The Calendar — our concept of cycles — Months, seasons and years

It's no exaggeration to state that all major government and business systems worldwide are run by computers. Computer processors are controlled by the master signal coming from their inbuilt clock and calendar. This calendar is the same everywhere in the world. This article provides the background on how the calendar that is used achieved such universal acceptance.

Babylonian Clock. The division of a day into 12 hours — sometimes defined as moments — an hour's division into 60 minutes, and a second division into 3600 "seconds", can be traced back to ancient times in the Middle East, with the earliest records found in Babylon (modern day Iraq). However, the length of each hour would vary according to the season. "Are there not (always) 12 hours in the day?" asked Jesus in John 11:9 regardless of the season. It is the development of mechanical clocks that altered this situation, the "second hand's arrival" ca 1759, a fixed unit of time.

Table of Contents

Months and Seasons and Years


Days AM and PM. Fixing the Date of Birth

Years since Birth of Christ (AD)



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Months and Seasons

Roman (and Middle-East) Calendar — early lunar calendars. And for much of Roman, in fact all history, when it came to making appointments or business contracts or any important decisions, months have had a major significance. Months were originally based on the moon cycle see here — new moon to new moon — 29½ days average in a year. The 1st day of the month would start after the dark New Moon. This day was the Calends or the "Call out" as the priest used to do to indicate he had seen a thin silver crescent (at sunset). This procedure can also be observed in the Middle East calendars. In China and Egypt, the month started on the day of the dark new moon which was very clearly seen (or rather, not seen).

Now in Rome there were initially only 10 named months in the year. First month of the year was March, the start of Spring and dedicated to Mars who was their god of war - soldiers preferred not to fight during winter. This month was also the first month in the ancient Persian calendar, as is currently used in Iran. Also the Jewish calendar, where the first month of Spring was originally named Abib "an ear of (barley) corn", but was later called Nisan "beginning" from the Akkadian language following the Jews' exile in Babylon. If the barley crop would not be ready, or abib, by the twelfth month, another month was added to the end of the year.

Since a solar eclipse 359 AD, March 15 and worldwide dispersal of Jews — to align the years they use the tactic of having 7 extra lunar months in every 19 solar year cycle, with a "molad" (birth) of new month every 29 days 12 hrs 44 mins 1 helek (3⅓ seconds).
Check with a calculator: 235 lunar months * 29.53059 days = 6939.69 days. 19 solar years * 365.2422 days = 6939.6 days (virtually identical).

Astronomy Aids. Regarding years their first month (Nisan) came as the month of (or month following) the Spring Equinox - March 21 - a day when hours of day and night are nearly equal. When the Spring Equinox was due inside the month, it would normally be prior to (or on) the 15th day, the first day of Jewish Passover week, when the Jews celebrated their being delivered from "oppressor" nation Egypt and became a nation.

The 360 day Calendar Year

Click here for traditions worldwide. The principle appears to have been one established before the flood in Genesis (see Gen 7:11   Gen 7:24   Gen 8:4). Apparently used in ancient India, Babylon, Africa, Rome, and the early Mayan civilization in America.

An additional astronomy aid used historically to assist with this yearly cycle in Egypt was the "Dog" star Sirius which, following a 70 day or so hiatus, rose in the night sky just before dawn about the time of the summer solstice, every 365¼ days, becoming Egypt's New Year's Day.

It heralded the annual flooding of the Nile, June to September, and in preparation the Egyptian priests established their "civil" year to be 365 days (but with no leap day) that consisted of the standard twelve "civil" months of 30 days and an extra intercalary month of 5 days. However, the lack of the extra leap day meant that every four years New Year's Day came one day later inside the "civil" year. Note, this "Coptic" calendar is still employed in Egypt, though since 25 BC it has employed the leap day rule.

