The first chapter is omitted for the time being.
February 16, 2017 11:04 PM   Subscribe

Soviet attempted calendar reforms. Featuring the five and six day weeks.
posted by Chrysostom (16 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
And a happy 29 Pluviôse CCXXV to you all!
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 11:59 PM on February 16, 2017 [14 favorites]

This must drive historians bonkers. I recall some theologian determined the date of the creation; creationism aside, it's this practical concern with different calenders, leap years, corrections and localisations that make such an ambition impossible.
posted by adept256 at 12:16 AM on February 17, 2017

I dunno, I would think it might just be path dependence on the 7-day week; if they'd figured out a practical way to keep families synchronized, and to otherwise adequately accommodate shared leisure time and non-work life, it might have been sustainable.

I'd heard about this before but not with this level of detail, so thanks for the post!
posted by XMLicious at 12:48 AM on February 17, 2017

I know that it will never in a million years happen but how I wish we would adopt a 13 month calendar, corresponding exactly with the lunar cycle, full moon on the same day of each month. I've been off/on with an Ashtanga practice in recent years and that has got me much more closely attuned with the cycles of the moon, I'm rather an oddity as a city dweller who knows the current phase of the moon.
posted by dancestoblue at 3:01 AM on February 17, 2017

I don't keep any ritual or observance associated with the moon, but I'm always keenly aware of what phase it is in. It's just how I've always been, don't know why.

I seem to remember hearing about, like, the Roman calendar, which had like weeks that weren't parts of months blocked out as religious parties or something. And other such things.

I think I read sometime the way they synchronize calendars across historic civilizations as diverse as Africa and South America and China and Europe is by finding recordings of celestial events associated with dates in each of those calendars and using those as hinges.
posted by hippybear at 4:18 AM on February 17, 2017

Interesting, though it seems odd that the author so praises the success of industrialization in the USSR without mentioning the human cost.
posted by rikschell at 4:40 AM on February 17, 2017

The calendar at the top of the post starts in October, which the article sadly does not mention.
posted by madcaptenor at 5:03 AM on February 17, 2017

Our reform calendar guarantees every worker a 40 hour work week! Each week is 5 days and each day is 8 hours!
posted by ardgedee at 5:39 AM on February 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

I know that it will never in a million years happen but how I wish we would adopt a 13 month calendar, corresponding exactly with the lunar cycle, full moon on the same day of each month.

Unfortunately the lunar month is approximately 29.5 days, which is inconvenient to start with. The solar year is about 365 days, and 13 lunar months is about 383 days, so we it would be an awkward fit, to say the least, if we used the lunar calendar.
posted by Literaryhero at 6:07 AM on February 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Dave Gorman has already fixed it thus
posted by moonface at 6:54 AM on February 17, 2017 [4 favorites]

Lousy Smarch weather!
posted by dr_dank at 7:03 AM on February 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

Somehow this reminds me of Philip Jose Farmer's Dayworld books, in which humans have addressed overpopulation by dividing humanity into seven groups, each of which gets one day out of the week. When you go to sleep at night, you're actually going into suspended animation for the next six days, during which six other cadres of people take their turn using the world for a day. Over time, the cultures of the seven groups have diverged considerably, which makes things tricky for those resisters and criminal types who remain awake and play different parts in each of the seven days.
posted by Naberius at 7:28 AM on February 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

Kodak (the film and camera people) used the International Fixed Calendar until 1989.

"The calendar year has 13 months with 28 days each, divided into exactly 4 weeks (13 × 28 = 364). An extra day added as a holiday at the end of the year (December 29), sometimes called "Year Day", does not belong to any week and brings the total to 365 days. Each year coincides with the corresponding Gregorian year, so January 1 in the Cotsworth calendar always falls on Gregorian January 1.[3] Twelve months are named and ordered the same as those of the Gregorian calendar, except that the extra month is inserted between June and July, and called Sol. Situated in mid-summer (from the point of view of its Northern Hemisphere authors), the name of the new month was chosen in homage to the sun."
posted by Wild_Eep at 7:42 AM on February 17, 2017 [10 favorites]

I preferred the month names Freezy, Sneezy, Breezy, etc...
posted by MtDewd at 7:52 AM on February 17, 2017

An interesting piece; I'd known about the attempted reform, but had no idea it lasted so long. But this is frustrating: "This revised version of the reform proved much more durable, lasting until 26 June 1940." So what happened in June 1940? Why was the decision made to drop it? All that explanation of why it got going and what it was for, and then boom, suddenly it's over. I mean, I can find out elsewhere, of course, but it's an obvious question that should have been addressed.

Carping aside, great post!
posted by languagehat at 7:57 AM on February 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

Great post :) Didn't know the Soviets did this.

Bookmarking for inspiration for the game I'm designing.
posted by symbioid at 9:50 AM on February 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

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