The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

One of those days

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

March 25th… this is one of those days on which a random series of events lend the day a sense of odd concurrence and portentous destiny. Cherry picking any series of historical events in the name of stitching together a narrative is an easy thing to do, and its best practice is expressed by the art of propaganda. Certain patterns, moments of causality and traditional celebration, however, do seem to cluster around parts of the year. Equinoxes or traditional holidays that transcend temporal distance and cultural extinctions, the remarkable October 31Nov. 2 period, the end of december and first week of january, middle-late march, and the last week of august all have long chains of historical events that coincide with ancient Roman feast days- which were post modern celebrations of antiquity even in their own time.

from wikipedia

At an equinox, the Sun is at one of two opposite points on the celestial sphere where the celestial equator (i.e. declination 0) and ecliptic intersect. These points of intersection are called equinoctial points: the vernal point and the autumnal point. By extension, the term equinox may denote an equinoctial point.

An equinox happens each year at two specific moments in time (rather than two whole days), when there is a location on the Earth’s equator where the centre of the Sun can be observed to be vertically overhead, occurring around March 20/21 and September 22/23 each year.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Roman feast of Hilaria Matris Deûm (honoring Cybele) fell to it’s apex today, and of course its the Christian Feast of the Anunciation, and the British Empire legally abolished the Slave Trade on March 25 in 1807.

Today is also the anniversary of the 1947 Centralia Mine disaster (a seminal moment in the history of the American Labor movement), the Rev. Martin Luther King’s 3rd march on the state capitol in Montgomery, and closer to home- it’s the anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire which happened in 1911.

from wikipedia

The Annunciation is the Christian celebration of the announcement to Mary by the angel Gabriel that she would become the Theotokos (God-bearer). Even though a virgin, Mary would conceive a child who would be the Son of God. Gabriel told Mary to name her son Jesus (“Yahweh delivers”). Most of Christianity observes this event with the Feast of the Annunciation on 25 March.

According to the Bible, the Annunciation occurred in “the sixth month” of Elizabeth’s pregnancy (Luke 1:26) with the child who would become known as John the Baptist. This celebration of Jesus′ incarnation falls nine months before that of his Nativity.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Deep in our colonial past, prior to 1752- in fact all across the early British Empire – March 25th was actually New Year’s Day. Commonly called Lady’s Day, it dates from the days of the Julian Calendar, which was established by Caesar.

from wikipedia

The logic of using Lady Day as the start of the year is that it roughly coincides with Equinox (when the length of day and night is equal) and it is worthy to note many ancient cultures still utilse this time frame as the start of the new year, for example Iranian new year. In some traditions it also reckons years A.D. from the moment of the Annunciation, which is considered to take place at the moment of the conception of Jesus at the Annunciation rather than at the moment of his birth at Christmas.

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 25, 2010 at 12:12 am

Posted in linkage, Photowalks, Pickman

Tagged with , ,

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