Calculating the year must be the one thing which causes the most confusion amongst Torah believers when considering the calendar. I am hoping that this will be cleared up soon as Yeshua guides us to the Truth.
Let us practically think about what a calendar is before looking at determining how to see where it starts. The year has 4 seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter. The calendar is therefore divided in four quarters.
How does the seasons change? The seasons change with the movement of the sun in respect of the earth. When the sun is in the northern hemisphere then the day will be longer there and it will be spring and summer. When the sun is in the southern hemisphere then the day will be longer there and it will be spring and summer. When the sun is not in your hemisphere it is during this phase in which you will find the shortest day and it will be autumn and winter.
The sun’s position therefore is what will show us in which season we are. Each quarter is a new season. When it is the equinox then the sun is at the equator and then day and night is the same length. When the sun is at it’s furthest point into a hemisphere then it is called a solstice and this is when it will be the longest day in the hemisphere where the sun is and the shortest day in the other hemisphere. Each of these quarters ends the one season and starts the next season.
Does it then make sense to say that the year should start in the appropriate season? How can the year start at the end of the previous season? Passover, Unleavened Bread and First Fruits are called the Spring Feasts. So then does it not make sense to have the year start in spring? With other words the first New Moon of spring will show the first month of the year.
If this is so it will make the determining of the years much easier. Let us take this thought to the next level and take a few steps back. Take into consideration that we are looking into determining the calendar through nature. This is after all what Scripture tells us to use.
Spring is determined (thinking Northern Hemisphere) by looking at the March equinox. This is when the sun is at the equator and the day and night is equal. One way in which to determine this will be to see that both day and night equals 12 hours. Another way in which to determine this is by looking at the sun setting or rising which will be perfectly east or west. This is normally around 21 March in the year. The spring equinox is when spring will start. Now that we have determined the equinox we can look for the next New Moon to determine the First Month of the year.
The above method allows nature to dictate the calendar for us. However many may disagree with this. Some would say that when the Full Moon is after the equinox then that month would be the First Month. This would mean that by the time that you have determined the equinox several days of the new year have already passed. Does this make sense? Where is the time for the preparation for the Spring Feasts?
Some would say that “x” amount of days should be before or after the equinox for that month to be the First Month. However, this has the same problem as the theory about the Full Moon. Who provided the quantity of days to be used? By the time you have calculated the equinox then once again several days of the new year would have passed. Again, where is the time for the preparation for the Spring Feasts?
Using the first New Moon after the equinox as the First Month is the only one that truly makes sense. If I am wrong I will patiently await Yah to edify me.
Until then I will be using this method.