Archive for May, 2012

History of Calendars

May 21st, 2012

Thousands of years ago, people depended on natural events to keep track of time such as the rising of the sun, the length of shadows, the phase of the moon or the position of certain stars in the skies. As civilization became more complicated, better ways of measuring time were needed, hence, the creation of the calendar system. Today, calendars can be readily used to track time and mark important events.

Although calendars can now be customized an endless number of ways and calendars are popular gifts, the international calendar that is used today evolved from ancient calendar systems which were implemented hundreds of years ago. These are a few of the historical and influential calendar systems.

The Sumerian Calendar – 6th century B.C
The Sumerian calendar had 12 lunar months where each month had 29 or 30 days. The sighting of the new moon marked the beginning of each month. The months had no uniform name because of the diversity of religions in Sumeria.

The Mayan Calendar
This ancient calendar system from the Maya civilization was one of the most complex calendars along with the other Mesoamerican calendar systems. The Mayan calendar had two years: the Sacred Round which was used for religious purposes and the Vague Year which was when they did the day-to-day things such as planting crops.

The Athenian Calendar
The Athenian calendar was a luni-solar calendar made up of 12 months with 354 days. Each month alternated between 29 or 30 days long. An extra month was added every other year to keep the calendar in line with the 365.25-day solar year.

The Roman or Julian Calendar
The Romans adopted the 304-day calendar which was divided into 10 months that began with the month of XI Kal. Januarius and Februarius were added as intercalary months to fill the gaps. The Romans believed that the even numbers were unlucky and with this superstition in mind, the calendar months they created were 29 or 31 days in length but the month of Februarius was an exception as it only had 28 days. And because the total number of days when added was only 355 days, they created the Mercedonius as an extra month which had 22 or 23 days and was added every two years.

Later, Julius Caesar found the calendar system to be inaccurate and so he made some drastic changes. The new calendar was to begin on January 1 and it ran over 365 days with December 31 as the end of the year. Augustus then made further adjustments to this system and introduced the concept of a “leap year” in AD 4. The result is the invention of the Julian calendar. This calendar system was widespread and used in Europe until the year 1582. The calendar we use today was fashioned after the Julian calendar system.

The Gregorian Calendar
Pope Gregory XIII (1502 – 1585) was the one to alter the Julian calendar and transformed it to “Gregorian”. Reforming the method of calculating when Easter would be resulted in a need to reform the old calendar. This was the birth of the Gregorian calendar. By changing the calendar Promotional wall Calendars are a great gift for business to give as they help people keep track of important events while providing a visual representation of your company’s image to existing and potential clients and partners.