I came across the concept of the 13-Month calendar years ago when doing late night “research” on the Mayan calendar. It struck me as a concept that was worth developing. 13 28-Day (4 Week) Months and a single Day off (A “No” Day). It follows the Moon cycles more closely (but not perfectly, it never will, but at least we can get closer) and as well, it follows the female menstruation cycle. That sounded very “natural” to me.
The problems I noticed however, were that none of the proposed 13-Month Calendars being circulated were at all the same, or similar. Everyone had a different start date, most of them having a date that to me, made no sense at all. No one could agree on which day of the week to start the week on. And, this is the biggest problem, they were all plagued with “New Age” names. To me, adding a 13-Month (and even changing the date of New Years) were going to be big enough changes to sell, getting people to use completely new names, especially sets of names that no one could agree on, was just going to make it harder to reform and get people on board. So, I sought out to make a better calendar, a calendar that people would accept and that made sense to the general public, not just New Age Mayan aficionados. The product of which I share with you now.
The Perfect Month
The first thing I wanted to do was scrap the idea of changing any of the Months’ names. Not only are people use to the current names, but they are use to them in many languages. It is ingrained, at least in western culture, and actually have a lot of historical significance. As one website said regarding an attempt in the 19th century to spread the 13-Month and a similar reason as to why it failed to catch on:
This “Positivist” calendar, however, was so belabored with names of prominent men and women from ancient to modern times that it received a cold response. About the beginning of the twentieth century, the plan was revived by Moses B. Cotsworth who eliminated the superfluous names, thereby simplifying the plan.
October is no longer the 8th Month of the Year, but it use to be, and keeping its original name reminds us of that. It is a history lesson in of itself.
Likewise, January, February, March, May and June are named of Gods from Roman mythology. This is a huge part of our societies history. Without the Romans we would not have the civilization we have today. Modern concepts of Democracy and Republic are grounded in this past culture. The names of the month pay tribute to that. April is even taken from the Latin “to open” signifying the Spring and budding of plant life.
Even July and August (named after Julius and Augustus Caesar respectively) are part of the Calendar’s history, being that the two men were instrumental in the reformation of the Calendar that we still use today (with the help of Gregory). So then, what should the name of the 13th Month be? The only proposal I can recall that kept the old names called the final month “Sol.” This didn’t cut it, and didn’t seem to follow the motif to me. Say the months in a row and add “Sol” to the end, it doesn’t sound right and being an English major, I know that the majority of “proper” language and linguistic is simply making our speech sound good to the ear.
What did sound right to the ear, and came about quite naturally as I was doing these studies, was the name “Jaktober” being a combination of my name “Jack,” the month I was born in “October” and the German spelling of that month as my family name is German. Thus: Jaktober. This follows the previous two new month names July and August, which were named after the last two people to radically reform the Calendar, it uses the semantic conjugation of the numerical months (September, October, November, December, Jaktober), and adds a bit of humor to the whole thing. I am not set on this name, but I needed a name for the month, and surprisingly the majority of people (actually everyone except one of my closest friends who is simply trying to keep my ego in check) take to it very easily. “Jack” is a name used to generically refer to people, similar to “John.”
The Winter Solstice as New Years
This to me was obvious. If we are basing this new calendar off the Mayan calendar, and most people’s knowledge of the Mayan Calendar revolves around the Winter Solstice (specifically in 2012), then it makes sense to center the Calendar and Year around that Day. This means that the “Off-Day” is the Winter Solstice, which is the shortest “Day” of the Year (the least amount of Sun Light), which completely plays to the idea of making it an off-day. This would be written as 0/0 (0/0/2012, 0/0/12, or 0/0/1, etc.)
As well, this open up the use (and acknowledgment) of the Solstices and Equinoxes as perfect Quarters of the Year. Now our yearly quarters actually reflect the relevant change of Seasons. This brings up another reason why these reformations are important; in making our Calendar revolve around actual orbital events, it passively teaches the masses of people very concrete knowledge of the Earth’s cycles, the Moon, and the Seasons. It makes physics lessons a part of our daily lives. It teaches about plants and life, and why weather changes. It just makes sense.
The Persian Leap Year
Another problem I ran into, by means of the solution, is the changing date of the Solstice. This is caused by our imperfect Leap Year system (every 4 years except centuries, with the exception of centuries in the 200s and the millenniums…or something like that). I was pleased when I found the Persian Leap Year (or Jalaali Leap Year) that took care of this issue, by basing its system on the acknowledgment that the Solstice should stay on the same Day of the Calendar every year. Instead of an over complicated system, it made a very simple except to the “every 4 years” rule, by adding an extra year to every 8 “Leaps” giving us 8 Leap Days every 33 Years (rather than 32). This keeps the Solstice on the same day of the Calendar every year.
My proposal is to add the Leap Day after the Winter Solstice to create a two-off-day “Year End” every 4 Years (or 5 on the 8th Leap). This would be written as 0/1 (0/1/2015, or 0/1/4, etc.)
Another idea (just had while writing this) would be to add the Leap Day at or near the Summer Solstice.
Really, this Calendar is open for more editing and reforming, I’m just hoping to get us all to an agreed starting point so we can spread the concept and move forward.
Start the Week (and Month) on Monday
This would take a little adjustment to the Day of the Week when implementing this Calendar (those that use it can say stuff like “Tuesday is my Thursday”), however, this is a minor inconvenience and only really needs to happen once. This reason we should start the week on Monday is that it semantically makes sense. Monday is “Moon Day”, and thus a new Month (derived from the word “Moon”) should start on a Moon-Day.
Likewise, Saturday and Sunday are called the “Weekend” because they are at the “End” of the “Week.” As well, with the advancement of technology and Permaculture freeing us from the need of labor more-and-more everyday day, having a two-day sabbath (to jive with both Christian and Judea practices) at the end of the week will become a very do-able thing. [See: 2012 Enlightenment Theory]
I think with these specific reforms (feel free to use something different than Jaktober if you wish) I think the 13-Month Calendar can be easily accepted by the majority of people when shared with them.
Thumbnail Image accredited to Chris Marcinkowski