Dobruja shared by Romania and Bulgaria, introduced the Anno Domini (AD) era used to number the years of both the Gregorian calendar and the (Christianized) Julian calendar.

According to his friend and fellow-student, Cassiodorus (De divinis Lectionibus, c. xxiii), though by birth a Scythian, Dionysius was in character a true Roman and a thorough Catholic, an accomplished Scripturist, learned in both Greek and Latin.

Dionysius introduced the Anno Domini era to identify the several Easters in his Easter table; however, he did not use it to date any historical event. Before he devised his Easter table, Julian calendar years were identified by naming the consuls who held office that year. In the preface to his Easter table, Dionysius stated that the “present year” was “the consulship of Probus Junior [Flavius Anicius Probus Iunior]” which was also 525 years “since the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.” No one knows how he arrived at that number, but there is evidence of the system he applied.

Dionysius invented the Anno Domini system of numbering years to replace the Diocletian era, based on the accession of Emperor Diocletian, that was in vogue and used in an old Easter table because he did not wish to continue the memory of a tyrant who persecuted Christians.

The Anno Domini era became dominant in Western Europe only after the English monk Venerable Bede used it to date the events in his “Ecclesiastical History of the English People,” which he completed in 731 AD.

Historians have never included a year zero. For example, there are 999 years between January 1, 500 BC and January 1, 500 AD: 500 years BC, and 499 years preceding 500 AD.

In the Gregorian calendar system that we use now, the year 1 AD follows 1 BC without an intervening year zero. So, the year zero does not exist. Thus the year 2013 actually signifies “the 2013th year.” The absence of a year numbered 0 leads to some confusion concerning the boundaries of other decimal intervals, such as decades and centuries. However, in all Buddhist and Hindu calendars as well as in astronomical year numbering there is a “year zero” that coincides with the Julian year 1 BC, and in ISO 8601:2004 where it coincides with the Gregorian year 1 BC.

In fact, the issue of the millennium reflects a Christian-centric view. Outside the Christian world the year 2000 will actually be the year 5760 according to the Jewish calendar, 5119 in the current Maya great cycle, 5100 years elapsed in Kali Yuga according to the Hindus, 2544 according to Buddhism and 1420 according to the Moslem calendar.

So, the question is: “What exactly is the millennium, and are we actually celebrating on the correct date?” For example, the 20th century began on January 1, 1901, likewise the third millennium of the Gregorian calendar began on Monday, January 1, 2001, and not on the widely celebrated Saturday, January 1, 2000.

This anomaly arose because the Gregorian calendar begins with a year 1 instead of 0. Cardinal and ordinal numbering of years is, therefore same:

    • The year 10 is the tenth year of the calendar and the end of the first decade. 
    • The year 11 is the first year of the second decade. 

Despite this rule, years ending in 0, and not 1, are commonly perceived as marking the beginning of a new decade, century, or millennium. Decades, however, are more used as a collective term such as “the 1930s” and not a periodic term such as “1930-1939”.

By the way, could we attribute the absence of year zero to the fact that Indian mathematician and astronomer Brahmagupta’s numeral for zero (0) did not reach Europe until the eleventh century, and Roman numerals had no symbol for zero?

Bindhu:The ancient Indian symbol for Zero - a circle with a dot in the middle, symbolizing the void and the negation of the self.
Bindhu: The ancient Indian symbol for Zero – a circle with a dot in the middle, symbolizing the void and the negation of the self.

December 21, 2012: THE REAL DOOMSDAY? (Part I – b)


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by Dan Eden for ViewZone

Part I – b (continued)

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For now, let’s forget all the small planets and focus on Jupiter. It makes one complete trip around the Sun every 11.861773 years. There’s a new theory put forth by Dr. Rollin Gillespie which shows that Jupiter, and to a smaller degree the other less massive planets, may trigger the 11 year cycle of sunspots and solar flares.

Here’s how it works.

