As they do from time to time, my birthday and Mother’s Day coincide this year. The last time that happened was 2017, six years ago; the next will be 2028, five years hence. I had to look that up.
The way that dates cycle erratically through the days of the week is not entirely clear to me. In theory, I get it: 365 days is not evenly divisible by 7, so we move by one day every year, except when we move by two for a Leap Year, but only after Feb 29. In practice, translating that into a pattern I can keep in my head has not yet happened. I’m guessing it won’t.
Others seem to have the same problem, including an astrophysicist and economist at John Hopkins University. Their solution? Make every year the same:
- Start every year on the same day of the week (Sunday)
- Follow that with four 3-month sets of two 30-day months and one 31-day month
- Tidy up the whole with an end-of-year Leap Week every five or six years, a sort of week-out-of-time
I wonder how their proposal is being received. I find that people usually embrace change, don’t you?
“The natural date for the introduction of these changes is 1 January 2012,
because it is a Sunday in both the current Pope Gregory calendar
and the simple, new calendar,” the researchers wrote.
Yes, the article is from 2011. It seems that calendar reform hasn’t caught on. Colour me not surprised. Colour me a little disappointed, too: It would be nice to know the day of the week for any given date, at least going forward.
But colour me a bit relieved, too. I checked to see if Mother’s Day was May 14 in the year of my birth: 1952. Wouldn’t that be fun? Not so fast, Isabel. It turns out that I was born on a Wednesday. Oh, oh–what’s that doggerel?
Monday’s child is fair of face,
Tuesday’s child is full of grace.
Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
Thursday’s child has far to go.
Friday’s child is loving and giving,
Saturday’s child works hard for a living.
And the child born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe, good and gay.
Well, there you have it: I’m Wednesday’s child. Oh, woe. We’d have to go back a long way to make that calendar change, and I’m guessing that retroactive calendar reform would go over even less well than prospective reform, if it’s possible to do “less well” than an absolute non-starter.
Instead, I guess I’ll just appreciate that even if the day of my birth is celestially fixed, my birthday and I are free to roam erratically through the week and through all the diverse ways of being in the world.