Calendars



So you think the "Millenium Bug" is complicated? When you really get into genealogy you will see other so called bugs. In researching your family history you will undoubtedly encounter old style and new style datings. The original Roman calendar was introduced in the seventh century B.C. In 45 B.C. the Roman statesman Gaius Julius Caesar(100 B.C.E.-44 B.C.E.), upon the advice of the Greek astronomer Sosigenes, decided to purify the calendar, which up until this time was fraught with errors or inconsistencies which caused much confusion. This calendar fixed the number of days in a year at 365 days with every fourth year a leap year. The beginning of the new year was moved by Caesar from March 1 to January 1. The Julian calendar was established on March 21, 325 A.D., the year of the Council of Nicasea, when the vernal equinox occurred on that date. From 325 to 1582, the calendar accumulated enough error that the seasons were ten days out of synch. At that time Pope Gregory XIII(1502-1585) issued a decree dropping ten days from the calendar, and making century years divisible by 400 leap years. Therefore 1600 was a leap year, but 1700, 1800 and 1900 were common years. In England and the American colonies, March 25 remained the start of the new year. It was not until 1752 that the new year was changed to January 1. This is the calendar we refer to as the Gregorian calendar and the one which we use at the present. That is a relatively easy concept to handle, however to complicate things further, not all nations adopted the Gregorian calendar at the same time. In 1752 when Great Britain adopted the Gregorian calendar, the Julian calendar was eleven days out of synch. The day after September 2,1752 thus became September 14, 1752. The British also adopted January 1 as the first day of the year. Formerly the new year began on March 25. Other nations adopted the Gregorian calendar at differing times. Often parts or provinces of nations adopted the calendar at differing times. The Catholic churches observed the changes to the calendar almost immediately while the Protestant churches were a little slower to follow suit. Some of the changes and anomalies are listed below for specific countries and religeons. Czechoslovakia - Czech Republic - Slovakia In Bohemia the year started on 6 January 1584 In Moravia on 4 October 1584 In Silesia on 12 January 1584 In Slovakia on 1 November 1587 France - From September 22, 1792 to December 31,1805 the Gregorian calendar was replaced by the French Revolutionary calendar. In this calendar you will find dates with the months Pluviose, Ventose, Germinal, Floreal, Prairial, Messidor, Thermidor, Fructidor, Vendemiaire, Brumaire, Frimaire, and Nivose. These correspond approximately with January to December, however not exactly. This Republican calendar is subject to various methods of conversion and you may wish to consult an historian or archivist versed in the French Revolutionary Era. Being the amateur historian that I think I am (plegiarist) I have described the French Revolutionary Calendar as follows: Beginning on July 14, 1789 we have the fall of the Bastille, which became the official beginning of the French Revolution. The civil war did away with the current regime of a country ruled by the king. With the old regime abolished, a new government was established with new ideas. The new government, called the National Convention wanted to build a revolutionary new society. The citizens would be governed and educated by a republican democracy based on science and reason. One of the many changes which took place during the French Revolution was the idea that the current method of counting years using the Gregorian calendar would no longer be allowed. The Gregorian calendar is the same calendar we use today. A new calendar or "republican" calendar was to be scientific, glorifying the Revolution, and to eliminate "superstitious" religious holidays. A group of scientist and writers were commissioned to design the calendar. For many months they argued over the calendar's design and theme. Should it pay tribute to nature or revolutionary history? Should the calendar be for the French people or the whole world? There were many ideas for the calendar and finally in September 1793, almost one year after the day the new republic was said to have been established, the new calendar was presented to the National Convention. September 22, 1792 was the start of the new republic and was now called Year I 1 Vendémiaire. The French Revolutionary Calendar was based on the decimal system. The day was divided into 10-hour periods of 100 minutes each. (A few decimal watches and clocks were manufactured and are priceless antiques.) The year was divided into 12 months of 30 