Calendars are invented by people. There are different calendars, made by different people, in different places at different times.
Over the past 2500 years, there have been one hundred reforms of the Chinese Calendar. One thousand years ago, the Hebrew Calendar had a shuffle.
Most significantly for our times was the Gregorian calendar replacing the Julian; the Julian created by Julius Caesar.
Should it be done again?
The thought of changing the calendar is not new. The fact of twelve months with different numbers of days has often been criticised.
Auguste Comte suggested moving to a 364- day year which included one or two “blank” days.
Every month would begin on a Monday. Of course having ‘blank days’ isn’t worth a brain cell.
There are suggestions that one or two days be added to the calendar to account for the annual solar cycle. One like the Pax Calendar, adds a leap week to the 364-day year for 71 out of 400 years.
Another thought was to divide the year into 52 weeks of 13 months of 28 days and 4 quarters of 91 days (13 weeks). To do it this way would seem possible.
Why hasn’t it been done?
The last time the calendar was actually changed there were riots. Actually insane riots. The protesters screamed about Government stealing eleven days of their lives!
The public, although alerted that there would be a change from the Julian to the Gregorian could not deal with it. All they could grasp was that yesterday it was September 2, 1752, today it is September 14.
All the people could see was that these days of their lives have disappeared.
Theses days had ‘disappeared’ from France in 1582, from Austria in 1584 and from Norway in 1700 when they adopted the Gregorian Calendar. The British were among the last to accept the Gregorian calendar.
An Interesting Feature
On the Julian Calendar, the year began in March; in fact March 25 was New Year’s Day. This kind of makes sense, considering the beginning Spring, and that Aries, the first sign of the Zodiac begins.
On the Julian, a year was 365 days and 6 hours long.
When the solar year was measured more accurately, it was discovered the Julian system exceeded the solar year by 11 minutes. This is no biggie until it reaches 24 hours every 131 years, and three days every 400 years.
Considering the time line, these are the 10 days between 325 A.D. and 1582 A.D.
Pope Gregory XIII ordered a new calendar, called the Gregorian in 1582.
In those days, the Pope was very powerful, and most of the world, had used the Julian. The year moved forward by 10 days on October 5, thus restoring the vernal equinox to March 21.
The ‘leap days’ would be omitted three times in every 400 years to keep the calendar steady.
Getting the massive change of calendar was not that hard as many nations were Catholic and the Pope was the had of the Church.
England refused to go along with the new calendar and maintained the Julian system until the mid-18th century and by then the difference had grown to 11 days.
All British lands except Scotland, which changed its calendar 100 years before, would now celebrate New Year’s Day on January 1.
There were people who were alive into those centuries who comprehended the flawed Julian calendar.
They may live in England, but began to use the Gregorian as soon as it was created, while going along with the Julian. This is why early colonial records include double dates, written as “12 February 1661/1662,” indicating that, although it was officially 1661, some considered it to be 1662.
When dealing with dates, between the 16th and 18th century one must double-check those found in English-speaking countries between 1582 and 1752 and be alert to the double dating.
These double dates occur only in January, February and March–never in any other months and never after 1752.
Oddly, the changing of New Years made no sense, as March was the first month of the year before 1752.
As mentioned before, keeping March the 1st month would tie into the first sign of the Zodiac, and into the Spring Equinox.
13 Month Calendar
Above is the 13th month Hebrew calendar, which is still used. The months are of different lengths. The months are set by the moon. It works because the days are important, there are six days then a Sabbath.
The problem with changing days and adding days disrupts this due to the religious nature of particular days.
A blank day, being of no particular term, would be counted by the religious so there would be a shift where to those who follow the calendar would call it Friday but for the religious it would be Saturday.
Although thirteen months is possible, (‘stealing’ 3 days from January, March, May, July, August, October and December, and 2 days from April, June, September and November, creating a New Month of 29 days) it would not be any more efficient than the calendar we use today; for that extra day, unless unnamed would have the beginning of a month moving along a week so that the subsequent months would all begin on a different day.
A bit of improvement, but not by much.
When people travel into space, and spend years there, the nature of a calendar, of days of particular times would end.
A day would not have to be 24 hours long. There would be no day and night, and schedules would be set based on the most efficacious use of time.
On other planets which have different day lengths, orbit times, there would be the creation of a kind of Universal calendar.
Until that time, it seems we on Earth have a calendar of Roman names for the months, some of which are out of whack; such as September, which means Seventh Month but corresponds to the 9th month of the year. Old Norse names for the days of the week, Thursday which means Thor’s day, and a Zodiac where the signs begin in the middle of a month.
Those who follow non Gregorian calendars, such as those who follow the Hebrew or Islamic calendars, which are lunar, have their holidays falling at different times each year.
This is why Easter, which is set on the lunar calendar falls at different times, sometimes different months.