2005/12/30

Marau Yabaki Vou!

"Me Nomuni na marau ni siga ni sucu dei na yabaki vou" , is Fijian for "Merry Christmas and a happy new year".

The New Year will begin a moment after midnight at the 180th Meridian - the international dateline - of our planet. It lies over only ocean except where it crosses the eastern most tip of Russia in the far north, Antarctica in the far South, and Vanua Levu, Rambi, and Taveuni in the Fiji Islands. As a result, the only people to experience the first seconds of the new year are likely to be those on Taveuni. Because time zones deviate from the meridian for convenience sake, other island nations can claim this as well, but only these Fijian Islands lie right on the meridian.

In the old days, European plantation owners - sneaky and greedy bunch that they were - took advantage of this situation. They would work their employees seven days a week by having them work on the west side of the meridian through Saturday. They would then move them to the east side of the meridian, where they would awake on Saturday all over again, thus denying them a day off. Christian missionaries were particularly upset by this little trick as you might imagine, if for no other reason than a lack of church attendance. The practice was soon abolished.

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Fijian Girl With Her Left Foot in Yesterday and Right Foot in Today!


Technically speaking, the whole idea of the day beginning on Taveuni does not hold much water anyway. The international agreement of 1884 that set the position of the meridians placed the Prime Meridian (zero) at Greenwich, England, which is where the day officially begins for purposes of astronomy and navigation. The international dateline is not established by any treaty, though widely accepted for the convenience of telling time. But why spoil the fun?

As the hour approaches, please remember this my friends:

No matter how intelligent, or how wealthy, or how powerful we may become,
we cannot create a single grain of rice, the beauty of a flower, or the smile of a friend. These things are gifts for which we should be truly grateful.

Wherever you are on this big blue marbel in space that we call home, I wish you all a very healthy, mindful, and joyous New Year.

-Pandabonium

7 comments:

j-apricot said...

Thank you for sharing the nice photo.
A Happy New Year!

@ロウ 。LOW@ said...

Arhhh, i thought i feel something.

Happy New Year to you too(two), my friend!

The Moody Minstrel said...

Hmm...

If Santa Claus really does live at the North Pole, what does he do, I wonder. After all, all the meridians converge there, including the international dateline, so that means he lives in yesterday, today, and tomorrow all at the same time!!!!

Ahh...this is too confusing for me.

Happy New Year, everybody!
Honnenmo yoroshiku onegaishimasu!

Don Snabulus said...

We will be spending New Year's Eve among friends this year. May 2006 be better than 2005 for Pandabonium and his readers!

YD said...

An age-old cliche:
(i think it sounds like this roughly)

We can't change yesterday,
We can't control tomorrow,
But we CAN decide today.


Everyday is a new day, we choose how we live. So, live in present!
(Somehow reminds me of the momentous samsara and karmic processes again...)

I shall join moody in being confused.

P/S: the datelines sure do make a havoc to Santa's grammar tenses (present/past/future)!

anyway... enough blabbering.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Pandabonium said...

Perhaps Santa just lives in the "present" as he delivers the "presents".

czaxrk - last utterance of the T-rex (teacher) when blasted by Spaceman Spiff (Calvin).

The Moody Minstrel said...

Ba-dum BUM!

(sound of a moody minstrel falling head-first onto the hallway floor...)