Calendars of Ancient Civilizations II

The most commonly used calendar in history is the Gregorian model, which is named after Pope Gregory XIII. In this article, you will learn more about this influential method of keeping time, as well as the calendar system of the ancient Hindus.

Gregorian Calendar

The Gregorian system of keeping track of time was introduced in 1582. To complement the astronomical year (365.24219 days), the calendar was equipped with a leap year every four years that had one extra day. Every 3,300 years, the calendar would get just one day out of sync. The leap year day always takes place in February. The typical month has 28 days, while during a leap year, the month has 29 days. Some non-Catholic countries opposed the Gregorian calendar at first. One of these countries was Great Britain, who relied on the Julian calendar, which was calculated using a solar year , based on the amount of time it took the Earth to rotate around the Sun.

However, the Julian calendar fell out of line with the seasons, which forced Great Britain to embrace the Gregorian calendar. This switch eventually took place in 1752. When this occurred, September 3 became September 14, and the people lost 11 days. Interestingly, you will find that nothing was recorded as happening in Great Britain between the time period of September 3, 1752 and September 14, 1752.

Indian (Hindu) Calendar

Based on the motions of the Sun and Moon, the Indian (Hindu) calendar is used for religious holidays and for dating festivals. Official dates are identified with the Gregorian calendar. The ancient calendar is dated from what is referred to as Saka Era, which traces back to 79 AD. Days start with the local sunrise. In lunar religious calendars, Chaitra (which has 30 days) starts with the new moon in March or April. This is seen as the first month of the year.

The remaining months of the Hindu calendar are called, Vaisakha (31 days), Jyaistha (31 days), Asadha (31 days), Sravana (31 days),  Bhadra (31 days), Asvina (30 days), Kartika (30 days), Agrahayana (30 days), Pausa (30 days), Magha (30 days), and Phalguna (30 days).

Religious and traditional observances found on the Indian calendar include the coming of spring is celebrated in the month of Chaitra. On the eve of Chaitra, the spring festival of color called Holi is observed.