Note too, awkwardly for Egyptian historians, feast days like the New Year began on different days at different latitudes along the Nile Valley, having rival capital cities Thebes in the south and Memphis in the north. Click here for other Egyptian chronology issues on which there is little consensus.

A second astronomy aid was the planet Venus, a "sister" planet to Earth, that dawns as the "morning" star around set months during every eight year cycle. Click here for further details.

Click here for an article on "time zones" today, showing equinoxes (and solstices) in Brisbane and Jerusalem.

Israel and 80,088 Sabbaths: Here's a paragraph for those who like figures. If we take 1535 years * (365.242 days in a solar year / 29.530589 days in a lunar month), the difference in months from Moses and the Jews "coming out" on 15 Nisan in 1505 BC to the first day of passover week when Christ was crucified on Friday, 15 Nisan in 31 AD see timeline equates to 18,985 lunar months. If we multiply those 18,985 lunar months by 29.530589 days, we obtain a figure of 560,638 days, adjusting to 560,637 days after accounting for Joshua's long day (Joshua 10:6-14), ie 80,091 weeks, indicating that the Jews left Egypt (the world as judgment fell on them) also on a Friday. This aligns with the passage in Exodus 16:1-5 when we see the establishing of their seven day week on 15 Iyar, 4 weeks & 1 day later, Sabbath 1, with Sabbath 80,088 followed by the Lord's resurrection. There was a promise of food, quail, to be available that evening, then manna the following morning, the Sunday. And the principle of 6 days of gathering food Sunday through Friday was announced, with just the amount to be gathered that would be sufficient for the day. "Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack." Exodus 16:18 also in 2 Corinthians 8:15. Any extra that was held over bred maggots and stank. A double portion was always available on the Friday to cover Saturday, a day when no work was to be done, but rather to be a rest day holiday dedicated to God. This appears to be the first practical application of a seven day week, when a whole nation was "trained" into using it as a way of life. Confirmed with the giving of the ten commandments in Exodus 20:1-17, about three weeks later.

Back to "pagan" Rome, 800 years later, their last named month was called December, signifying the start of Winter. As for the other month names: "April" was dedicated to Aphrodite — Venus, "May" was dedicated to Maia — goddess of fertility, "June", now summer, was dedicated to Juno — wife of Jupiter and queen of the gods. The remaining names were Quinctilis, Sextilis, September, October, November, December — which were the Roman numbers from five to ten. After Julius Caesar who rebuilt the calendar was deified (the year after his assassination), the month of Quinctilis was renamed as July after him in honour. His great-nephew Augustus, who announced Julius Caesar's deification and then later tidied up problems with the leap years, was honoured with the name of the next month.

So in Rome, time through the year was measured with 10 named months, adding up to 295 days, with the remaining two (or three) months in a year seen as an unnamed winter gap. It was really quite awkward (from an accounting point of view) to analyse and report on payments and receipts from one group of seasons to the next. And when the sky was cloudy, even knowing when one month finished and the next one began could be difficult to tell (without the priest's say-so).

Numa Pompilius (715-673 BC) traditionally the second king of Rome, and successor to Romulus the founder of Rome — is believed to have established the months of January and February, or, according to some sources, initially February and January, in that order . January was named after their two-headed god of doorways — the doorway that looked back over the past year and forward to the new year. February closed off the year. It came from a word which meant "skins" — flayed from goats and relating to their ideas of purification as it was felt (during Winter) that the month was evil. The skins also kept you warm. He regulated the number of days in each month: 4 months of 31 days — March, May, July and October, February to have 28 days, and all the other months had 29 days. This brought the total to 355 days, with months with their individual festivals still lined up (approximately) with the phases of the moon.

