2015 Blood Moon
Posted by Frank Yee on 9/28/15
The last time the moon attained the same state of redness was in 1982, the same year Chris was born. It made me think of ancient times and how the only light source other than the use of fire came from the sun and the moon, which accounts for the words, sunlight and moonlight.
Two ancient civilizations also created calendars based on the rotation of the moon, the Jews and the Chinese. And when you think about it, it makes perfect sense, since the sun always rises in the east and sets in the west. But every four years, we have to add an extra day in February before the calendar can be brought back into “alignment.” The moon’s position, however, changes with each passing day or should we say, night, which explains why early adventurers navigated their ships by using the stars at night to guide them.
I often ask guests on my walking tours of Chinatown, for example, why December 25 is always celebrated as Christ’s birthday each year but Easter, an even more important holiday, is observed on a different Sunday so that there is no fixed date. The reason, of course, is that Easter, Passover, Qing Ming are all based on the lunar calendar and not the solar one.
What’s interesting is how the word, bright, in Chinese is composed by the combination of both the sun (日) and moon (月) to form 明, and can mean intelligent in both English and Chinese (聪明)! The Chinese word for understand is 明白, and actually not that different from the English expression of “seeing the light,” which suggests one comprehends.
We should also consider how in Spanish, Italian, French, and even Romanian the first day of the week is based on a word that is related to the moon. English is certainly no different, since Monday came from “moon day.” Once again, it comes right after the day named after the sun!
Yesterday morning, the yoga instructor at the JCC reminded everyone how a full moon causes the elevation of the ocean tides and since we are 85% water, it also affects us, too, which probably explains how we get the word, lunatic.