Solar sleeve
Solar sleeve

The barycenter is not a single point in the Sun. Because the Sun is a rotating gaseous sphere, the barycenter forms a vertical, cylindrical “sleeve” that is partially inside and outside the main solar body. All of the planets have such a “sleeve,” one inside the other, depending on their relative mass and the location of their barycenters. The particular sleeve representing the mass of Jupiter intersects the solar surface at 35.9 degrees North and South. This is precisely where sunspot and flare activity begin and end during each 11 year cycle.The new cycle has already begun with the recent observation of a solar spot with reverse polarity. But some surprising activity on March 27, 2008, showed some huge eruptions with M-class radiation at about the equatorial region of the Sun. [ See Solar Map]. These surprising eruptions suggest a barycenter of disturbance from an object even more massive than Jupiter, placing the “sleeve” outside the Sun. Could this be the beginning of the Galaxy’s effects (keep reading to learn more about this) on our Sun?Scientists have noted that when Jupiter and Saturn are aligned on the same side of the Sun, the solar maximum (the period when we have the most sunspots and flares) is at its weakest; when they are on opposite sides of the Sun the solar maximum is at its strongest. The positions of these two planets on December 21, 2012 are ideal for extreme solar activity.

Position of Jupiter and Saturn on December 21, 2012
Position of Jupiter and Saturn on December 21, 2012.

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The alignment that happens on December 20, 2012
The alignment that happens on December 20, 2012

We recently learned that we had overlooked an even more significant alignment that we are presenting here for the first time [Above]. There is a straight-line alignment of Jupiter, the Earth, the Sun and (most significantly) the Galactic Center (a black hole). This alignment happens on December 20th, 2012 — just a few hours before the actual “doomsday.”

These cylinders are usually quite orderly because the planets adhere to a narrow plane, called the ecliptic which resembles a thin plate extending from the equator of the Sun. The planets hang out here because (in simple terms) this is the zone where the gravitation of the system is the strongest. (see below)

The planets orbit the Sun in a narrow plane called the ecliptic.

But nature is never perfect. The Sun rotates at a slight angle (7.25 degrees), much as our Earth does. As it wobbles, it tilts the sleeves, causing them to clash with each other and eventually disrupt the surface. Having the barycenters of the two most massive planets, Jupiter and Saturn, in maximum misalignment is especially disruptive. This disturbance, to put it simply, works its way to the surface and erupts in sun spots and solar flares or CME’s (Coronal Mass Ejections).

Solar tube

The last solar cycle was at its maximum in 2001. Each active solar cycle has a period when the flares are strongest, usually happening near the solar equator, called the “solar maximum.” This is significant because the next “solar maximum” event will coincide with December 21, 2012. But wait — there’s much more!

Solar flares are pieces of the sun which leap into space, discharging radiation and strong electrical currents that travel outward into space. They often fall back to the surface of the Sun. Sometimes, a very strong flare, called a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME), actually leaves the Sun and this deadly mass shoots out from the Sun towards the planets like a bullet. Usually these CME’s don’t hit anything but occasionally they hit a planet like Earth. Some believe a powerful CME once hit Mars.

Most solar flares are small. But even a small flare can be dangerous. In 1989 a flare hit the North American continent and fried electric lines, zapped power grids in the US and Canada, and created large power blackouts. Flares can also effect our moods and physical health. In theory, a large flare impacting the Earth could zap the ionosphere (there goes all the satellites, cell phones, GPS…) and irradiate the surface, killing every living organism that it touched.

Solar flares and sun spots have an average cycle of 11.120412 years (estimated from one “solar maximum” to the next). Right now, 2009, we are just entering the active period of cycle number 24, after an unusually long period of quiet solar activity. This quiet period led some people at NASA to conclude that cycle 24 would be a very quiet cycle — contradicting the earlier predictions they made for an extremely violent cycle. Now they have redacted their call for a quiet cycle since the activity has again commenced. The scientists who study the Sun have also recently announced that they have measured the solar currents, deep inside the Sun, which correspond the Dr. Gillespie’s barycenter currents. But to date they have not been able to agree what causes these deep currents of solar material.

The small discrepancy between the average 11.120412 year solar cycle and the 11.861773 year period of Jupiter is close enough to be significant but suggests that something else is also influencing solar disturbances. Sure, it could be attributed to the various positions of the other less massive planets, but it could also be something even more significant — the Milky Way.

The Galactic Alignment of December 21, 2012 – M31 Andromeda

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The Perfect Storm

Our solar system is part of a huge disc shaped collection of stars and planets called the Milky Way. We’re located somewhere on the edge of the disc, slightly on top of the narrow disc. But very soon we’ll be moving to the bottom of the disc. This change, from top to bottom, begins on December 21, 2012.