A monthly reference point for the Romans was the Ides of the month (normally a full moon), which was half way through the month: "Idus — divide in 2". This became regulated as the 15th day of the month (with 31 day months), or on the 13th day (with the other months). Another reference point was on the 7th or 5th day and was called the Nones, being nine days (one Nundinae) before the Ides (counting both days inclusively). The Romans then counted down to the Ides as if launching a rocket to the moon: i.e. 8,7,6,5,4,3 — and then the day before was known as the "pridie" (pronounced pree-dee-ay). With the day after the Ides, you were counting down 17 days to the next Calends (except in February). Interestingly, our method of numbering each day of the month consecutively did not become commonplace in the West until about 1000 AD.

And every now and then that extra month or intercalary month was tacked at the end of February. Similar to other civilizations. In China, New Year's Day traditionally came the second new moon after the day on which the December solstice occurred, December 21, the shortest day of the year, the day the sun’s path is furthest to the south. Due to the awkwardness of individuals having to agree on daily sunrise and sunset, the priesthood let everyone know whether the year held this extra month (or whether it didn't).

453 BC. In Israel it was the year Daniel had prophesied when Cyrus's decree for the restoration and rebuilding of Jerusalem would issue forth, followed by 69 sevens that culminated with Christ's glorious entry into Jerusalem in 31 AD.

And throughout the world, famous philosophers and teachers were beginning to impact their societies: Confucius in China, and Buddha in India. In Greece, Anaxagoras (click here to view fragments of his philosophy) was formulating that space, matter, time and mind, were infinite in scope. So compelling was this thought, influencing philosophers from Socrates Plato and Aristotle all the way down to Hegel and Marx that only in the past 100 years (click here) have scientists seriously questioned it.

Following the advent of the Roman Republic in 509 BC, a revised calendar was now published as part of the Twelve Tables, Rome's code of law. Every 2nd year in a 4 year cycle, February would be split after its 23rd day, an intercalary month of 22 days inserted, then 5 days (which included February's final festivals) placed at the end. Every 4th year February split after its 24th day, the same 22 day intercalary month inserted, then 5 days at the end. This intercalary month was called Mercedonius from the Latin word for Marketing when a worker/soldier was entitled to extra remuneration. Thus, over 4 years, each year would average 366.25 days. This establishing of a fixed four yearly cycle, based around the winter solstice and the seasons was, of course, much easier administratively for government, for tax, for business, and for all other legal purposes.

However the pontiffs ("bridge makers") who were the priests in ancient Rome, were still allowed to overrule on whether to have the intercalary month in any given year. The 4 year cycle was still about four days too long. Also, intercalation was considered unlucky and, during the Second Punic War (218-201 BC), when Rome struggled against Carthage, the priests were hesitant to make any changes at all. At other times skipping it was used to push a financial or political advantage — for example, dismissing an unpopular consul sooner than expected if the intercalary month would have normally been due. Note — there were two consuls, who acted as the chief magistrates in the Republic, and these were appointed annually. Bribes could be paid, with little advance warning given. Click here for more details.

153 BC. First clear report of the appointment of the consuls on January 1st, with the first record of this day being referred to as New Year's Day (with parties and giving presents).

The Jewish Mishna and Talmud (Avodah Zara 8a) described a pagan festival called Saturna which occurred for eight days before the winter solstice, and anciently it referred to Adam watching the days growing shorter, fearful of his sin. The festival was followed for eight days after the solstice with a festival called Calenda culminating with the Calends (1st day) of January in Rome's solar calendar, as the days started to lengthen ("Lent").

Thus the winter solstice — the shortest day of the year was traditionally celebrated as December 25th. As mentioned previously in China with its "lunar" calendar, the New Year's Day occurs the second new moon after the winter solstice.

