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Sunday, 14 September 2014


In the first few centuries after Christ, each country or religion tended to have its own year-numbering system, sometimes dating back to the supposed year of the creation in their beliefs but more often relating to the number of years a particular emperor or king had been reigning. When the monarch, died, a new era began at year one.

In the second century some bishops in the Eastern Roman Empire began counting the years from the birth of Christ.

It wasn't until 525 when the monk Dionysius Exigous (Dennis the Little) (c470-c545) devised a new calendar originating from Christ’s birth, which he assumed was 48 years after the death of Caesar, that some in the west began recording time from the life of Christ. Unfortunately he made a mistake in his calculations, and it is now felt the birth of Christ was around 4BC.

The use of Anno Domini was popularized in Western Europe only after it was used by Bede to date the events in his Ecclesiastical History of the English People. In particular the endorsement of this method by the scholar Alcuin, a member of Charlemagne’s court at the end of the eighth century was a principal factor in the system’s prevalence up to current times.

In 1565 King Charles IX of France issued a decree that fixeed the beginning of the year at 1st January instead of 1st April. This innovation was not very popular and on 1st April both as a protest and as a joke people sent sweetmeats in the shape of fish to one another as mock New Year’s gifts. Fish was chosen as the Sun happened to be in the constellation of Pisces.

Pope Gregory XIII introduced the modern calendar in 1582. In attempting to eliminate the difference between the date of the birth of Christ as it was then estimated and the errors that have been made and repeated ever since, the Pontiff removed all the days between the 4th and 15th of October of the current year. Roman Catholic countries quickly adopted the new system, but many people were upset as they feel the papacy has taken away 11 days of their lives.

In 1712, February had 30 days in Sweden as it changed from the Julian to Gregorian calendar.

UK prime ministers Ramsay MacDonald and Neville Chamberlain both died on November 9th in 1937 and 1940 respectively

Contrary to popular belief, the first day of the 21st Century was Monday, January 1, 2001, not January 1, 2000. This is due to the fact counting did not start for the current calendar in the year 0.

The nation of Samoa observed the same time as the Samoa Time Zone until it moved across the International Date Line at the end of December 29, 2011 making it 24 hours (25 hours in summer) ahead of American Samoa. As a result, the date of December 30, 2011 was omitted in Samoa.

A Samoan family.

November 9, 2013 was the last date until March 1, 2105 with three consecutive odd numbers. And December 12, 2014 was the last with three consecutive even numbers until April 2nd, 2106.

The dates 4/4, 6/6, 8/8, 10/10, and 12/12 all fall on the same day of the week during any one year.

2013 was the first year since 1432 that is a rearrangement of four consecutive numbers.

Submarine crews do not use a typical 24 hour day, one day lasts 18 hours.

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