Sunday, 1 January 2012

Happy New Year. Is it really 2012?

1st January and it is 2012 (MMXII), but only on the Gregorian calendar. While I was aware of the existence of others, until I examined the subject in more detail I had no idea just how many different calendars there are. The following are a selection and include some explanation as to who, where and why.

Ab urbe condita and the year is 2765, not exactly the most widely used calendar and important only to historians with an interest in Rome for the name is Latin for 'from the founding of the city (of Rome)'.

Armenian calendar gives this as 1461, a solar calendar based on 365 days in a year. Twelve months of 30 days each with another five days which belong to no month. Year 1 began on 11th July AD552 in the Julian Calendar.

Assyrian calendar it is now 6762 as the calendar began in the equivalent of 4750BC, the year the first temple was established as Ashur.

Bahai calendar says 168, as the Bahai Era began on 21st March 1844.

Bengali calendar and the year is 1419, the Bengali era beginning with the rule of King Shoshangko.

Berber calendar this year is 2962, adjusted in the 1960s so year 1 was set to 950 BC, the approximate date of the first Libyan pharoah in Egypt.

British regnal year and today 60 Eliz 2, it will become 61 on February 6th, the day after the death of George VI and Queen Elizabeth II's accession to the throne.

Buddhist calendar it is now 2556, dating from when the Buddha attained nirvana.

Burmese calendar the year is 1374 as it began 638 years after the Christian calendar.

Byzantine calendar this year is now 7520, the date of creation given as September 1st 5509 BC.

Chinese calendar says 4648, although there is no agreement as to when the calendar began it is traditionally held to have been invented by Emperor Huang-di in the 61st year of his reign.

Coptic calendar lists this as 1728, based on a reform of the ancient Egyptian calendar.

Ethiopian calendar makes this 2004, a calendar based on the Annunciation or Incarnation of Jesus as given by the Julian Calndar, which equates to 25th March 9AD

Hebrew calendar comes out as 5772, no surprisingly the number of years considered to have passed since the beginning of the world.

Hindu calendar of Bikram Samwat is 2068, as established by the Indian emperor Vikramaditya of Ujjain follwing his victory over the Sakas in 56 BC.

Hindu calendar of Shaka Samwat gives this as 1934, where the year was set to zero (not one) in the year 78 of the Saka year. However this was not decided until as recently as March 22nd 1957.

Hindu calendar of Kali Yuga reads 5113, literally 'the age of the female demon Kali' or perhaps 'the age of vice'. Hence is said to be the age of the world, which began on 23rd January 3102BC

Holocene calendar reads 12012, clearly exactly 10,000 years before the Gregorian calendar and given as the beginning of the Holocene epoch, the Neolithic revolution, and thus seen as the Human Era.

Iranian calendar reads 1390, roughly corresponding to the calendar of Zoroastrian cosmology with a starting point in the period of the Achaemenid Empire.

Islamic calendar states 1433, counting beginning with the emigration of the prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina.

Japanese calendar reads 24, or correctly Heisei 24 the reign of the current empreror. However the Japanese also use the Imperial Year system, which would then make this the first day of 2772, while officially using the Gregorian calendar.

Korean calendar is seen as 4345, counted from the foundation of Gojoseon in 2333 BC, although officially the Gregorian Calendar has been used for some time.

Minguo calendar says this is ROC 101, the 101st yeat of the Republic of China (Minguo meaning literally 'the Country of the People'.

Thai solar calendar reads 2555, today counted in the Buddhist era as 543 years greater than the Christian Era.

Unix time states 1325376000, my personal favourite and one I use whenever I receive a phone call from some organisation who demand my date of birth when trying to 'go through security'. There are no years, months, days, hours or minutes in Unix time, only seconds. It began at midnight on Thursday 1st January 1970 GMT (Greenwich Mean Time), today referred to as UTC (Coordinated Universal Time).

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