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by Abigail Van Buren

Wide Variety of Cultures Use Many Ways to Count the Days

DEAR ABBY: I enjoyed the column you published Nov. 26 with letters from readers about 13-13-13, and I'm not the least astonished that many of them didn't get the humor.

You failed to point out that several calendars actually DO have 13 months, among them the Muslim and Chinese calendars, each of which are lunar-solar calendars. Thus, 13-13-13 could be possible. My personal preference would be for 12 months of 30 days with a midsummer two-day break and a midwinter two- or three-day break. It may not be practical, but it would be fun. -- JOHN S., CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO.

DEAR JOHN: Thank you for the "timely" information and moral support. I confess that when I wrote my reply to the original letter, which appeared Sept. 4, it did not occur to me to check any calendar other than the one on my desk. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: Your 13th month column was hilarious. It made people think. However, Orthodox Jews must be writing you by the thousands over your 13-13-13 "mistake." The ancient Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar in which a 13th month occurs every few years. Even secularists can count 13 new moons every 365-day year. This is why new moons are never at the same time of the "month," and why Jewish holidays never fall on the same day of the week. -- RICHARD IN PALM DESERT, CALIF.

DEAR ABBY: There have been many calendars adopted throughout the ages as a way of measuring time, whether using the Gregorian currently used by Western civilization or by the lunar or solar means. Among them: the Mayan, Aztec, Babylonian, Zoroastrian, Hopi, Hindu, Egyptian, Roman and the Baha'i. Let us all celebrate in diverse and creative ways with love, compassion and encouragement. -- CAROL IN POST FALLS, IDAHO

DEAR ABBY: I was glad to see you embrace the intelligent idea that we will return to using the 13-month calendar by the year 2013. The insanity promoted by the ego-driven Gregorian calendar contributes much to the materialistic consumerism madness that pollutes our world.

Until we return our focus to the organic, cyclical nature of time we will not truly begin the healing of Mother Gaia to the extent we are able. Bringing mankind's consciousness back to a natural order of time will do much to heal the insanity that causes us to think we are superior to nature and the natural order of all things. -- A.J. IN YREKA, CALIF.

DEAR ABBY: I'll bet most of your readers would be surprised to learn that there are some places in the world that DO have 13 months. Ethiopia's tourism motto is: "13 Months of Sunshine." Each month has 30 days, leaving five days (six during leap year) for the 13th month of Pagome. Their calendar is also about seven years behind ours. So, while you still can't celebrate 13-13-13 -- even in Ethiopia -- you CAN claim to be seven years younger. -- ETHIOPIAN AT HEART, ST. JOSEPH, MICH.

DEAR ABBY: Thought you might be interested to know that George Eastman, founder of Kodak, established a company-wide calendar based on 13 months, each with four weeks -- plus a New Year's Day. So in 1913, there WAS a 13-13-13. And if it had been on a Friday, then every month of that year would have had a Friday the 13th, too. -- LEONARD M., ROCHESTER, N.Y.

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby -- Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)