What day was it?

Back in the 90s, I picked up a book called ‘Days, Months & Years – a perpetual calendar for the past, present and future’ by the extraordinarily named Magdalen Bear. I’ve no idea if it’s still available, but it’s one of those books that has been turned to frequently and which I always know where it is, despite it being a stapled pamphlet without a spine. By a very simple and clever calculation, you can find out what day of the week any previous date was (at least in the Gregorian and Julian calendars).
As Helen remarked the other day, getting the details right is important (see under ‘Silent Skies’ – it’s funny). It can become obsessive, of course – who will know or bother to find out, for instance, if the execution was on a Wednesday as you’ve said? But it all leads to that wonderful quality, authenticity. And I find it useful to know when Sundays were, so that my characters can have a day off.
This morning I needed to know the date of Easter in 1459 and my little book let me down. Easter is quite difficult to calculate because first you must know the date of the Paschal Full Moon. I found a website to help: www.assa.org.au/edm.html#Calculator. The answer is that Easter Sunday, 1459, was March 25th.
What time is it? An hour since I sat down to work and found I’d left myself a comment in the text saying, ‘check date’.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. I like to check dates where I can. For the third in my Sea Witch Series (Bring It Close) I needed specific dates as the story revolved around Halloween – 31st October 1718 to be precise. While writing I plucked a day for that date from nowhere, Thursday, intending to check it during one of the final edits.
    To my shock when I Googled for a 1718 calender. OMG 31st October 1718 WAS a Thursday! Whether the Google site I used was accurate I have no idea, possibly it wasn’t, but the hairs stood up on the back of my neck I can tell you!

  2. Helen, I’ve had similar experiences so often that one is almost driven to find an Explanation – only the very process of explaining such things may, I fear, stop them happening. So I crave the synchronicities and enjoy the horripilation and indulge now and again in a little bit of wondering. . .
    Here’s to the Muses, the Faeries, the Genii and all attendant spirits who dance in the minds of novelists.

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