As rare astronomical-slash-calendrical occurrences go, this evening’s full moon is fairly up there. The last time a blue moon happened on December 31 was in 1990, a night of which I have no memory whatsoever, and the next one will not happen until 2028. Don’t expect to remember much about that one either.
Of course, as often happens with human-designated events, a “blue” moon can mean different things to different people. One possible origin for the term was from medieval Christian
fanatics religious leaders who were being driven crazy by their bizarre methodology for calculating Easter, a moveable feast whose date is based on a certain number of days following the first full moon to occur on or after the Vernal Equinox. In some years an additional full moon appeared in the Spring that threw off their calculations; it was called a “belewe” (false) moon and ignored, so their careful calculations wouldn’t be upset by reality.
Other folk conventions were related by the Farmer’s Almanac and, wondrously, it was a mistaken interpretation of the Almanac made by a highly trained astronomical scientist writing about the phenomena that gave us today’s common usage, for a second full moon occurring within the same calendar month.
Inconsistent and erroneous astronomical interpretations are themselves fairly common, more so than Blue Moons. Tonight, for instance, is not actually the beginning of a new calendar decade just as January 1, 2000 was not the first year of a new Millennium. There was no Year Zero in the Gregorian calendar so the First Year C.E. was 1, the last year of the First Millennium was 1000, and 2000 was actually the last year of the Second Millennium. That would make 2001 the first Year of the Third Millenium and also the first year of a new decade, with 2010 the tenth and last year.
But nobody cares anymore these days about arithmetical accuracy and complicated stuff like that there except for pointy-headed Liberal intellectuals, so go right ahead and enjoy all of tonight’s coincidental sky stuff to the fullest extent that your particular physiology will allow. I know I intend to.
New Year’s Eve Passage of Time Moon Mood Music
The Ella Fitzgerald 1956 version of Rogers and Hart’s 1936 song:
Five years later, do-wop from the Marcells:
Bill Monroe playing his composition “Blue Moon Of Kentucky”, starting out in the original 3/4 tempo then stepping up to 4/4 as re-arranged by Carl Perkins and later recorded by Elvis Presley:
Every full moon has its antipode. This is from my childhood, smooth and sultry Bonnie Guitar singing a Ned Miller composition, the first pop song I learned to harmonize with:
To round things out a little something psychedelic from the 60’s, the radio play cut:
And finally a delicious duet from Cindy Lauper and Sarah McLaughlin:
Happy New Year, to One and All.