46 BC. But with the skipping of intercalary months mentioned previously, the 47 BC winter solstice didn't actually occur until well after 46 BC had started — it was two and a half months late. Useless, for businesses, festivals, farming (and military) purposes. Julius Caesar, chief of priests and military general now insisted on the year we now call 45 BC not being allowed to start until after the passing of the 46 BC winter solstice, which Julius Caesar decreed should be this 8th day of the Calends of January, the 25th December. It made 46 BC a major "Annus Confusionis" — year of confusion (though many saw it as ending many years of confusion). It had 445 days, 12 standard months of 355 days, an early 23 day intercalary month in February and two additional "leap months" between November and December. He then established a standard 365 day year, alternating many of the months between 31 days and 30 days and thus cancelling that somewhat exasperating intercalary month. The priests had disliked the idea of any month (except February) having an even number of days. "Even" signified the number "2" or "Division" indicating breakdown — death. Julius Caesar, however, totally ignored these concerns. He then declared there would be an extra leap day in February that would come on February 24th every 4 years — thus Feb 24th became 2 days in one, known as the 6th of Calends of March.

Regarding the Egyptian "Coptic" civil calendar that was already 365 days, the Romans allowed them to keep their twelve 30 day months and intercalary 5 day month, but they made them add the leap day rule, after 25 BC.


Click here to read a postscript about "Weekends" worldwide, a very recent phenomenon.

Click here for some notes on the Seven day Week, based on all major languages worldwide.
The order of the names are based on "planetary" orbits, starting with the outer orbit of Chronos/Saturn(29 years), Zeu/Jove/Thor(12 years), Ares/Mars/Tiu(687 days), Sun(365 days), Aphrodite/Venus/Freya(224 days), Hermes/Mercury/Woden(88 days), Moon(29 days).

Cassius Dio ca 200 AD, in Book 37:18-19 wrote two explanations

  1. A musical tetrachord that skipped two notes (planets) from Saturn's day to Sunday, then to Monday, circling round to Tiu's day etc.
  2. Assigning a ruling "planet" over each hour in a 24 hour period 1,8,15,22.. had the same result

While this naming spread worldwide (in each local language) it was definitely frowned upon by many Jewish rabbis (eg in the writings of Josephus), also with later governments in countries having Eastern Orthodox (Greek) and Muslim (Arabic) traditions.

Regarding the Muslims, the concept in the Middle East, at the close of the week, of having Friday as a "Free Day", a "Meeting Day", or just a "Me Day" appears to have arisen in Babylon at the time of Daniel, when he was made chief administrator in Babylon over all of their infrastructure, also later with the Medes.

Having some Friday "freedom" was an ancient tradition with the Jews, who used it to prepare themselves for the Sabbath that starts at sunset. Click here for a notice by Augustus Caesar granting the Jews freedom from court attendance, within three hours of a Friday sunset.

Click here for the background to this word for Friday-Heyni in the Kurdish calendar, a tribe in Kurdistan in Northern Iraq and its surrounding area who trace their heritage back to the Medes, called, according to Herodotus, "Aryans".
Click here to see (and hear) the Kurdish word for God "Xwede", similar to the Persian word "Khoda", also the old German words "Gott" / "Good".

AM and PM

The use of the 24-hour water clock tracing hours from midnight, a Chinese tradition, fixed the date (and time) of each citizen's birth. It was followed by a second sundial clock centred on midday i.e. ante and post meridiem (or am and pm). Called a "dies civilis", as opposed to "dies naturalis", it fixed a citizen's identity for all Roman administration.
Thus while adopted in Rome and Egypt and Greece and throughout Asia, it was opposed in Israel, in later Muslim lands, and in monastic institutions for many years. Click here for some thoughts on its New Testament usage, specifically in the last gospel of John, seeing John's fairly clear use of it when he wrote John 19:14 about 100AD.

The Year

But back to Julius Caesar, unfortunately in 44 BC he was assassinated, and leap years then started occurring every 3 years in error. Between 42 BC and 12 BC inclusively it appears there were 11 leap years instead of 8. His great-nephew Augustus ended up having to cancel 3 future leap years in February to fix up the problem (in 9 BC, 5 BC and 1 BC), with that last year being the year that would later be referred to as the one in which Mary and Joseph fled to Egypt with the baby Jesus.

