Set your own start of the year
HELIO COMPASS inventor Kaichi Sugiyama offers a commentary on the real-time motion of the stars, and this inspires Swedish pizza parlor Omnipollos hatt to design a pizza. Each edition of Cosmic Pizza presents a new pizza created through a collaboration between HELIO COMPASS and Omnipollos hatt.
New Year 2023
Gregorian calendar (solar calendar beginning in winter)
Italy, Spain, France, United Kingdom, United States, Japan, and more
Lunar New Year (lunar calendar beginning in spring)
China, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan, South Korea, North Korea, and more
Tibetan calendar (lunar calendar beginning in spring)
Bhutan, Tibet, Nepal
Hijri calendar, Maya calendar, HELIO COMPASS (solar calendar beginning in spring)
Hindu calendar (lunar calendar ending with full moon)
Vikram Samvat (solar calendar beginning in April)
Islamic calendar (purely lunar calendar)
Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, and more
Hebrew calendar (lunar calendar beginning in autumn)
Hindu calendar (lunar calendar ending with new moon)
When to begin the cycle
The week is a cycle of seven days—this much might sound like common sense. Then what about the point at which a new week starts? Actually, that depends on who you ask. Some people prefer the week to start on Sunday, and others on Monday. (As for HELIO COMPASS inventor Kaichi Sugiyama, whose sense of time doesn’t revolve around the days of the week, he says whichever is fine.) Calendars and day planners are available in both formats, with weeks running from Sunday and from Monday, and the iPhone’s calendar app can be set to start on either Sunday or Monday too.
The preference might depend on one’s job. In Japan, for instance, many beauty salons are closed on Mondays, so a hairdresser’s Monday corresponds to an office worker’s Sunday. For people working in the service industry, where Saturday and Sunday are the busiest days, Friday night might feel like Sunday night for people who are off on the weekend.
Why few babies are born on the weekend
The circular shape of the HELIO COMPASS helps put an entire year in perspective and highlight details that might have been missed before. Kaichi once tried mapping the vital statistics of Japan in 2019, released by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, on the HELIO COMPASS, and he discovered some amazing facts.
Between 2,000 and 3,000 babies were born each day on average; however, the number dropped by about 1,000 on weekends and holidays. The birth rate peaked around the middle of the week and fell to extreme lows during extended holidays such as the New Year. Why? Probably because doctors charge extra on closing days and during late hours. Kaichi suggests that births are timed to coincide with hospital hours as a result of our mindset.
The day of the week might seem irrelevant to the moment a new life enters the world. But in reality, our awareness of the days of the week is powerful enough to control when to deliver the gift of life.
Boundaries are all in the mind
We have preferences over more than just the days of the week. Considering that day planners are sold year round beginning in January, April, and September, the point at which a new calendar year starts also depends on who you ask. In the Gregorian calendar, the New Year falls on January 1. In the HELIO COMPASS, it’s set at the spring equinox. Across Asia, the Lunar New Year is celebrated in February. And in India and Indonesia, where multiple calendars are in use, the New Year rolls around several times a year.
What marks the boundary between the old year and the new one anyway? The New Year’s Eve countdown is a familiar sight. Five, four, three, two, one, zero! And boom, the celebrations begin. But what exactly has changed between five seconds ago and now?
India has several national calendars of which one begins with a new moon and another different one ends with a full moon. That is, the calendar year needn’t always begin at the beginning—it can begin at the end too. Whether in matters as private as selecting a day planner or as public as running a country, the transition point can be set at the beginning or the end. It’s very flexible.
“Put the other way around, where you set the transition point can give shape to an entire culture,” says Kaichi.
The notion of calendars and even of time was created by the human imagination. No animal sets transition points. That’s something only we humans do. But the settings can be changed according to our beliefs. In other words, YOU are free to place your transition point anywhere you like. When will you set your own start (or end) of the year?
A SLICE OF SPACE
New Year Anytime
The spicy tomato Sun, the spinach and herby Earth, or the fruity crescent moon—start eating this three-in-one pizza anywhere you like!
Born 1977 in Shizuoka Prefecture, Sugiyama self-studied calendars and designed the HELIO COMPASS. His invention was inspired, to some degree, by the extremity of time that he experienced in the course of his part-time job at a pizza parlor.