Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sunrise? Sunset?


“Sunrise, sunset, quickly go the years” as the song in “Fiddler on the Roof” laments, but when does a day begin to start the counter? For Jews in the play/movie, a day began as stated in the Bible, at sunset. This is a practice still followed by Jehovah Witnesses and by ancient Athenians and Phoenicians who used other source material. For Babylonians a day begins at sunrise. This leaves ancient Egyptians and Romans who considered a new day to begin at midnight, but had no clocks to determine when this occurred.

Thus when Christmas or New Year’s starts depends on whether you are a light to darkness, darkness to light, or darkness-to-darkness person. For that matter the birth of Jesus occurred probably in the month of March, which just so happens to be when the New Year began until a few hundred years ago. What all this means is beyond me except to show you this photograph of either a sunrise or sunset.

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