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CHAT: On calendars (was:CHAT: cross-culturation)

From:laokou <laokou@...>
Date:Saturday, December 1, 2001, 19:51
From: "Adam Walker"

> >From: Anton Sherwood
> >When she did return, she brought a calendar from a Thai restaurant. > >It's labelled in Chinese. I knew the weekdays (sun, moon, fire, water, > >wood, metal, earth) but the months are labelled with what appear to be > >special elaborate numerals. ?
> Hmm. I think that might be Japanese? In Chinese the days are Sun, One, > Two, Three, Four, Five, Six.
Well, yes, but the Japanese inherited it from the Chinese. The sun, moon, Venus ("metal star"), Jupiter ("wood star"), Mercury ("water star"), Mars ("fire star"), and Saturn ("earth star") [the five visible planets?] were known collectively as the "Qi1 Yao4" (the seven shining). Days of the week were subsequently named: eg. Ri4yao4ri4 for Sunday, Yue4yao4ri4 for Monday....the Japanese got their hands on it, and voilà, Nichiyoobi, Getsuyoobi, etc. Don't know when this system was eschewed in Chinese and when the number system kicked in historically speaking, but since "li3bai4" means "worship" or "church service" in addition to "week", we might infer it was developed when missionaries were rocking in that neck of the woods. Months, too, had older names before the generic "Month 1", "Month 2"...started. In Japan, several students had these older month names incorporated into their given names to indicate what month they were born in.
>And the "elaborate" forms of the Chinese > numerals are quite unrecognizeable as having any connection to the
> forms except for "five" and one of the options for "ten".
Perhaps the calendar is trying to be Chinese lunar calendar almanacky which is why it's using old, esoteric forms. Kou


Nik Taylor <fortytwo@...>