The Sun of Righteousness — The Day

And so, from the following year that we now refer to as 1 AD, the calendar was basically fixed, ruled no longer by the moon — but by the sun, the crops, the seasons. Neither priesthood nor emperors were necessary to say how long months would be, how long a year would be, or whether to have a leap year or not. Every individual in a community would now be able to work these dates out for themselves, and be in agreement from community to community. However, the change of year number was a separate issue.

Christmas week Traditionally, Friday December 25th, 2 BC to New Years Day, 1 BC when Jesus was then eight days old, based on Jerome who stated it was in the 3rd year of the 194th Olympiad — the Olympiad's 1st year beginning in July/August 4 BC and its 4th year ending in June/July 1 AD, with no "room" provided for a year "zero". See further notes below.

Christ's Resurrection Sunday March 25th, 31 AD.

Click here for an account of Jesus's life and ministry between 2 BC and 31 AD, also reconciling the "three passovers" mentioned in John.


The gradual process towards Christian tradition and ritual was underscored in 321, when, on the 7th of March, the Roman emperor Constantine decreed that dies Solis, or "the day of the sun," should be observed as a city-wide day of rest. The devotional observance of the Sabbath was important in expressing thanks for God's toil, and showed deference to the claim that God rested on the seventh day of the Creation.

Christian Year Numbers
For fiscal years until ca 1600, manuscript dating employed an "indiction" year which used a continuous cycle of 15 years. By the year we now call 525, the year number of the long-dead Emperor Diocletian was also used. A great persecutor of the Christian church, his reign had begun 241 years previously and thus the year at that time was known as 241 AD Anno Diocletiani that commenced in September. But there was no longer a Roman emperor in the West, only in Istanbul in the East, at that time called Constantinople after Constantine who had established the city as his capital. (Previously the city had been named Byzantium after an ancient Greek king). A change in emperor thinking seemed called for.

And in this year a monk by the name of Dionysius declared in his first argumentum: "DXXV. Isti sunt anni ab incarnatione Domini" which translates as "525. These are the years since the incarnation of the Lord". He recommended — starting with the year 532 onwards — that this year number be used everywhere.

Dionysius's intention in all this was to establish a 532 year cycle for the dates in coming years for Easter Sunday, taking into account (a) the 19 year cycle containing 7 extra lunar months that enabled the Jewish lunar calendar to line up with the seasons (b) the seven day week as Easter had to occur on a Sunday, which also involved (c) the leap day rule every 4 years: 19 * 7 * 4 = 532. This cycle would enable the whole Church, wherever it was, to be able to plan on celebrating Easter on the same Sunday in the coming years (and centuries). Dionysius was working with scholarly data obtained from church councils in Alexandria in Egypt, a city famous for the vast number of scrolls held in its Royal Library. And this AD (Anno Domini) "year of the Lord" concept had long been a tradition within the Christian faith, as demonstrated in the famous Philocalus calendar of 354 AD.

However, where Philocalus had incorrectly based his 1 AD calendar as starting when Christ was born, that Friday birthdate meant Christ started 1 AD as a one year old, after his family had fled to Egypt. Click here for an account of the death of King Herod, almost certainly in 1 BC, or 1 AD at the latest. Secondly, the consul lists of Philocalus — see attached — stated that the crucifixion of Christ occurred in the 15th year of the Emperor Tiberius's reign. Unless there was some co-reigning involved, this 15th year commenced in September 28 AD, with the crucifixion marked as occurring early in 29 AD. Now, in Luke 3:1 John the Baptist had commenced his ministry in that 15th year, with people coming from all over Jerusalem and throughout the Judean countryside to be baptized by him. Early records indicated that Christ had had a full year of ministry, visiting Jerusalem during the Feast of Tabernacles (about September), and the Feast of Dedication (about December). Thus this time frame was just too tight.

