We are born in an era where everything is made easy for us (thanks to our ancestors who invented things that we get to enjoy today). Without the help of technology, it must have been hard for them. Take calendars for example. Have you ever wondered why, who and when it started? Let’s take a look at the seven historical facts about our calendar.
1. In 45 B.C.E (Before the Common Era), Julius Caesar made January 1 as the start of the year. However, the Council of Tours declared that having the year start on 1 January was an ancient mistake that should be abolished.
2. The Byzantine Empire started the year on September 1. They didn’t count the years since the birth of Christ, but counted years since the creation of the world which they dated to 1 September 5509 B.C.E.
3. Italy and England did not make January 1 as the start of the year until 1750.
4. The Julian Calendar was replaced by the Gregorian calendar (which we are currently using) because it was too inaccurate. The latter did not reflect the actual time it takes the Earth to orbit once around the Sun. The Gregorian calendar on the other hand, uses a much more accurate rule for calculating leap years.
5. In 1577, Pope Gregory XIII appointed physician Aloysius Lilius and astronomer Christopher Clavius to solve the problem of the Julian calendar which was out of sync with the solar year by about 10 days. In 1582, after five years of finding fixing the problem, the two came out with a solution in 1582 that eventually led to the birth of the Gregorian Calendar. They eliminated the extra 10 days were dropped in October, leap years will be every 4 years except on centennial years that aren’t divisible by 400, and moved the New Year from March 25 (the Feast of Annunciation) to January 1.
6. The first countries to adopt the Gregorian Calendar were Spain, Portugal, and Italy which were known for their Catholic beliefs. For many years, different countries have been using different calendars which meant they followed different rules of calculating leap year.
7. Curious about how the months were named?
Bikos, K and Kher, A. "Change From Julian to Gregorian Calendar." TimeandDate.com. N.D. https://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/julian-gregorian-switch.html
History of Our Calendar. Webexhibits.org. N.D.
Plumer, Brad."We've been using the Gregorian calendar for 434 years. It’s still bizarre." Vox.com. 4 October 2016. https://www.vox.com/2016/10/4/13147306/434th-gregorian-calendar-anniversary-google-doogle