I’ll start with something which is known for everybody (because of a stereotype) – arabic sense of time. What does it mean? “Take it easy!” Did you manage today? Wonderful! You didn’t? No problem! Bus schedule? What for? Just wait – maybe 5 minutes, maybe half an hour. Someone would say that you can’t ever be efficient in such system but also… you are not a prisoner of your watch. This attitude therefore has – as everything – its pros and cons. But that’s not all.
Recently I’ve come across a practical calendar – it’s practical here among this religios diversity of the Holy Land. I’ve discovered that “today” doesn’t have to be the same for all – nor month or day or even year or a feast.
What is the date?
On that day, according to the Gregorian calendar (the most common known all over the world), there was a Feast of Our Lady of Palestine (she was born here after all!). The Julian calendar points, though, that it’s 12 October and the liturgy memorial of St Theodor and Rufus, martyrs.
According to the Coptic calendar (Copts are indigenous Christians of Egypt) – it’s a 15th day of the month baabah (no idea what’s this calendar, if one day I know, I’ll tell you!), the year 1731. There’s all different story for Muslims who use the Lunar calendar – two years ago on 25 October they celebrated… New Years Eve of the year 1436. From the perspective of “our” Solar calendar, all their feasts are moveable (means they fall every year on a different date – “Gregorian date”). Just as Easter.
Back to the future
It took me some time until I figured out in which centuary the Jews live actually. According to the page of calendar of 25 October 2014 it’s… first day of the Hashawan month, year… 5775 (means it’s LVIII centuary. Fifty eight.)
All this mess is in force just in religion. In every day life the most common calendar is the Gregorian one. Only Arabic newspapers seem to try to preserve the Lunar one also. Most of the people, though, jump over this double dating. How did I know it? Even though the Arabic names of months are common in newspapers, the people have difficulties to name all of them in order. They usually use the English or French equvalent, or simply “first month”, “second month” etc. You may also find special indications next to the dates – a letter m () or h (). The first one comes from a word miladee, means “birth day” (of Jesus Christ of course), the second one is hijree means the year when Muhammad left Mecca.
It past days we’ve also changed the time to the winter one. It wouldn’t be anything extraordinary if not the fact that… they don’t change it in West Bank and Israel in the same time. Is it useful for anyone? Certainly not for those who live in Bethlehem but work in Jerusalem!
Well, that’s all. Don’t forget to like and remember to come back to Bethlehem in few days!