Instead, in Luke 3:23 it stated that Jesus had been baptized when he was beginning to be (as it were) 30 years old, i.e. at the start of 30 AD. One year of ministry and then his crucifixion and resurrection would have taken place early in 31 AD. Since the time of Irenaeus (c. 130–202), Christ's Passion has been associated with March 25th, which was in the Roman calendar, the 8th day of the Calends of April, and while it came on a Friday in 29 AD, it came on a Sunday in 31 AD.

Accordingly click here for the evidence (sourced from Dionysius's 532nd anniversary of that first Easter was set to be celebrated on that same Sunday (March 25th) in 563 AD.

But Rome's dates were no longer "flavour of the month". His 532 year Easter formula took 200 years for full Western use. And his Easter festival year numbering was strongly opposed in Constantinople's Orthodox church where a 5509 BC creation year was in place until the 1600-1700s. Note too the First Ecumenical Council [Nicaea, 325] had decreed that the Church year should always begin on September 1. Thus September 1 remains an ongoing tradition today for many in the Eastern Orthodox Church click here for a recent report.

The Dark Ages — The Night

Islam. And during this period, in 638 AD, Umar ibn Al-Khattab, a close companion of Mohammed, established the lunar month that occurred ca July 622 AD as the new start of a 12 month year of 354 days which regulated time through the phases of the moon (i.e. new moon to new moon), ignoring the sun, the stars, the seasons altogether. This month became known as the first month of the year 1 AH — Anno Hegirae — Year of the Cutting of Relationships — sometimes translated as Flight. Historically, it had been the month Mohammed left the idolatrous commercial life of Mecca to go to Medina with all of his followers, and where he had established the first real Muslim "community" with its social, economic and political/military rules. A "Muslim", as it was later defined, was a believer in "Islam" — a word that means "Surrendering to the will of God" — as revealed through his prophet, Mohammed.

Within 18 months, the military campaigns were underway. In 630 AD, Mohammed returned to Mecca at the head of an army in triumph. All Arabia was then conquered, and in 632 AD, at the head of 40,000 other pilgrims he re-entered Mecca — 100 years exactly had now passed since Dionysius's year number ruling. Mohammed had transformed a pagan pilgrimage into a regular pilgrimage for all Muslims. Though Mohammed died of a violent fever in 633 AD, by military conquest his system was steadily imposed upon weak, corrupt and divided regimes. First was Mesopotamia and Syria (including Jerusalem in 637 AD) and Egypt (Alexandria fell in 642 AD) and right through Northern Africa. Persia fell in 651 AD but kept its March star-based calendar, followed by northern areas of India (modern day Pakistan, Afghanistan), the western provinces of China (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan) then, following Genghis Khan's counter invasion in the 1200s, eventually Bengal in the south east. Traders and emissaries to the rulers of Indonesia and Malaya saw the gradual establishing of sultanates, until by the year 1500 his Arabic Koran ruled one quarter of the world. But while Sicily in the west was invaded and Spain fell, they were significantly halted at Tours in France by the French King, Charles Martel, back in 732 AD.

And at that very moment, in England, a notable monk by the name of Bede in Northumbria was popularizing Dionysius's dating system through a scholarly historic work. In 731 AD he had extended the date in a reference to Caesar's invasion of Britain with the phrase "60th year before the Incarnation of the Lord" a phrase subsequently abbreviated to 60 BC — Before Christ. In the next chapter, he referred to Claudius's invasion 105 years later as the "46th year from the Incarnation of our Lord" subsequently abbreviated to 46 AD. Click here for more details. So those abbreviations left no provision for a "Zero AD", the year 1 AD (starting when Jesus actually turned one year old) was preceded by the year 1 BC, meaning Jesus was born at the start of 1 BC — an awkward development from a mathematical and visual perspective, but one that was never altered.

Also, somewhat ironically, it was later worked out that Caesar's initial invasion was in fact five years later, in 55 BC, while Claudius's invasion was in fact three years earlier, in 43 AD.