Yes, that’s right. On the same day when our Sun is at it’s solar maximum, something will happen that’s never happened for thousands of eons of time — the ecliptic of our solar system will intersect with the Galactic plane, called the “Galactic Equator” of the Milky Way! [See star chart].

If you imagine our solar system as a bunch of peas on a plate, with a huge meatball in the center, imagine the Milky Way as a city-size pizza with the “Guiness World Book Record Meatball” in its center!

Prior to December 2012 we have been drifting on the top of the pizza, never really able to see the bottom. The plate and pizza are not parallel. They are moving at different angles. We’ve been drifting down, down, down… and on December 21st, 2012, we will be exactly on level with the crust — forming an “x” at the Galactic Equator where galactic gravity is the strongest. After 2012, if we are still here, we will be passing through the bottom zone, viewing the Milky Way pizza from the South.

Yes, there’s even more!

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By some amazing coincidence, not only will we be intersecting with the Galactic Equator, but we will be doing this precisely aligned with the center of the Galaxy where there is maximum mass! More mass means more gravity. More gravity means more influence from those barycenters in our Sun. That means exponential increases in solar disruptions — all coinciding on the same day! Whew!

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[Above: The Hercules Cluster of galaxies. This group of galaxies is held together by the gravitational attraction or “pull” of each individual galaxy on the others in the group. This demonstrates the enormous gravity contained in a galaxy, such as our own Milky Way.]

IMPORTANT NOTE: Many people do not understand the alignment of the solar system’s ecliptic with the Galaxy’s equator. This is because the phenomenon called “the precession” is described as the shifting of background stars due to the “wobble” of planet Earth. In fact, it is not only the planet that wobbles but the entire solar system that wobbles. Many web sites try to debunk the alignment by claiming that it is just the Earth that will be aligned with the Galactic center and the equator. They fail to recognize recent discoveries that show that all of the planets move with the Earth and the Sun against the background stars — including one star: Sirius. Some astronomers suggest that Sirius may, therefore, be part of our solar system.

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An apology and acknowledgement

OK. This has been a “lightweight” description of what’s going to happen. It has been simplified to the point where some scholars and scientists could argue about my presentation. But the main facts are true. The date, December 21, 2012, is a special day. It represents the maximum possible influences for solar flares that the universe can provide. Undoubtedly the Mayans, or the civilization that influenced them, somehow knew about these things.

Over the last decade, I have written a variety of stories about such things as underground cities and government actions that could only make sense if there were no future. I cannot help but think that maybe they, like the Mayans, know about these things. I’d specifically like to suggest that readers take another look at the underground complex at Yamantau that the Russians are building. Could this be a haven for surviving a solar blast? And the “doomsday seed bank” that’s being filled deep inside an Arctic island. And what about past events? Did the Hopi go underground to survive a similar event thousands of years earlier? Should we be going underground also?

It’s also important to stress that December 21, 2012 is only the “solar maximum” but that the gravitational effects of the Galaxy have already started to assert their influence on the Sun. The drift towards alignment with the galactic equator is relatively slow and, in truth, has already started. But the precise culmination of this, plus the alignment of Jupiter and Saturn all make 12/21/12 an ominous date.

I especially want to thank Dr. Rollin Gillespie, a man with whom I corresponded for ten years and who first developed the idea that planetary multi-body systems could be at play in the causation of solar flares. More of his work can be read on a special page on Viewzone. I would also direct your attention to the following two news reports of the discovery of gamma rays coinciding with the Galactic equator (through which we will be shortly passing) and the alarming report that our planet’s magnetic shield (guarding against, among other things, gamma radiation) has been damaged.You may want to continue reading the second part of this article for more details on what to expect.

Please let’s have your input on this important issue. It’s only three years away. Who knows, perhaps the influences of these disruptions will begin well before the solar and Galactic maximum is reached. We may not have that much time left. Here are some additional links to stories that may help understand the possibilities facing our planet and us.

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December 21, 2012: THE REAL DOOMSDAY? (Part I – a)


by Dan Eden for ViewZone

Part I – a

Note: Since this article was first published, viewzone has received more information on “doomsday,” including visual and scientific evidence that a solar “extinction event” happened in the past. 

