Arctic Sabbath

This probably would be a good name for a band. But having just heard a sermon about the Sabbath last weekend, and reflecting on the fact that the length of the Sabbath differs with the seasons, it struck me that in the arctic and in Antarctica, the Sabbath, and any Jewish or other observance that depends on sunset, could face serious issues.

I discovered that I was not the only person to have thought about this. There is a Wikipedia page dedicated to “Jewish Law in the Polar Regions.”

But I thought that “Arctic Sabbath” sounds better as a band name than “Polar Sabbath.”


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  • Peter Kirk

    It is much worse for Muslims observing Ramadan, which has just started. As the sun will never set for the whole month in much of the Arctic, on a strict interpretation any Muslims there would have to fast day and night, from water as well as food, for 30 days. No wonder Islam never spread north of about 50 degrees latitude.

    • Paul D.

      That problem also came up for the first Malaysian astronaut to visit the ISS, which happened to be during Ramadan. When can you eat, and which way do you face to pray, when you’re on a space station orbiting the earth every 90 minutes?

      • James F. McGrath

        It might make for a fun science fiction story, depicting a group of humans who have a very strange religious practice, and they are visited by someone from Earth who realizes that the practice in question results from rigidly applying a reigious calendrical custom originating on Earth in a new context where a rigid application resulted in something very odd indeed.