But back to Bede, at the time he was in a land with a number of kingdoms which over the years had had many different ideas about the year number, and when the year should start, and especially over which day to celebrate Easter . Sixty-seven years previously, the Christian King Oswy of Northumbria had been following the Easter dates of the Irish and Scottish monks, who had been influenced by earlier Roman traditions. They had established an 84 year cycle which equalled, very nearly, 1039 lunar months. King Oswy's bride, Eanfled of Kent, however, had wished to follow the better 532 year cycle from Rome. So, one standard year number made excellent sense within a community — as well as discouraging two dates for Easter yes, in 664 AD, those Roman dates had won. So Bede now popularized this Easter decision, as well as Dionysius's Anni Domini dating system, in his Ecclesiastical (i.e. Church) History of England published, as mentioned, in 731 AD.

Shortly afterwards, Charlemagne (Charles the Great) of France was crowned Roman Emperor by the Pope on Christmas Day at the close of 800 AD, as he knelt in prayer in Saint Peter's Church in Rome. It was said to be to his surprise — and that had he known what was in store, he would not have come. This could well be true, the man was said to have had a deep faith in God, also believing that government should be for the benefit of the governed. This coronation was in fact to be seen as the recommencement of the Holy Roman Empire in the West. When Charlemagne learned about the work in Northumbria, he continued Bede's work by supporting its adoption.

What day had been meant by "the incarnation"? This exercised a number of scholarly leadership minds, as to when to change the year number. March 25th (the Day of Annunciation which celebrated Christ's conception) gained favour with quite a few as it also highlighted Easter. In opposition to this, December 25th was the day being used and January 1st (which naturally followed Christmas week) continued to be celebrated as the New Year's Day festival, when people held parties and gave presents. All historical almanacs referred to it as such. And the leap day in February could easily be established, as it occurred in the year number that was divisible by 4. But, as a result of various influences in France and England, March 25th officially became New Year's Day in England in 1155 AD in all legal and administrative matters, with the New Year's Day festival moving to April 1st. Sometimes a date that fell between December 25th and March 24th could end up written as being in, say, the year 1602/3 to save confusion, but most documents did not use this mechanism.

Meanwhile, several European nation-states and Italian city-states continued to use Christmas Day as their New Year's Day. France used Easter Day, which meant that for them, New Year's Day changed every year. In 1522, Venice announced that it would be changing from Christmas Day to January 1st — thus shifting the date of Jesus's birth from the start of 1 BC to the last week in 2 BC. The German states followed suit in 1544. Then, Spain, Portugal, Belgium the Catholic Netherlands all changed across in 1556, as did Prussia and Sweden in 1559. France, who by now were using various systems, standardized on this day in 1564.

In 1582, Pope Gregory added an extra complexity. Following centuries of discussions, he ruled that Thursday October 4th was to be followed by Friday October 15th as it had become clear that the year according to the anniversary of each winter solstice and spring equinox was not 365 days and 6 hours but about 11 or 12 minutes less. Then, to ease any future pain with people missing out on their birthdays and other anniversaries he declared no leap day in 1700, 1800, 1900, 2100, 2200, 2300, 2500, 2600, 2700 etc. This changed Easter's (Spring Equinox, 14th day, Sunday) formula settled at Nicaea in 325 AD, click here to see it coded in computer BASIC. With Pope Gregory's new Gregorian Calendar the vanished days meant an earlier date, and for countries who retained the Julian calendar the holding of Easter 1, 4 or 5 weeks later in many coming years was the immediate result.

