Calendars of the world

The majority of calendars use the same general idea - the
rotation of the earth on it's own axis (sun up, sun down and
so on) is one day. The moon going round the earth is about a
month, and the earth going round the sun makes a year.
Calendars of this type are called lunisolar calendars, and
the Gregorian calendar currently used in the Europe and
America is an example of such a calendar.

It is estimated that currently there are around 40 types of
calendars in the world. Not all of these calendars have a
full coverage. Out of this about six significant types of
calendars are being referred to in the world.

The calendar of the Western World starts with the birth of
Christ. This idea originated as late as the sixth century
after Christ and was propounded by a scholar named
Dionysius. This was possible only because a majority of
Western nations have accepted Christianity as their state
religion. Thus the use of the date of the birth of Christ
by Dionysius in the calendar gave it a popularity which
continues to this day. Hence Anno Domini or AD came to be
used for years coming after the Birth of Christ.

The eighth century saw agreement between scholars to
describe the years before Christ. They called it BC or
Before Christ after it was suggested by Venerable Bede, an
Englishman who died in 735 AD.

At the time of Jesus, the Hebrews used a different calendar
but the most prevalent calendar at that time was that of
the ruling Romans. The Hebrew calendar is similar to the
Gregorian one though not exactly the same. The start date
is counted from the Era of Creation, the 'Era Mundi', which
is about 3760 BC. Hence the Hebrew years come to 5764 years
approximately, after adding 3760 years to the current
Gregorian years.

The Islamic calendar is also a religious one and follows a
completely different type of calculation. Its calculation
is based on the movement of the moon. The months have no
specific pattern; they do not follow the seasons at all.
They have a unique cycle of 33 years. The important date
for this calendar is 16 July 622 A D (Gregorian calendar).
This is the day when the prophet moved from Mecca to Medina
and is generally considered the Era of the Hijra. It is
also known as the AH or 'Anno Higerae'.

The Chinese calendar does not use a start date but sixty
years cycles instead. Interestingly it has names instead of
numbers. The names come from ten 'celestial stems' and
'earthly branches'. These earthly branches are present in
their horoscopes as well and are named after animals like
ox, dragon, rat and so on.

The Government of China uses the Gregorian calendar for
ease of official business. Otherwise using the Chinese one
due to the sheer complexities of it would create problems.
This is more so now when the world uses the Gregorian
calendar for ease of doing business among them. Since the
world has become more integrated and interdependent, this
use seems practical as well.

-Aria Solorada


Aria Solorada is the webmaster of
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