ViewZone asked me to write a story about the Mayan Calendar. There is a common belief that the calendar holds a prophecy that the world will end in 2012. I knew very little about the whole topic when I began doing the research. I like to think I had an open mind. My investigation began with mainstream archaeology and expert interpretations of the calendar. But it soon took a turn that made my hair literally stand on end. I am now convinced that these prophecies are true.

To understand what is likely to happen to Earth and its people, you will need to remain calm and try to follow the facts. It’s not as simple as some people describe. It requires an understanding of some fairly complicated science, but I think I can explain this in a way that you will easily understand.

End-time stone


The Calendar — A Description

First, the Mayan calendar is also sometimes called the Aztec Calendar. This calendar is recorded as a carving on the Aztec “sun stone,” currently on exhibit in the National Museum of Anthropology and History located within Chapultepec Park, Mexico City. There’s a lot we could say about this carved stone but most of those details are irrelevant to the “end times.”

Our modern calendar, called the Gregorian Calendar, has days, weeks, months and years. In the Mayan Calendar it’s more complex. In fact, it’s really three calendars at the same time.

First there’s a religious calendar that takes 260 days to complete a full religious cycle. There are 20 “weeks” made up of 13 days. Each week has a special name, a graphic logo and unique meaning associated with it. This reminds me of the Chinese years which cycle through “the year of the rat” and “the year of the monkey,” etc., each with it’s special image and meaning.

Graphic logos for each of the 20 religious weeks.

Next there is the solar calendar. This has 365 days, like our modern calendar. It’s divided in 18 months of 20 days each. At the end of the cycle there’s five special days considered to be unlucky because they don’t belong to any month. Each of the months has a special name, graphic logo and some special significance, similar to the icons for the weeks in the religious calendar.

So it is possible, for any specific date, the calculate the religious week and the solar month and to predict the influences that might be guiding fate. But that’s not really what’s involved with the prophecy of 2012. To understand that we must look at the third calendar, called the long count.

While the first two cycles could be thought of as cogs or gears (see below) revolving through time, the long count is a linear number of days, starting from the first day, “1,” and counting through each day to the present. Any day in history can be recorded using the long count and, with some simple mathematics, the corresponding religious week and solar month can also be found.

In writing this article, I thought about creating a javascript program that would do this calculation. My friend, Gene Matlock, then told me that when he was in Mexico, he found a place that sold wooden, mechanical calculators with gears that did just that. He said that Mexicans sometimes used these mechanical calendars to foretell the future or to find auspicious times for special events like marriage or births. Anyway, although it might be nice to know the religious and solar significance, it’s the long count that foretells Doomsday.

End-time wheels – Cog or “gears” can be used to compute the religious and solar cycles for any date.

The days of the long count are numbered with an unusual system. Instead of writing numbers as we do, from right to left with each place being a multiple of 10 (i.e. 10000, 1000, 100, 10, 1), the Mayans had only 5 places.

The first place recorded a number from 0 to 20. To the left, the second place could have a range from 0 to 17; the third from 0 to 19; the fourth from 0 to 19 and the last from 0 to 12. The numbers were written from right to left, like our system, separated by a dot. Instead of multiples of 10, the first place had a multiple of 1 (like our system); the second place a multiple of 20; the third a multiple of 360; the fourth a multiple of 7200 and the fifth a multiple of 144000.

So a long count number, for example, could be written as 4.12.5.9.0 and would be calculated as follows:

(4 x 144000) + (12 x 7200) + (5 x 360) + (9 x 20) + (0 x 1) or a long count of 664,380.

It’s not too difficult to realize that the maximum number which can be recorded this way would be 12.19.19.17.20, although some researchers like to write it as 13.0.0.0.0. This amounts to a long count number of 1,872,000 days or 5125.36 years of our modern calculations. Obviously, the calendar is very old!

Over the years, archaeologists have found carved monuments that recorded the long count for known dates in Mayan history. Once a date was fixed in time, it was easy to determine “day 1” as August 11th, 3114 BC. And it was also easy to calculate the date at which the calendar would end — December 21st, 2012.

