Saturday, December 31, 2011

Who Celebrated the New Year in Huronia and When?

Pope Gregory XIII, Gregorian Calendar comes from him
When one reads the primary source documentation that relates to the First Contact period in the New World it is important to note that these writers used more than one calendar to record events. If the writer was Catholic then events were recorded with dates in the Gregorian calendar;   if Huguenot (Protestant) one would most likely have recorded events on dates from the Julian calendar. At this time of year these calendars would be a year and 11 days apart and would not come close to alignment until March 21st when the Julian calendar New Years would take place. The 11 days however would remain an issue. To add to this confusion, the priests would often record an event using the liturgical calendar so one gets references to events taking place on St. Bernard's day or other feast days unique to the Catholic rhythm of life.

As to the First Nations the rhythm of life appears to have been based on the season, the sun and the moon as these were the things that influenced the the hunt and the harvest that the people relied on.

In some Native cultures each full moon had a name and events would be recorded with referring to its proximity to the closest full moon. As to the Native New Year it seemed to vary culture to culture based on the solstice or equinox and how the season was viewed. Was the spring viewed as the time of renewal and hence the New Year or was it the shortest day of the year that signaled winter that brought the year to a close?

As a result of these various references to time and dates there are some recorded events that are quite confusing, to me at least, to place in context when recording what happened to whom where and when.

So to those of you who function using the Gregorian calendar I wish you the best of the season - whatever that season may be.

1 comment:

John Raynor said...

Thanks for the upgrade on the post Bill - I like the photo and the hyperlinks.