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The Calendar. It took several thousand years to establish a satisfactory calendar. Even in this century not all the countries in Europe kept the same calendar. Why was it so difficult? Do we really need an accurate means of recording civil time?

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Introduction

Edwina Jessel

PHY106

The Calendar. It took several thousand years to establish a satisfactory calendar. Even in this century not all the countries in Europe kept the same calendar. Why was it so difficult? Do we really need an accurate means of recording civil time?

The calendar used all over the world today is the Gregorian calendar. It is on occasion called a ‘Christian’ calendar. The Gregorian calendar is the one most widely used today. It was proposed by a physician from Naples, Aloysius Lilius, and adopted by Pope Gregory XIII in accordance with instructions from the Council of Trent (1545-1563) to correct for errors in the older Julian Calendar. “In the Gregorian calendar, the tropical year is approximated as 365 97/400 days = 365.2425 days”[1]. Therefore it takes in the region of 3300 years for the tropical year to shift one day in accordance with the Gregorian calendar.

In most cultures a calendar transformation is an extraordinary event. Implementation of a calendar relies on the forcefulness with which it is initiated and on the readiness of society to acknowledge it. For example, the acceptance of the Gregorian calendar as a "worldwide standard extended over more than three centuries.

“The legal code of the United States of America does not identify an official national calendar.”[2]

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Middle

[4] This is a complicated goal, and the rules for the Jewish calendar are correspondingly fascinating. The Ethiopian calendar is based on the Coptic calendar, although it differs with regard to the saint's days and the time of observing them. The Persian calendar is a solar calendar with a starting point that matches that of the Islamic calendar. Its origin can be traced back to the 11th century when a group of astronomers (including the well-known poet Omar Khayyam) created what is known as the Jalaali calendar. However, a number of changes have been made to the calendar since then. There are various others still in use, but as there are forty of them, it is impossible to mention them all in detail, There are also several calendars which have died out, including the Ancient, French, Mayan and Roman.

The existing dominating calendar is not without imperfections, and restructuring is still being proposed. Astronomically, it really calls for no development, but the seven-day week and the different lengths of months are substandard to some. Evidently, if the calendar could have all festivals and all rest days fixed on the same dates every year, as in the original Julian calendar, this arrangement would be more suitable, and two general schemes have been put forward-the International Fixed Calendar and the World Calendar.

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Conclusion

solar time.”[6] Standard time was largely the creation of a man called Sir Sandford Fleming who was a railway engineer, and realised the importance of establishing set times in areas far apart from each other. Nowadays, another reason why the Gregorian calendar has become so widely used is that the western world became developed first and therefore had more power and greater influence. I think that it is very important to have a worldwide use of one set calendar (although it is fine to have less dominant calendars within each country or each religion to keep the culture alive). The idea of a set calendar and time structures and organises people’s life all around the world and even contributes to keeping the peace as it makes international relations much easier.

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[1] www.ask.co.uk/calendar

[2] www.ask.c.uk/calendar/us/now.ftp-1p

[3] Aventi, A. Empires of Time. Tauris Parker Paperback. 2000, pg 129

[4] www.ask.co.uk/calendar        

[5] Duncan, D.E. The Calendar. Fourth Estate. 1998. pg 65

[6] www.1upinfo.com/reference/civil

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