How Many Calendars Are In Use Today?
We use calendars all the time to keep track of holidays, birthdays, and other important events. But the interesting thing about the calendar is just how many there are. There are currently more than 40 calendars still being used today, and they are as unique as the cultures that use them.
Here are just a few of the calendars many cultures still used in one way or another:
1. Julian Calendar
The name is given to this calendar because Julius Caesar himself introduced it in 46 BC. It uses what is known as the “lunisolar method.” This method uses the Earth and its proximity to both the Sun and Moon to determine days and time.
Caesar’s calendar uses a model structured with 12 months for a total of 365 days, with the mystical February 29th happening every four years.
2. Chinese Calendar
The Chinese calendar also uses a lunisolar system to determine days and time. On this particular calendar, the beginning of each month is the day of the “new moon” cycle. Every new year is marked by the moon’s position when it lands in the middle point between the winter solstice and spring equinox.
Officially, the country uses the Gregorian calendar but the old school one is still used to celebrate the holidays.
3. Gregorian Calendar
The Gregorian calendar is the most commonly used calendar in the west today. The accuracy of year length went up by .002% when it replaced the Julian calendar. Changing to this calendar allowed people to celebrate Easter closer to the vernal equinox, a time many believe a certain religious figure was born.
It might be associated with Christianity because it was a calendar introduced by Pope Gregory XIII in the 16th century AD. Despite its religious association, the majority of the world uses this calendar.
4. Hebrew Calendar
This one is also known by many as the Jewish calendar. Surprisingly, it was created long ago before the year 10 AD. At its inception, the calendar used lunar months and calendar years. It also added a whole month every three to four years to make up for the difference between each.
Mathematical calculations eventually replaced the calendar. In the present day, this calendar is only used for religious Jewish holidays, and to select specific readings for the day. It is also used for the conducting of ceremonial events.
5. The Buddhist Calendar
With Buddhism being such a widely practiced religion, it should come as no surprise that there would be a Buddhist calendar. It uses something called ‘sidereal year’. It is defined as “the time taken by the Earth to orbit the Sun once with respect to the fixed stars.”
It is commonly used throughout Southeast Asia but based on a Hindu calendar that is much older.
Because it does not stay in synch with the time measurement of sidereal year, it moves out of alignment by one day every hundred years.
Don’t worry, this calendar is not used officially, but it does mark important festivals for dedicated practitioners of Buddhism.
6. Hijri Calendar
Also known as the Islamic calendar, it uses a system based on lunar phases. There are about 12 months and has between 354 to 355 days a year. It began in AD 622 during Muhammad’s emigration from Mecca to Medina.
Thanks to the time that it started, the year according to the Hijri calendar is 1439 AH. That would put it on the Gregorian calendar in between October 3, 2016, to September 21, 2017.
It is 12 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar, and 33 years have to pass before it makes a full round of the seasons. Based on the Hijri calendar, a day begins at sunset. Those familiar with Islam, know that evening during Ramadhan marks when Muslim men, women, and children may eat to break after their day of religious fasting.
It identifies Islamic holidays and festivals.
7. Iranian Muslim Calendar
This calendar is specific to the region that was once known as Persia. It has been used for more than 2,000 years making it one of the oldest still used today. It has, of course, changed as the world has grown and changed to incorporate other holidays that may be political, religious, or seasonal.