- Posted by Stephen Whiteley
- On 13/10/2016
- gregorian calendar, Gregory XIII, traduction
Our current calendar, the Gregorian calendar, takes its name from pope Gregory XIII. Back in 1582, Gregory XIII decided to knock 10 days off the Julian calendar, created by Julius Caesar in 46 BC, which had been used in the Catholic world up to that point.
But what led the pope to modify the Julian calendar in such a peculiar way, jumping straight from October 4 to October 15 in the year 1582? Apparently, the Julian calendar was based on a calculation of the solar year at 365.25 days, whereas its actual duration is 365.242189. Those 11 extra minutes had kept piling up over the years. So Pope Gregory XIII decided to slash all 10 days at once to prevent everyone from eventually celebrating Easter in summer, for example – in other words, to prioritize the liturgical calendar.
Curious occurrences resulting from the change include the death of Saint Teresa of Ávila on October 4, 1582 and her burial which took place on October 15, 1582 – the following day.
Or the fact that Catholic countries adopted it right away, but Protestant and Orthodox communities were slower to make the change. England, for example, didn’t instate the Gregorian calendar until 1752. Before then, travelers from Italy to England were faced with a time difference of 10 days.
That being said, although Westerners sometimes forget it, the Gregorian calendar is by no means the only one. According to the Chinese calendar, we are in the year 4714 (year of the monkey), and the Islamic calendar tells us we have just begun the year 1438 (on October 3). According to the Buddhist calendar, this is 2557, and the Mayan calendar puts us in 5129.
All the same, the Gregorian calendar is used the world over for administrative purposes, in the interest of unifying dates.