Calendar faux meme – “every 823 years”

The year 2100 is NOT a leap year.

Several people I know IRL, intelligent people, have said they got a text or saw a Facebook message. It reads, e.g. “The month of December 2018 will have 5 Saturdays, 5 Sundays, and 5 Mondays. It only happens once every 823 years.”

When I first saw this meme a half decade or more ago, I knew instantly that it had to be untrue. The reason was that, as a kid, I devoured the World Almanac every year.

About a third of the way through was the calendar section, and it indicated that there were only 14 ways a calendar year could be constructed. January 1 starts on one of the seven days; it’s a leap year or it’s not. Seven times two is fourteen.

Perpetual calendar

In a non-leap year, if January 1 is on a Sunday, we had experienced that same pattern in 2006, 2017 and will again in 2023. Calendars repeat. 2018 looks just like 2007; 2029 and 2035 will be carbon copies.

(I’m talking calendar days, not moving holidays such as Easter or Yom Kippur.)

In general, a calendar will repeat every six or eleven years, depending on whether it hits one or two leap years in between. So 2002 is the model for 2013, 2019, 2030, 2041, 2047, et al.

Even leap years repeat, obviously less frequently. The calendars for 1992, 2020 and 2048 are the same.

One way to prove that the specific meme is a myth is to go to Time and Date for “When is Saturday the 1st?” Eliminating the months with less than 31 days:
May 2010; January 2011; October 2011; December 2012; March 2014; August 2015; October 2016; July 2017; December 2018; August 2020.

Basically I look at the perpetual calendar for 1801 to 2100 and see the repeating patterns.

Note, BTW, the year 2100 is NOT a leap year. “Any year evenly divisible by four is a leap year, except centesimal years (years ending in two zeros) which are considered common years and thus have the typical 365 days, unless they are evenly divisible by 400. Therefore, 1600 and 2000 are leap years, while 1700, 1800, 1900 and 2100 are not.”

For ABC Wednesday

Couldn’t Pope Gregory have fixed that OTHER calendar problem?

If Gregory was going to go through all that change, maybe he could have addressed a more peculiar problem – the faulty naming of the months.

As you may know, there was a switch in the Western world from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar that the vast majority of us use today. “The motivation for the reform was to bring the date for the celebration of Easter to the time of the year in which the First Council of Nicaea had agreed upon in 325. Because the spring equinox was tied to the celebration of Easter, the Roman Catholic Church considered this steady movement in the date of the equinox undesirable… Between AD 325… (when… the vernal equinox occurred approximately 21 March), and the time of Pope Gregory’s bull in 1582, the vernal equinox had moved backward in the calendar, until it was occurring on about 11 March, 10 days earlier.”

The fix was to make years that are exactly divisible by 100 NOT leap years, UNLESS they are exactly divisible by 400. “For example, the year 1900 was not a leap year; the year 2000 is a leap year;” 2100 will NOT be a leap year. They recalculated a year as “365 days, 5 hours, 49 minutes, 12 seconds.”

The Catholic countries adopted the change right away. The Protestant countries, not so quickly. “Britain and the British Empire (including the eastern part of what is now the United States) adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752, by which time it was necessary to correct by 11 days. Wednesday, 2 September 1752 was followed by Thursday, 14 September 1752.” This is why one sees references to two dates for George Washington’s birthday in February 1732.

If Gregory was going to go through all that change, maybe he could have addressed a more peculiar problem – the faulty naming of the months. Specifically, September through December. Their names suggest they are the seventh through the tenth months, yet they are, of course, the ninth through the twelfth months.

Couldn’t have Gregory created a 14-month year? After December, he could have declared a couple of intercalative months, and start the new year with March, which once HAD been the beginning of the year. It would have made sense to start with the month of the vernal equinox (in the Northern Hemisphere), wouldn’t it have? Not that the Catholic church of the 16th Century would have necessarily noticed, but other cultures also start the calendar in March.

Also, if you think about it, New Year’s Day is really a terrible time for resolutions.

While I’m musing on this, my daughter was complaining about the weekend. Well, actually, that if Sunday is the first day of the week, how can it be part of the week’s END? I explained that in many places, the week actually starts on MONDAY – something I didn’t realize until I took high school French – so the week’s end actually makes sense, in rational countries. There is actually an ISO standard that designates that Monday starts the week. Naturally, the US will have none of that; it’s too rational, rather like the metric system.

