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From very early times, the Mesopotamian lunisolar calendar was in wide use by the countries of the western Asia region. The structure, which was also used by the Israelites, was based on lunar months with the intercalation of an additional month to bring the cycle closer to the solar cycle, although there is no evidence of a thirteenth month mentioned anywhere in the Hebrew Bible.

Num 10:10 stresses the importance in Israelite religious observance of the new month (Hebrew: ראש חודש, Rosh Chodesh, “beginning of the month”): “… in your new moons, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt-offerings…” Similarly in Num 28:11. “The beginning of the month” meant the appearance of a new moon, and in Exod 12:2. “This month is to you”

According to the Mishnah and Tosefta, in the Maccabean, Herodian, and Mishnaic periods, new months were determined by the sighting of a new crescent, with two eyewitnesses required to testify to the Sanhedrin to having seen the new lunar crescent at sunset. The practice in the time of Gamaliel II (c. 100 CE) was for witnesses to select the appearance of the moon from a collection of drawings that depicted the crescent in a variety of orientations, only a few of which could be valid in any given month. These observations were compared against calculations.

At first the beginning of each Jewish month was signaled to the communities of Israel and beyond by fires lit on mountaintops, but after the Samaritans began to light false fires, messengers were sent. The inability of the messengers to reach communities outside Israel before mid-month High Holy Days (Succot and Passover) led outlying communities to celebrate scriptural festivals for two days rather than one, observing the second feast-day of the Jewish diaspora because of uncertainty of whether the previous month ended after 29 or 30 days. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: How is time measured in the world you have created? OR How does your character feel about time?

Journaling Prompt: How do you feel about time?

Art Prompt: Lunar Calendar

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about how the way we measure time has evolved throughout history.

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