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Santa goes trick-or-treating

Halloween and Christmas.

One of them is about a month in the past; the other is a few weeks in the future.

One involves dressing up in all kinds of costumes, many of which call to mind the evil figures from myth and legend; the other involves the birth of the Christ Child, symbol of all that is good.

It appears the two could not be more opposed to each other. And yet, in one way, they can be seen as exactly equal to each other.

Let’s start by looking at the months of the year. (Trust me, I’ll get back to the main point soon.) Many years ago, there were 10 months. The first six had specific names, and then apparently the ancient Romans ran out of imagination, since the last four months were basically called “the seventh month,” “the eighth month,” and so on.

And yes, for those of a more scientific bent, I am definitely giving the quick and dirty explanation for the names of the months, but it’s my column.

All was well and good, until first Julius Caesar and then Augustus came along and decided they wanted to have their own months. So they came up with July and August.

Now, it might seem the natural thing to do was add the two months to the end of the year, but that wasn’t good enough for our Caesars. No, they needed to be the centre of attention, so they took spots seven and eight in the calendar for themselves, and just shoved the rest of the months back two spots each.

However, they didn’t bother renumbering the months or renaming them in any other way. That’s why we have September, which should be seventh, as the ninth month; October, which should be eighth, as 10th; and so on.

And now we get back to the point of Halloween and Christmas being equal to each other. When I speak of things being equal, I use the term in its mathematical meaning, which is that they are precisely equal to each other.

So if I’m using ‘equal’ in a mathematical sense, I must be looking at Halloween and Christmas in a mathematical sense as well, right?

Halloween is October 31, which is to say day number 31 of the eighth month. Christmas is December 25, which is to say day number 25 of the tenth month.

Let’s express those in basal form, which ends up showing that 31 (base 8) is equal to 25 (base 10).

Thus, ergo, QED, Halloween and Christmas are exactly equal to each other.

Just don’t go out trick-or-treating on December 25th. It doesn’t work.

Don’t ask me how I know. A friend of mine may have tried it one year.

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