The ‘Comalcalco Brick’ [right], is the second fragment known to reference to Dec. 21, 2012 or Dec. 23, 2012.

The date inscribed on the brick is a ‘Calendar Round’, a combination of a day and month position that will repeats every 52 years. The brick date does coincide with the end of the 13th Baktun; Baktuns were roughly 394-year periods and 13 was a significant, sacred number for the Mayas. The Mayan Long Count calendar begins in 3114 B.C., and the 13th Baktun ends around Dec. 21, 2012.

The third glyph on the brick seems to read as the verb huli, “he/she/it arrives.”

Both inscriptions on the Tortuguero tablet and the Comalcalco brick — were probably carved about 1,300 years ago and both are cryptic in some ways.

The Tortuguero inscription describes something that is supposed to occur in 2012 involving Bolon Yokte, a mysterious Mayan god associated with both war and creation. However, erosion and a crack in the stone make the end of the passage almost illegible, though some read the last eroded glyphs as perhaps saying, “He will descend from the sky.”

Trust me, just because the calendar ends doesn’t prove that time, or the world, or life will end. We need to look carefully at December 21, 2012 and try to understand why the Mayans never calculated a date beyond this point in time. To do this we must move from Archaeology to the science of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

It’s all about the Sun

It’s ironic (or maybe not) that the Mayan Calendar is often called the “sun stone.” While the calendar does have “solar” days, acknowledging the 365 days it takes for Earth to rotate around the Sun, it is also true that the Sun plays a key role in the final day of the “long count.” To understand what will happen to the Sun on December 21, 2012, we need to review some scientific terms like “ecliptic,” “barycenter,” and “sunspots.” These are important in the discussion that follows. We’ll start with the most difficult one first.

Terms we will encounter…

What is the Barycenter?

You’ve no doubt heard that Earth revolves around the sun. Well, actually, that’s not quite true!

Have you heard the term “center of gravity”? It’s a technical-sounding term for something pretty simple. It’s the exact center of all the material (that is, mass) that makes up the object. For example, if you have a straight stick, like a ruler or yardstick, there’s a place at the middle where you can balance it on your finger. That’s its center of gravity.

Ruler's center of gravity

But the center of gravity may or may not be the point that is exactly in the middle, distance-wise, of the object. Some parts of the object may be heavier (denser) than others. If you have something like a sledge hammer that is heavier on one end than the other, the center of gravity will be much closer to the heavy end than the lighter end.

Hammer's center of gravity

To get an idea of where the center of gravity is, rest the ends of any object like the ruler or a pencil on one finger from each hand. Slowly move your fingers together without dropping the object. Your fingers will meet underneath the object’s center of gravity. You can balance the object on one finger at that special place.

The actual center of gravity could be close to the surface or deep inside, depending on whether the object is flat like a ruler or a dinner plate, or “three-dimensional,” like a box or a ball. And if you let the object spin (like when you throw it), it will try to spin about that point.

In the case of the Earth and the sun, both bodies actually revolve, or spin, around the very center of the mass (similar to center of gravity) between them. This point is called the “barycenter.” Earth and the sun are “connected” by the gravity pulling them together. It’s just like the light end and heavy end of the sledge hammer. Compared to the size of the sun, Earth is about like a flea on a cat! So the center of mass between the Earth and the sun is almost–but not quite–the very center of the sun.

In the case of a planet the size of Jupiter, which is 318 times as massive as Earth, the barycenter of Jupiter and the sun is a bit further from the sun’s center. So, as Jupiter revolves around the sun, the sun itself is actually revolving around this slightly off-center point, located just outside its center. Thus, a planet the size of Jupiter will make the sun (or any star) appear to wobble a tiny bit. This picture shows you that the center of mass and barycenter can be slightly different points. It isn’t meant to be very accurate!

Barycenter of Jupiter and Sun

We can take advantage of this bit of knowledge and look for large planets in other solar systems by learning to detect this type of tiny wobble in the star’s position.

For now, let’s forget all the small planets and focus on Jupiter. It makes one complete trip around the Sun every 11.861773 years. There’s a new theory put forth by Dr. Rollin Gillespie which shows that Jupiter, and to a smaller degree the other less massive planets, may trigger the 11 year cycle of sunspots and solar flares.

CONTINUED — Here’s how it works.

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