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Someone at Some Point in Time had the First Idea of a Calendar

Contributor: Jim Kearney

Welcome to the No-Frills Calendar Journal!

There is no recorded definitive answer as to when the first calendar was developed and widely adopted by any civilization.

The Byzantine Empire also known as Eastern Roman Empire did have a calendar that predated the first solar, 365 day calendar invented by the Egyptians. The Byzantine Calendar Year started on September 1. They counted the year of creation as September 1, 5509 B.C.

The oldest calendar, still in use today, is the Jewish calendar. The calendar is built on three recurring solar events specific to their timing.

  1. The complete rotation of the earth on its axis = a day
  2. One full revolution of the moon around the earth = a month
  3. One full revolution of the earth around the sun = one year

However, the specific timing of the day, month and year did not fit perfectly within each of those segments of the calendar. The moon averages about 29 1/2 days to revolve around the earth. The Earth's Lunar year is about 365 1/4 Days. Those facts necessitates a thirteenth month to be added to the Jewish calendar, as needed, compensating for the celestial time differences.

Today's Calendar

Today's commonly used calendar in the U.S. and around the world is the Gregorian calendar.

In 1582 Pope Gregory XIII created the Gregorian calendar replacing the Julian calendar in use at that time. (More about the Julian calendar later).

The idea was to compensate for the 11 minute error made by the Roman emperors system. Gregory insisted that Easter remain on its traditional date of March 21st. But, try as they might, there was no pathway to the elusive perfect calendar.

Since 325 CE the celebration of Easter remains an adjusted holiday and season; based on the ecclesiastical hierarchy calculating the relationship of a Full Moon occurring on or after the vernal equinox. This move allowed for the Easter celebration to be an approximation for the vernal equinox equal to that of March 21st.

Suffice to say that other adjustments with months ending only on days 28, 29, 30 and 31 and  every year devisable by 4 being a Leap Year made the Gregorian Calendar the most accurate calendar available today. And yet It took over 300 years for most all of the countries of the world to adopt the the Gregorian calendar.

Appendix: This Calendar Journal will be built with articles about our calendar's published holidays as they approach. It will take time to cover just the very important dates. For now it will be organized by holiday then by month once we have enough to fill all 12 months.

They will not be long intense articles but a presentation of historical and current key notes and facts; maybe a personal story or two along the way.



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