Catholic Europe dropped the 10 days accordingly. Scotland standardized on January 1st in 1600, but didn't delete the 10 days, until England finally changed in 1752, bringing their American colonies into line, standardizing on January 1st for New Year's Day, and on September 3rd as being September 14th. "Give us back our 11 days" came the cry. But of course the ruling stood. All dates were revised by adding 11 days to the old date and following the new date with the phrase NS or New Style (as opposed to OS or Old Style). An example was the close of the English tax year which started March 25th 1752 (OS), it closed April 4th 1753 (NS). And after the leap day was skipped in 1800 British tax authorities (and landlords) declared it be changed again to April 5th 1800 (NS) . With the Orthodox Eastern countries, Bulgaria changed in 1916, Russia in 1918, and Greece in 1922.

Thus, *through business structures and missionaries, national church structures and even an atheistic soldier/politician, China's **Mao Tse Tung (on Oct 1st 1949, having financial and military ties to Stalin in Russia), governments have involved themselves in this issue one by one. Calendars were steadily altered to reflect a consistent worldwide approach. Thus, business, legal, and most everyday transactions now take as their sole point of reference a date that acknowledges the proclamation of Christ's kingdom — via his birth and resurrection — everywhere.

*India came under British administration in the 1600s, Vietnam under the French in the early 1800s, Japan independently in 1873, Egypt in 1875, Thailand in 1889, Korea in 1896, Turkey in 1926.

** With regards to China, Sun Yat Sen (1866-1925), often called "Father of the Nation" was a respected revolutionary who declared 1st January 1912 the first day of the Chinese Republic. Earlier he had been baptised in Hong Kong by a missionary at the age of 17 and following his attacks on the government lived in exile in Hawaii London & Tokyo until 1911.
And following the 1917 revolution, the fledgling Soviet Union switched to the Gregorian calendar, dropping 13 days by making February 1 1918 into February 14 click here for further details. Their calendar now aligned with West and East, though the Russian Orthodox (and other Eastern) Church(es) responded by adding 13 days to their festivals e.g. Christmas Day switched from December 25 to January 7.
In 2023, PM Zelensky announced Christmas Day in the Ukraine would revert to December 25.

Click here for the fiscal year ending dates now used by governments, businesses, universities worldwide.

Weekends — more time off. The present-day concept of the relatively longer "week-end" appears to have arisen in the industrial north of Britain in the early part of the nineteenth century — a voluntary arrangement between factory owners and workers allowing Saturday afternoon off from 2pm in agreement that staff would be available for work sober and refreshed on Monday morning. The Oxford English Dictionary traces the first use of the term weekend to the British magazine Notes and Queries in 1879.

In 1908 in the United States, the first five-day workweek was instituted by a New England cotton mill so that Jewish workers would not have to work on the Sabbath.
Prior to the Great Depression, in 1926 Henry Ford began shutting down his automotive factories for all of Saturday and Sunday.
In 1929, the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America Union was the first union to demand and receive a five-day workweek. In 1940, a maximum 40-hour workweek went into effect, and the two-day weekend was adopted nationwide.

Australia followed suit, firstly in 1930 the 6 day week became a 5½ day (44 hour) week, then in 1948 it became a 5 day (40 hour) week.
At this time, numerous Arab countries adopted a Thursday-Friday weekend.
In Israel, many firms adopted a Friday-Saturday weekend. Since 2000, much of the Arab world shifted over to a Friday–Saturday weekend, to harmonize with international markets.

Click here for each country see image below.

Countries of the world by their work-week.   Monday - Friday      Monday - Saturday      Sunday - Thursday      Saturday - Thursday      Monday - Thursday and Saturday      mixed


Find any Date

Click here for the Time and Date calendar, displaying any year between 1AD and 3999AD.

Click here to view c.txt, a script for another calendar program, which when compiled using Wordtech's Quicksilver (an old dBASE III plus 16-bit compiler), accurately displays days of the week months back to 2 BC. If you enter a date between 1582 and 1752, it will allow you to choose whether to display the Julian or Gregorian calendar.

Click here to run this Calendar program on a desktop, using a DOSBox emulator at Enter the Month and Year Number using the top row of numbers, rather than the numeric keypad.

Click here for a light hearted Christmas song

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