The new moon is what you’ll see (or won’t see) when you look up tonight. It’s always been something I’ve paid attention to because one of my family members gets pretty manic on a full moon.
So, anyway I did some digging… It turns out that the new moon is kind of a big deal, the unsung hero of celestial happenings.
- The Islamic calendar has retained an observational definition of the new moon, marking the new month when the first Crescent Moon is actually seen, and making it impossible to be certain in advance of when a specific month will begin (in particular, the exact date on which Ramadan will begin is not known in advance). In Saudi Arabia, if the weather is cloudy when the new moon is expected, observers are sent up in airplanes. In Pakistan, there is a “Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee” consisting of Ulemas (Religious Scholars), which takes help from 150 Observatories of Pakistan Meteorological Department all over the country and announces the decision of sighting of new moon. In Iran a special committee receives observations of every new moon to determine the beginning of each month. This committee uses one hundred groups of observers.
- An attempt to unify Muslims on a scientifically calculated worldwide calendar was adopted by both the Fiqh Council of North America and the European Council for Fatwa and Research in 2007. The new calculation requires that conjunction occur before sunset in Mecca, Saudi Arabia and that moon set on the following day must take place after sunset. These can be precisely calculated and therefore a unified calendar is imminent if it becomes adopted worldwide.
- The new moon is quite significant in Hindu calendar. People generally wait for new moon to start new works. Waxing period of moon is considered good for all good works. Fifteen Moon dates each for waxing and waning period are there. Fifteen dates are classified in five categories, namely Nanda, Bhadra, Jaya, Rikta and Purna and three rotations of these five categories are there. The category rotation starts from first date of moon ending at fifth date and then starting at sixth date and so on. Nanda dates come on First, Sixth and Eleventh moon date, same can be known about others. Nanda dates are good for auspicious works. Bhadra dates can be good for works related with community, social, family, friends. Jaya dates are good where we need to deal with some conflict. Rikta dates are not considered much good and do good for works related with cruelty. Purna dates are good for every work.
- The new moon is the beginning of the month in the Chinese calendar. Some Buddhist Chinese keep a vegetarian diet on the new moon and full moon each month.
- The new moon signifies the start of every Jewish month, and is considered an important date and minor holiday in the Hebrew calendar. The modern form of the calendar is a rule-based lunisolar calendar, akin to the Chinese calendar, measuring months defined in lunar cycles as well as years measured in solar cycles, and distinct from the purely lunar Islamic calendar and the almost entirely solar Gregorian calendar. According to Jewish tradition, the Jewish calendar is calculated based on mathematical rules handed down from God to Moses at the moment the command was given to make sure that Passover always falls in the springtime. More likely, this fixed lunisolar calendar was introduced by Hillel II. This calculation makes use of a mean lunation length used by Ptolemy and handed down from Babylonians (see Lunar_theory#Babylon), which is still very accurate: ca. 29.530594 days vs. a present value (see below) of 29.530589 days. This difference of only 0.0000005, or five millionths of a day, adds up to about only 4 hours since Babylonian times.
- The native messianic Pentecostal group, the New Israelites of Peru, keeps the new moon as a Sabbath of rest. As an evangelical church, it follows the Bible‘s teachings that God sanctified the seventh-day Sabbath, now largely known as Saturday, and the new moons in addition to it. See Ezekiel 46:1, 3. No work may be done from dusk until dusk, and the services run for 11 hours, although a large number spend 24 hours within the gates of the temples, sleeping and singing praises throughout the night.
- The new moon is also an important event in Wicca. Some Wiccans celebrate only the full moons and others celebrate both dark and full. The waning phase is a time for turning inward and reflecting. It is a time for reaping what was put forth in the waxing phase of the moon. The waning phase is often used for banishing rituals. The dark moon is a quiet time; a time for divination and personal workings. The dark moon is a time for holding power.
For me, new moons are usually a time of quiet reflection.
I guess I’m not alone. Aside from all of the global attention — I saw a week of fantastically reflective posts from Eli Radke on Hitting The Reset Button, JC Parets on Why Charts?, & then Chicago Sean blew the doors off with Trading is…
Personally I’m too busy (& reflective) to share any original thoughts of my own right now, but seeing all of the genius made me want to dust off this old academic gem, from CXO advisory about Lunar Cycles & Stock Returns. Enjoy