logo
g Text Version
Beauty & Self
Books & Music
Career
Computers
Education
Family
Food & Wine
Health & Fitness
Hobbies & Crafts
Home & Garden
Money
News & Politics
Relationships
Religion & Spirituality
Sports
Travel & Culture
TV & Movies

dailyclick
Bored? Games!
Nutrition
Postcards
Take a Quiz
Rate My Photo

new
Quotations
Golf
Crime
Distance Learning
Sewing
Folklore and Mythology
Holiday/Seasonal Cooking


dailyclick
All times in EST

Clairvoyance: 08:00 PM

Full Schedule
g
g Today in History Site

BellaOnline's Today in History Editor

g

September 1752 - The Day We Lost 12 Days


Ah, the summer’s over and now it’s September! How do we know? Easy – look at the calendar.

It wasn’t always that simple, though. Back in September 1752, all along the colonies of the East Coast, people went to bed on Wednesday the 2nd and woke up the next morning on Thursday the 14th.

What happened??

Great Britain switched to the Gregorian calendar, that’s what.

But how did they lose almost two weeks? Well, it all started with the old calendar …

A calendar year measures the time it takes for the sun to appear in the same position in the sky when viewed from Earth. During this time, Earth completes one orbit around the sun, and we experience a full cycle of seasons.

However, because Earth rotates in such a peculiar way, like a wobbling top, it doesn’t take a uniform amount of time from one year to the next for us to see the sun in the same position against the backdrop of stars. This irregularity makes it difficult to synchronize our calendar days with the seasons over a span of centuries.

To realign their calendar with the seasonal cycle, the Romans used to insert extra months into their year. Thus, 46 BC was a long, long year: 445 days!

However, it became known as “the last year of confusion” because, after returning from his Nile cruise with Cleopatra, Julius Caesar put his foot down. He called in some experts and authorized a calendar reform. The Julian year should sound familiar to us: 12 months, 365 days, and a leap day added to February every four years. To do away with the ad hoc system of inserting corrective days into every year, Caesar’s calendar borrowed from Roman and Egyptian calendars as well as Greek astronomy. It lasted for centuries, all the way through to the period of European settlement in the Americas.

Even so, thanks to its regularized leap years, the Julian calendar actually gained three days every 400 years. In medieval and Renaissance Europe, this meant that Easter kept drifting further and further away from the spring equinox. The leaps became a problem.

To correct for this gradual expansion of the year, a new system had to get rid of those three accumulated days. Enter the Gregorian calendar.

In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII introduced the calendar we use today, in which a leap year must be exactly divisible by 4 as well as 400. Thus, the years at the end of some centuries didn’t leap. The years 1600 and 2000 did; but 1700, 1800 and 1900 didn’t; and 2100 won’t. By controlling the leaps this way, the calendar gains only one day every three millennia, approximately. That’s as precise as we can get for now.

By the time the calendar was introduced, Easter was 10 days out of alignment with the prescribed traditional date. Gregory’s solution? Just hit delete. Thus, in the countries that switched, October the 4th was followed by the 15th, and then life went on.

Most of Catholic Europe adopted the new calendar, but Protestant states – including Denmark, Sweden, and Britain – held out for hundreds of years. The effect is interesting when we consider authors William Shakespeare and Miguel Cervantes. Both died on April 23, 1616, but Britain was still on the old calendar whereas Spain had reformed. So Cervantes actually died 10 days before Shakespeare.

Both calendars were in simultaneous use for almost two centuries, designated “Old Style” and “New Style” respectively. It wasn’t as confusing as in Roman times, but dual dating was indeed the order of the day. In fact, Russia switched only in 1918; and Greece, the very last holdout, waited until 1923.

Today, although many holy days and festivals are still calculated using ancient systems, the Gregorian calendar predominates. It is the world’s most widely used non-religious calendar.

So, now, what day is it again?

Well, someone did propose yet another calendar reform back in the 19th century, but until that happens, today is probably the date you thought it was.

Add September+1752+%2D+The+Day+We+Lost+12+Days to Twitter Add September+1752+%2D+The+Day+We+Lost+12+Days to Facebook Add September+1752+%2D+The+Day+We+Lost+12+Days to MySpace Add September+1752+%2D+The+Day+We+Lost+12+Days to Del.icio.us Digg September+1752+%2D+The+Day+We+Lost+12+Days Add September+1752+%2D+The+Day+We+Lost+12+Days to Yahoo My Web Add September+1752+%2D+The+Day+We+Lost+12+Days to Google Bookmarks Add September+1752+%2D+The+Day+We+Lost+12+Days to Stumbleupon Add September+1752+%2D+The+Day+We+Lost+12+Days to Reddit




RSS | Related Articles | Editor's Picks Articles | Top Ten Articles | Previous Features | Site Map


For FREE email updates, subscribe to the Today in History Newsletter


Past Issues


print
Printer Friendly
bookmark
Bookmark
tell friend
Tell a Friend
forum
Forum
email
Email Editor


Content copyright © 2015 by Lane Graciano. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Lane Graciano. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Lane Graciano for details.

g


g features
September 3 - Wordsworth Writes a Sonnet

August 31 in History

Für Elise - A Classical Music Mystery

Archives | Site Map

forum
Forum
email
Contact

Past Issues
memberscenter


vote
Poetry
Daily
Weekly
Monthly
Less than Monthly



BellaOnline on Facebook
g


| About BellaOnline | Privacy Policy | Advertising | Become an Editor |
Website copyright © 2015 Minerva WebWorks LLC. All rights reserved.


BellaOnline Editor