days. Each month consisted of three 10-day periods called décades. Every 10th day (décadi) was an official day of rest, with the intent toreplace the traditional Sunday holiday. Five holidays, called the sans-culottides were added at the end of the year to make up the solar year of 365 days. The sans-culottides would be devoted to festivals honoring the talents, industry, and heroic deeds of the people. Every four years, an extra holiday was added which corresponded to our leap year. This day was dedicated to an occasion for a great public festival of patriotic games and athletics. The ten days of the week were named Primidi, Duodi, Tridi, Quartidi, Quintidi, Sextidi, Septidi, Octidi, Nonidi, and Décadi. Each day bore the names of plants and fruits. Every fifth day was named for a useful fish or animal and every décadi for an agricultural tool. The months of the calendar represented terms related to the weather or the four seasons. The autumn months were Vendémiaire, Brumaire, and Frimaire. Frimaire was identified as frost. The winter months were Nivôse, Pluviôse, and Ventôse. The spring months were Germinal, Floréal, and Prairial. Floréal was identified as blossoming flowers. The summer months were named Messidor, Thermidor and Fructidor. The years were displayed as Roman numerals with Year I being the first year of the French Revolutionary Calendar and each successive year being Year II, Year III, Year IV, and so on.It was extremely difficult to get the citizens of France to adopt the new calendar and abolish their traditional holidays. The government tried to force the new calendar on the citizens. They wanted all the markets, the post office, and all other businesses to stay open on Sundays. Church services would be held on a décadi and not Sunday. Many citizens refused to change from their habits and religion. Sunday was a day of rest. It became obvious that the traditional holidays of the Gregorian calendar could not be stopped. There were petitions by the citizens for its elimination. In Year VIII, almost all the revolutionary festivals were done away with. By Year X, Sunday was reestablished as the official day of rest. In Year XIII 11 Nivôse (January 1, 1806), a new French government, called the Directory, ordered a return to the familiar Gregorian calendar. The republican calendar had lasted exactly 12 years, 2 months, and 27 days. Germany - Beginning in 1582 and continuing until 1585, the Gregorian calendar was adopted in most of Germany. Some areas started the change later, Prussia(Preussen) in 1612, Pfalz-Neuberg in 1615, Osnabruck in 1624, Minden in 1630, Hildesheim in 1631, Friesland in 1700. The Catholic areas accepted January 1 as the new year, however the Protestant areas kept March 25 as the new year. This will no doubt result in some confusing entries for dates from the various church registries. Other countries adopted the Gregorian calendar much later, Russia and the Soviet Union adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1918 after the Russian Revolution. Greece adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1923. The Julian calendar is still used for church celebrations for those following the Greek Orthodox or Greek Catholic faiths, however it is curious that they celebrate their new years day on January 14 and not on April 7, which would coincide with the March 25 Julian calendar new years day. Other faiths also have their own calendars. Most notable of these would be the Jewish calendar. Derived from the ancient Hebrew calendar, this calendar has remained unchanged since 900 A.D.. The starting point in Hebrew chronology is 3761 B.C., the date for the creation of the world as described in the Old Testament, making the year 2000 into 5761 according to the Hebrew calendar. The Hebrew calendar is lunisolar, based on lunar months of 29 days alternating with 30 days. An extra month is intercalated every 3 years, based on a cycle of 19 years. Dates of the Hebrew calendar are designated AM (Latin for anno mundi, the year of the world) and BCE(before the common era). The Islamic or Muslim calendar on the other hand has a starting date of July 16, 622 A.D., the day after Hegira.It is reckoned from AD 622, the day after the Hegira, or flight of Mohammed from Mecca to Medina. The Islamic year consists of 12 lunar months. Thirty years constitute a cycle in which the 2nd, 5th, 7th, 10th, 13th, 16th, 18th, 21st, 24th, 26th, and 29th years are leap years of 355 days; the others are common years of 354 days. The Islamic date corresponding to a date in the Gregorian calendar can be computed by the following rule, with a maximum error of one day: multiply 970,224 by the Islamic year, divide by 6 decimal places, and add 621.5774. The figure to the left of the decimal