Thursday, March 7, 2024


We take time for granted, don't we? Except when we realize how quickly a year is going by. It's already March (IT'S ALREADY MARCH) and we are in a Leap Year, which makes me wonder again why we have a Leap Year.

Last year I noticed that the dates in February matched up with the dates in March. In other words, usually March 25 is on a Saturday just like February 25. April and July had a similar pattern. I flipped through calendars for previous years and found the same peculiar alignment except during Leap Years. A simple thing you would notice only if you were looking at a yearly calendar, not your normal weekly planner or monthly calendar.

In the West, we officially adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1582 CE to correct the date for Easter, which had moved because the Julian calendar being used at the time did not account for the loss of portions of a day in a year. (You have to be a mathematician to figure this all out.) All of the calendars adopted by various cultures have to account for the need for extra days to continue to be accurate. We add a day in our Leap Years, in India and with the Chinese lunar calendar, months are added or subtracted.

The Hindu calendar, a much more complex system of time, revolves around changes in the sun, moon, and constellations and is much more 3-dimensional than the Western calendar. If we lived in Japan, we would be using the Gregorian calendar, but also we would understand that we lived in era Reiwa 6, because each new emperor selects the name for the era of his rule. During the 6th century, the Japanese borrowed their original calendar from China and Korea, long before the Gregorian calendar arrived. In most Asian countries, 2024 CE is also the year of the Dragon.

When we lived in Japan, we realized another change to our calendars. Flying to and from California to Asia Pacific countries, we lost or gained a day. I didn't mind adding a day on our return home, but even losing one day the other way seemed unfair.

 And now we are approaching another time adjustment. Most of the U.S. changes to Daylight Saving Time on the second Sunday in March. This year on March 10. Benjamin Franklin originally suggested the idea, but the U.S. didn't implement DST until WWI. Farmers objected to its implementation after the war (farm animals don't change their time to fit our schedules), and DST was dropped until later in the century when we were no longer a majority agrarian society. There are now efforts to keep DST year-round. If you are like, me the adjustment to the time change in the Spring takes time.

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