Did you know that this past Sunday was the first day of the year? More about that later. We determine the first day of the year by reference to a calendar. A calendar is a way of organizing the days of the year. It does this by naming periods of time. We use the terms “days” and “months” to describe the passage of time.
The calendar that we use is the Gregorian calendar. It was named for Pope Gregory XIII. It is a solar based calendar based on a 365 day year divided into 12 months. The Gregorian calendar was preceded by the Julian calendar. The Gregorian calendar was put in use originally in 1582. It is more accurate than the Julian calendar in determining the time it takes the earth to rotate around the sun.
Throughout history there have been many different types of calendars. Generally there are four types of calendars: lunisolar, solar, lunar and seasonal. Both the Gregorian and Julian are solar type calendars, meaning that they are based on the earth’s orbit around the sun. Islamic and Buddhist calendars, however, are lunar. Some ancient calendars are based on agricultural seasons. For example, the Egyptian calendar is divided into three seasons: flooding, growth and harvest. The Inuit calendar, an indigenous North American calendar, has six to eight seasons because solar and lunar methods do not work that far north.
Back to my original point. There are some calendars that are not based on the movement of the earth, moon or sun or by agricultural seasons. The Liturgical calendar is a method of organizing the Christian year. It is based on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is used by many Catholic and Protestant churches. It divides the year into liturgical seasons such as Easter, Pentecost, and Christmas. According to the liturgical calendar the first season of the year is the season of Advent. Advent is the season of waiting expectantly for the coming of Christ. This year the season of Advent began on Sunday, December 1, 2019. That was the first day of the Christian year.
However you measure the passage of time, remember, we all have the same amount of it. I’m hoping that I will use mine wisely and use it to help other people as much as possible.
Lynn Jinks is an attorney with Jinks, Crow & Dickson, P.C.