point is the year AD, and the decimal fraction multiplied by 365 is the day of the year. There is also the Chinese Calendar.The Chinese calendar is a lunar calendar with 12 months that alternate in length between 29 and 30 days. Since this works out to only 354 days, additional, or intercalary, months are added as needed to synchronize with the solar year. The Chinese calendar has a twelve year cycle with each year named after different animals. The cycle is: rat, ox, tiger, hare, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, cock, dog, and boar. In addition, this cycle is part of a larger sixty-year cycle of five twelve-year periods. The current year is Ming Guo 85--it is the eighty-fifth year since the revolution of 1911 when Sun Yat-sen established the Chinese republic following 4000 years of imperial rule. What year were you born? 1912 - 1924 - 1936 - 1948 - 1960 - 1972 - 1984 - 1996 YEAR OF THE RAT Rat year people are charming, hard working and thrifty. They tend to be penny-pinchers and like to save money. They are often ambitious. They get along best with Dragon, Monkey or Ox people; worst with Year of the Horse people. 1913 - 1925 - 1937 - 1949 - 1961 - 1973 - 1985 - 1997 YEAR OF THE OX Ox people are patient and good listeners. Usually quiet, they can be eloquent speakers. They hate to fail, so are often very successful. Ox people tend to be stubborn but have alert minds and bodies. They are most compatible with Serpent, Rooster and Rat people; worst suited to Sheep year people. 1914 - 1926 - 1938 - 1950 - 1962 - 1974 - 1986 - 1998 YEAR OF THE TIGER Tiger year people are sensitive, compassionate and considerate. However, being short-tempered, they can be powerful enemies. Though usually deep thinkers and careful planners, they tend to conflict with authority. They get along best with those born in the Year of the Dragon, Horse or Dog; unsuited for Snake or Monkey year people. 1915 - 1927 - 1939 - 1951 - 1963 - 1975 - 1987 - 1999 YEAR OF THE HARE Hare people are very lucky and successful. They are usually talented and ambitious; good at business ventures. They are honest people but tend to be melancholy. Year of the Hare people are best suited to Sheep, Boar or Dog year people. Rat and Rooster year people are the worst match. 1916 - 1928 - 1940 - 1952 - 1964 - 1976 - 1988 - 2000 YEAR OF THE DRAGON Outwardly stubborn and short-tempered, Dragon people are gentle, sensitive and soft-hearted, and considered fortunate because the Dragon symbolizes life, growth, riches, virtue and harmony. They get along best with Rat, Monkey or Snake people; worst with people born in Year of the Dog. 1917 - 1929 - 1941 - 1953 - 1965 - 1977 - 1989 - 2001 YEAR OF THE SERPENT Serpent people possess great wisdom and are very determined and successful. Though sympathetic to others, they tend to double their judgments. They are graceful and passionate. They get along best with those born in the Rooster and Ox year; incompatible with Tiger, Boar are Monkey year people. 1918 - 1930 - 1942 - 1954 - 1966 - 1978 - 1990 - 2002 YEAR OF THE HORSE Horse people are often popular due to their cheerfulness and talkativeness. Wise and talented, they handle money matters well. They enjoy crowds and entertainment but are independent and short-tempered. Horse people are most compatible with Dog and Sheep people; worst with Rat people. 1919 - 1931 - 1943 - 1955 - 1967 - 1979 - 1991 - 2003 YEAR OF THE RAM Wise and gentle, Year of the Ram people are elegant and passionate. They tend to be shy and pessimistic in nature. Although often timid, they are talented in the arts. Throughout their life they will enjoy a comfortable living. Ram people are best suited to Rabbit, Boar or Horse people; Dog year people are their worst match. 1920 - 1932 - 1944 - 1956 - 1968 - 1980 - 1992 - 2004 YEAR OF THE MONKEY Monkey year people are skillful, talented and flexible. They are also very original, creative and sensible. They have poor opinions of others and can be strong willed and short-tempered. They are compatible with Dragon, Rat, Rabbit, Sheep and Dog year people; incompatible with Serpent, boar and Tiger year people. 1921 - 1933 - 1945 - 1957 - 1969 - 1981 - 1993 - 2005 YEAR OF THE ROOSTER Determined and ambitious, Year of the Rooster people often undertake tasks beyond their capabilities. They are bold and outspoken, often distrusting others but capable of having loyal friends. They are best suited to those born in the Year of the Ox, Serpent or Dragon; worst suited to Rabbit year people. 1922 - 1934 - 1946 - 1958 - 1970 - 1982 - 1994 - 2006 YEAR OF THE DOG Dog year people are loyal, honest and can keep secrets. Their weakness is a critical manner but they make good leaders and inspire confidence. They get along best with Horse, Tiger and Rabbit year people; worst with Dragon and Sheep year people. 