New Year Special Article: Fun Story about Calendars!
Posted on: December 29, 2017.

We look at calendars every day, don’t we? We refer to it for days and dates, and for information on holidays and religious occasions, to plan vacations, or make important decisions. We keep ourselves organized using calendars.

However, in ancient times, seasons and farming schedules needed to be tracked, for which calendars were developed. Even historic or religious events were recorded using calendars—

the Mayans made a complex calendar spanning thousands of years!

the Babylonians developed a calendar with 364 days, and added 11 extra days at the end of each year!

the Chinese calendar divides the year into 365 days. The years are also grouped into twelve year cycles. Each year is given the name of an animal.

the Muslim calendar is a lunar calendar, consisting of 29 to 30 days in each month. No extra days are added and the calendar doesn’t follow the solar schedule.

Julius Caesar asked Sosigenes, a learned astronomer from Alexandria, Egypt, to create a calendar. The Julian calendar was three months shorter in relation to the seasons. On the advice of Sosigenes, Caesar added ninety days to the year 46 BC and started a new calendar on 1 January 45 BC. Sosigenes advises Caesar that the length of the solar year is 365 days and six hours. The resulting calendar had 365 days and each month had 30 to 31 days.

The New Year in 26 BC began on 1 January and ran over 365 days until 31 December. Augustus Caesar made further adjustments and introduced the concept of the “leap year” in 4 AD. The Julian calendar included a leap year every fourth year. This simple error caused the calendar to skip ahead of the actual solar calendar. The resultant Julian calendar remained in almost universal use in Europe until 1582. Our modern (Gregorian) calendar was developed from this early version.

In 1582 AD, Pope Gregory VIII introduced his Gregorian calendar, and fixed the erroneous Julian calendar which was widely adhered to by Europe. The Gregorian calendar still adds leap years every fourth year, except during century years not evenly divisible by the number four. The original goal of the Gregorian calendar was to change the date of Easter. Since the Julian calendar miscalculated the length of the solar year by 11 minutes, the calendar had since fallen out of sync with the seasons.

Adhering to the Gregorian calendar, most western nations began celebrating the start of the year on January 1. However, England and the American colonies continued to celebrate the New Year on the date of the Spring Equinox in March. The British and their colonies finally adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752 AD. The Gregorian calendar is used throughout the world today and is very accurate.

The names for the days of the week come from the Saxons. The Saxons named the days of the week after their gods.

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