Perpetual Calendar

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Anniversaries and events

Click the Today Button for anniversaries of historical events, births and deaths for today's date

Perpetual Calendar

Check on which day of the week you were born or when anniversaries fall for any year since 1582 ! Why 1582 - See below. Type in any year in the year box, select the month and click on New Calendar.

The calendar divides the year into months, weeks, and days and is the method of ordering the years. From year 1, an assumed date of the birth of Jesus, dates are calculated backwards (BC `before Christ' or BCE `before common era') and forwards (AD, Latin anno Domini `in the year of the Lord'). The lunar month (the period between one new moon and the next) averages 29.5 days, but the Western calendar uses for convenience a calendar month with a complete number of days, 30 or 31 (Feb has 28). For adjustments, since there are slightly fewer than six extra hours a year left over, they are added to Feb as a 29th day every fourth year (leap year), century years being excepted unless they are divisible by 400. For example, 1996 was a leap year; and 2000 is a leap year as it is divisible by 400.

The month names are derived as follows: January from Janus, Roman god; February from Februar, Roman festival of purification; March from Mars, Roman god; April from Latin aperire, `to open'; May from Maia, Roman goddess; June from Juno, Roman goddess; July from Julius Caesar, Roman general; August from Augustus, Roman emperor; September, October, November, December (originally the seventh-tenth months) from the Latin words meaning seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth, respectively.

The days of the week are Monday named after the Moon; Tuesday from Tiu or Tyr, Anglo-Saxon and Norse god; Wednesday from Woden or Odin, Norse god; Thursday from Thor, Norse god; Friday from Freya, Norse goddess; Saturday from Saturn, Roman god; and Sunday named after the Sun. All early calendars except the ancient Egyptian were lunar.

The Western or Gregorian calendar derives from the Julian calendar instituted by Julius Caesar 46 BC. It was adjusted by Pope Gregory XIII 1582, who eliminated the accumulated error caused by a faulty calculation of the length of a year and avoided its recurrence by restricting century leap years to those divisible by 400. Other states only gradually changed from Old Style to New Style; Britain and its colonies adopted the Gregorian calendar 1752, when the error amounted to 11 days, and 3 Sept 1752 became 14 Sept (at the same time the beginning of the year was put back from 25 March to 1 Jan). Russia did not adopt it until the October Revolution of 1917, so that the event (then 25 Oct) is currently celebrated 7 Nov.

Millennium issues ?

The Millennium issue has been with us for centuries as illustrated by the following newspaper article from the Canterbury Times, England. A.D. 999.

An atmosphere close to panic prevails today throughout Europe as the millennial year 1000 approaches, bringing with it the so-called "Y1K Bug," a menace which, until recently, hardly anyone had ever heard of. Prophets of doom are warning that the entire fabric of Western Civilization, based as it now is upon monastic computations, could collapse, and that there is simply not enough time left to fix the problem.

Just how did this disaster-in-the-making ever arise? Why did no one anticipate that a change from a three-digit to a four-digit year would throw into total disarray all liturgical chants and all metrical verse in which any date is mentioned? Every formulaic hymn, prayer, ceremony and incantation dealing with dated events will have to be re-written to accommodate three extra syllables. All tabular chronologies with three-space year columns, maintained for generations by scribes using carefully hand-ruled lines on vellum sheets, will now have to be converted to four-space columns, at enormous cost. In the meantime, the validity of every official event, from baptisms to burials, from confirmations to coronations, may be called into question.

"We should have seen it coming ," says Brother Cedric of St. Michael Abbey, here in Canterbury. "What worries me most is that THOUSAND contains the word THOU, which occurs in nearly all our prayers, and of course always refers to God. Using it now in the name of the Year will seem almost blasphemous, and is bound to cause terrible confusion. Of course, we could always use Latin, but that might be even worse. The Latin word for Thousand is Mille which is the same as the Latin for mile. We won't know whether we are talking about time or distance!"

The French have said something about "avoirdupois", but that is weight and we don't want to add more weight to the extent of the problem than already exists. Someone claimed that "it's all Greek to me", so we finally agreed on K for kilo (thousand), as that is simple enumeration and can't be confused with distance or weight. Stone masons are already reported threatening to demand a proportional pay increase for having to carve an extra numeral in all dates on tombstones, cornerstones and monuments. Together with its inevitable ripple effects, this alone could plunge the hitherto-stable medieval economy into chaos.

A conference of clerics has been called at Winchester to discuss the entire issue, but doomsayers are convinced that the matter is now one of personal survival. Many families, in expectation of the worst, are stocking up on holy water and indulgences.

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