1923 - 1935 - 1947 - 1959 - 1971 - 1983 - 1995 - 2007 YEAR OF THE BOAR Though shy, Boar people have tremendous inner strength. They are honest, kind and affectionate. They never retreat once a goal has been set, but rarely seek help from others. They get along best with Rabbit and Sheep people, worst with Serpent year people. What about calendars from India? In keeping with the great diversity of peoples who can be called "Hindu," there are many Hindu calendars. Telugu is the language spoken in the state of Andhra Pradesh in India. The people of Andhra Pradesh are referred as either Andhras or Telugus. The Telugu calendar, it naturally follows, is the calendar used by the people of Andhra Pradesh. Different Indian states use different calendars and while the following is specific to the Telugus, it may be similar to those used in other states. The calendar is a fascinating mix of the use of the stars, the planets and the Moon, and is rarely described in detail in lay-person's terms. Some of the information is incomplete, and some may be incorrect or inaccurate.Unfortunately, most of the information about the Telugu calendar has come to be closely linked to astrology. Whether you believe in astrology or not this is the information that I have found about it. Now-a-days, the Telugus tend to use two calendars - one for general time-keeping, and another for religious and cultural use. The first, rather uninteresting, is merely an "andhra-ized" version of the standard Gregorian calendar. Weekdays Day Telugu Name Association Sunday Aadivaaram Aadi - Beginning Monday Somavaaram ? Tuesday Mangalavaaram Mangala - Mars Wednesday Budhavaaram Budha - Mercury Thursday Guruvaaram Guru - Jupiter Friday Sukravaaram Sukra - Venus Saturday Sanivaaram Sani - Saturn The names of the months are January, February, ..., December except that they are altered to reflect the Telugu pronunciation. The weekdays are, however, named differently (see Table). All the official work uses such a calendar. For example, the Indian Independance Day is August 15th. The second type, used for all festivals and ceremonies such as weddings, is the fun calendar and is a lot more closely associated with astronomy. It has been used until recently even for birthdays - some peoples birthdays are known only according to the Telugu calendar, although the dates according to the Gregorian calendar can be computed by back-calculation. As a result, their birthdays fall on different dates every year. Other calendars in India reckon their epochs from historical events, such as rulers' accensions or death dates, or a religeouss founders dates. The Vikrama era (originally from Northern India and still used in Western India) dates from February 23, 57 B.C.E. in the Gregorian calendar. The Saka era dates from March 3, 78 A.D. in the Gregorian calendar and is based on the solar year with 12 months of 365 days and 366 days in leap years. The first five months have 31 days; the last seven have 30 days. In leap years, the first six months have 31 days and the last six have 30 days. The Saka era is the national calendar of India (as of 1957). The majority of Hindu calendars are lunar with twelve months of 27-31 days, and have an intercalary, or additional, month to adjust the lunar to the solar year. The months are measured from full moon to full moon and each month is divided into halves: the dark half (waning moon) and the bright half (waxing moon). Because each of the many cultural groups that follow Hinduism has its own calendar, the New Year is celebrated at slightly different times. For example, in northern India the New Year is celebrated during the first month of the year, Chaitra (March-April according to the Gregorian calendar). Although the calendar year changes on the first day of Chaitra, the holiday is not celebrated until the bright half of the month.According to the Vikrama Hindu calendar, the festival of the New Year called Diwali--the Festival of Lights--is held in October-November (according to the Gregorian calendar) and is celebrated throughout India. It is a festival celebrating the victory of good over evil and is sacred to Lakshimi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity. Food is presented as an offering at shrines and temples, sweets are prepared for children, shops are closed, shop owners close out old accounts and begin new ledgers, designs in rice flour decorate doorsteps, and fireworks displays light up the night. The Buddhist era starts with 543 B.C.E.