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It’s that time of the year again. The clock has ticked, the numbers have switched, and another year has gone by.

Actually the day on which New Year takes place is purely arbitrary. The earth goes round the sun every 365+ days, so it’s a matter of debate when the cycle starts.

If you were going to place the New Year in the winter, the most obvious day would be December 22nd, after the solstice, when the days start getting longer again. That’s the day our ancient ancestors, the people who built Stonehenge, placed it.

It’s what Stonehenge was built for, to track the solstices, so our ancestors would know what time of year it was.

Which makes our modern New Year nine days late.

The calendar we currently use is a recent invention. It is known as the Gregorian calendar, after Pope Gregory XIII, who introduced it in 1582 to correct an error in the earlier Julian system.

The word “calends” means “the called”. It represents a countdown to the day when debts were called in in the ancient Roman world. In other words, it is a bureaucratic device for the management of money.

The moon cycle – or “month” – is actually around 28 days long, but in the Gregorian calendar a month can be anywhere between 28 and 31 days and has no connection to the moon whatsoever.

As a measurement of time it is completely absurd.

Imagine if a mile could be anywhere between 1603 and 1935 yards, depending on which part of the country you were in. It would make calculating distances nearly impossible. And yet we put up with our peculiar and uneven measurement of time as if it was a natural thing.

So we hold our New Year’s celebrations nine days late for no other reason than that our clumsy and outmoded calendar-system tells us to.

We put the clocks forward in the spring and back again in the autumn, thus messing up our body clocks twice a year.

Our months have no connection to the Moon, and our year has no connection to the Sun.

It’s no wonder we’re acting like aliens on our own planet.

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