The Lydster, Part 116: Calendaring

Lydia is in the church musical of The Lion King. Not only is she participating, she’s going to play the pivotal role of the young Nala.

Most of the time, I try to come up with a narrative about the Daughter. This time, just the calendar.

This fall, she was playing soccer. Unfortunately, in the very first game, fairly early on, she got kicked in the foot, left the game in pain, and never returned. But she was back in action by the following week. She likes playing defense, and is more interested in protecting her team’s goal rather than making a goal. However, for her homework, she has to write sentences, and she has allowed that someday, she WOULD indeed like to score a goal. That phase ended on November 2.

Both last year and this, there were two weekends where she had soccer, PLUS two rehearsals of the Albany Berkshire Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker, in which she will again be an angel. The performance is Saturday, December 21 at 1 pm in Albany.

Much to my surprise, she wanted to try out for the church musical of The Lion King. Not only is she participating, she’s going to play the pivotal role of the young Nala, young Simba’s best friend. She gets to sing some lines by herself, and make a few dance moves. She has played the soundtrack – this is NO exaggeration – over a hundred times since rehearsals began in September. One day she played it FIVE TIMES, and she always goes to sleep listening to it. The production is on March 2, 2014 at our church.

Then there is the aforementioned homework. I have railed about it in my Times Union blog HERE and HERE and HERE In brief, the new Core Curriculum is making my daughter sad and anxious, and she’s not the only one. It’s not that I oppose standards. I do object though to inane questions (see third link just above) put together by non-educators, which what the EngageNY syllabus adopted by the NYS Department of Education has deemed appropriate. Homework takes too long, and chews up both her and my time. Makes me cranky.

End of the world postponed; date TBD

What if it were the last day. What would I do?

I had made light of all the end of the world stuff. Then I started to take in some information that made me rethink it. The stories in Metroland, for instance, were quite informative.

Seriously, I think the Mayans are getting a bad rap. A lot of what OTHER people said they said doesn’t appear to be true. The NBC News story I saw suggested that December 21, 2012, wasn’t apocalyptic in their tradition; it was just another cycle.

It appears that others have superimposed their own dystopian values on the Mayans. It made for not-so-clever comic fodder, of the “How can they predict the end of the world when they couldn’t even foresee their own elimination?” variety. Though JibJab had some fun with it, and this picture WAS rather humorous.

There’s also the issue that these end-of-days pronouncements, and particularly the one for December 21, 2012, actually have an effect on people. I’ve seen educated, otherwise rational adults express uneasiness over the predictions; it just gives off a negative vibe. Children are particularly vulnerable to the noise. I think it’s probably like how kids of my vintage fretted about the Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) of the Cold War, US v. the USSR. I DO wonder, though, if we’ve hit a global warming tipping point.

Cheri of Idle Chatter mused about what if it were the last day. What would I do? Wouldn’t bother bearing grudges, but would make sure that as many people I knew were aware of how much I cared for them, especially those I didn’t tell often enough.
The End is Nigh, Look Busy


12/12/12: The last time in your life, probably

12/12 is December 12, everywhere in the world. No doubt, no conflict.


Today is the last time for 88 years there will be a date as perfect as this one. At 12:12 today, I plan to stop and acknowledge it. If my daughter is alive on 01/01/2101, she’ll practically be 97. I’d be almost 148, so I’m not counting on that.

What is it about repeating number dates that’s so cool? As I’ve indicated previously, consecutive numbers are interesting, but they don’t mean the same thing worldwide. Next year, for instance, there will be 11/12/13; in the United States, that’ll be November 12. But in the civilized world (or the civilised world, if thou prefereth), it’ll be the 11th of December.

12/12 is December 12, everywhere in the world. No doubt, no conflict. Unified front, the world in agreement, when the world seems incapable of agreeing on much; and it’ll be nearly another century before we’ll all be in sync. If we survive that long. Isn’t that Mayan calendar doomsday thing supposed to be this month? Not that I believe it.

Lots of folks appreciate this specific date. This is Time for the Golden Age. And it’s a memorable date to get married.

The 12-12-12 concert for Hurricane Sandy relief from 7:30 pm (Eastern)-midnight.

(Happy birthday, GC.)

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