(believed to be the date of Buddha's death). In Thailand and other countries where Theraveda Buddhism is practiced, the New Year is calculated by the position of the sun, and the months are calculated by the cycles of the moon. The New Year celebration generally occurs in mid-April (in the Gregorian system) at the full moon. In Thailand, the celebrations are preceded by a thorough cleaning of the house in the belief that it is bad luck to have refuse from the old year remaining in the house in the new year. The New Year festival is called the Songkran Festival and lasts until the spring rains. To encourage the rains to be plentiful, children splash water on each other, on their parents, on passing monks--on basically anyone in reach--during the Songkran Festival days. The Japanese calendar has the same structure as the Gregorian calendar in years, months, and weeks. The years are enumerated in terms of the reigns of emperors as epochs. The last epochh(for Emperor Akihito) is Epoch Heisei, and began January 8, 1989. The Japanese calendar system is Gengo, or Era System. The calendar is solar and aligned with the Gregorian calendar but the years are based on the reign of the current Emperor. The reason for this is that the Japanese constitution forbids any combination of church and state: since the Gregorian calendar is based on the birth of Jesus Christ--the central figure in Christianity--the use of the calendar is unconstitutional. The current calendar year is Year Heisei 8, the eigth year of the reign of Emperor Akihito, who will be called Heisei upon his death. The New Year is celebrated at the same time as in the Gregorian system with the exception that the months are numbered in the Gengo system, rather than named. Therefore, New Year's Day--Gan-tan--is the first day of the First month. There is great symbolism and tradition associated with "firsts" of the new year. "First visits" to Shinto shrines or Buddhist temples are very important. First visits to the ocean to see the "First sunrise" are believed to bring good health throughout the coming year. The whole celebration generally lasts six or seven days, with the New Year occurring in the middle. So the last few days of the Twelfth month and the first few days of the First month are days when people don't work; government offices close; and people rest and spend time with family and friends. One of the most traditional elements of New Year's Eve is the ringing of the bells at the Buddhist temples. The bells ring 108 times to represent the number of hardships and sorrows in this world. People wait for the bells and count along with them as the old year passes and the New Year arrives. Over the next few days, people do their best to ensure that their "firsts" are auspicious for the year to come. One of the unusual calendar systems in use today is the Ethiopian Calendar. The Julian Calendar--instituted by Julius Caesar in 46 b.c.--is used in Ethiopia. This is a solar calendar made up of twelve months of thirty days each, plus an additional five-day month (six days in leap years). The Gregorian calendar was adopted by many countries because the Julian calendar incorrectly measured the solar year: therefore, the Julian calendar is now seven years behind the Gregorian. For instance, in 1998 (Gregorian) the calendar year was 1991 in Ethiopia. At its inception, the Roman Catholic church adopted the Julian Calendar and this is still followed by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church--or Coptic Church--an ancient Christian sect to which almost 40% of all Ethiopians belong. The first month of the Ethiopian calendar is Meskerem and falls during the month of September (in the Gregorian system). Meskerem is the time of the New Year and it signals the end of the rainy season and the beginning of spring. The New Year is celebrated with families attending church services followed with a day of visiting, feasting, singing, and dancing. Among the Amhara, who with the Tigreans make up almost a third of the population, people greet each other by saying "Enqutatash," or "Happy New Year." We should also recognize Native American Calendars. Some of the most complex calendar systems in the world were employed by the Aztecs and the Mayans--two important groups of native Meso-Americans. In contrast, the myriad tribes of native peoples in North America--now called Native Americans--did not have any true calendar. For the most part, days were differentiated, but not with respect to their placement in longer periods of time such as weeks or months. In fact, it is not clear that the native peoples even had names for the days. The year was considered a framework for the cycling of the seasons. Hopi tribes in Arizona celebrated the New Year--called the new-fire ceremony--in November (according to Gregorian reckoning); while the Creek tribes' ceremony was held in late July or early August.

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