Saturday, September 19, 2009

Eid Mubarak! Right?

Tomorrow marks the beginning of Eid-ul-Fitr, the three day holiday at the end of Ramadan.  Or at least I think it is.  The thing is that the Islamic Calendar can be a little confusing.  It's kind of like the lunar calendar, but it's not.  Like the lunar calendar, the Islamic month has 29 or 30 days.  Unlike the lunar calendar, the Islamic month begins when the rescent moon is sighted .  This means that if it's cloudy on the 29th day of the month, welp, the month is 30 days instead.  So, Eid might start tonight/tomorrow since it's the 29th day of the month of Ramadan.  But if the moon isn't sighted, it will start tomorrow night/Monday.  This means that it's impossible to plan when a holiday will be, and holidays fall at different times of the year (last year Eid was 10 days later than this year).

I've always been pretty confused by this, maybe even had a bit of a superiority complex about it.  I mean, doesn't the Gregorian calendar just make so much more sense?  But then today I was discussing all of this with an Afghan friend.  I said, "Yeah, all of our holidays are always on the same date. . . like Christmas and Martin Luther King Junior Day.  Well, except the holidays that are on the same day of the week a certain week of the month . . . like Labor Day, Thanksgiving, or Memorial Day.  But then there's Easter which is always on a Sunday but is anywhere between March and May."  At this point, I realized that I don't really know why Easter is on a different day each year.  I'll wikipedia it.  But really, our holiday calendar is pretty confusing too.  It makes for easy scheduling for work and things, but it's a little complex!

So, I might have the rest of the week off of work.  I don't really know how I'll find that out since I didn't stand outside waiting to sight the moon.  Hmm, complicated.

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