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Sunday, 3 November 2013

Calendar

The Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, used by several pre-Columbian Mesoamerican civilizations, notably the Mayans, begun on August 11, 3114 BC.

All Mesoamerican cultures used a 260-day ritual calendar that had no confirmed correlation to astronomical or agricultural cycles. These were used in combination with a separate 365-day calendar to create a 52-year cycle known as a calendar round.

Image of an ancient Mexican calendar

The Ancient Egyptians used 12 months of exactly 30 days, with 5 days of festivities at the end to add up to 365.

The ancient Greek calendar was based on the Olympiad, the four-year period between the Olympic games.

The original ancient Roman calendar began in March and ended in December and totaled 304 days. January and February were not given names. Around 713 BC, the semi-mythical successor of Romulus, King Numa Pompilius, is supposed to have added the months of January and February, allowing the calendar to equal a standard lunar year (354 days).

The Julian calendar took effect as the civil calendar of the Roman Empire in 43BC, establishing January 1 as the new date of the new year.


Ukrainian monk, Dionysius Exiguus, created the modern day Christian calendar in His new calendar originated from Christ’s birth which he assumed was 48 years after the death of Caesar. Unfortunately he made a mistake in his calculations, and it is now felt the birth of Christ was around 4BC.

The Sun Stone, or Aztec calendar stone, was carved some time early in the sixteenth century. Shortly after the Spanish conquest, the monolithic sculpture was buried in the main square of Mexico City. It was rediscovered on December 17, 1790 during repairs on the Mexico City Cathedral.


The Gregorian calendar was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII. It was implemented in Italy, Poland, Portugal, and Spain on October 4, 1582, the day being followed directly by October 15.


Two centuries later, the Gregorian calendar was adopted by Great Britain and the English colonies on September 14, 1752, skipping eleven days (the previous day was September 2nd).

March was the first month of the year until the Gregorian calendar began to be used. This meant that March 25th was the official New Year's Day in the UK and US until they switched to the Gregorian calendar in 1752.

The Gregorian calendar isn't perfect—its dates become one day off from Earth's seasons every 3,216 years.

According to tradition, the Advent calendar was created in the 19th century by a Munich housewife who tired of having to answer endlessly when Christmas would come. The first commercial calendars were printed in Germany in 1851.

In 1908 the Russian team turned up 12 days late to the London Olympics because they were still using the Julian calendar instead of the Gregorian calendar.

To conserve paper, the production of advent calendars ceased in the UK during World War II.

It takes the Earth 365.25 days to make this trip around the sun. In other words, for every year we gain one-fourth of a day and every four years we gain an extra day hence the Leap year. 

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