Thursday, 17 January 2019

Old Twelfth Night

It's Old Twelfth Night..................Old Twelfth Night?
All due to the change of calendar in 1752..
I read quite a lot about calendars in a book that I found at the Giant charity book sale in Colchester last October. I shelved the book and forgot I had it until last week.








This is my Very Short History of calendars..............

Around 4,000BC the Egyptians were the first to calculate the solar year of 365 days dividing it into 12 months of 30 days each plus 5 days. Later they calculated it should be 365¼ days
The Romans had originally used a 10 month lunar year of about 304 days but around 700BC they added 2 more months making a year 355 days. By Julius Caeser's time the calendar was way out and in 45BC he introduced the Julian Calendar, based on a 365 day year with an extra day every 4 years. The only thing they didn't work out back then was 7 day weeks, instead they reckoned the days before and after set points.  Things should have been OK from then onward except that  sometime before AD 377 Emperor Constantine introduced the 7 day week but put the organising of the calendar back in the hands of religious groups who wanted the calendar to link to the moon for their major festival of Easter.
After the collapse of the Roman Empire the Christian church was the only organisation able to control the calendar and because they regarded any scientific enquiry into dates as heresy things got very confusing.
The errors became obvious and annoying and in 1582 Pope Gregory   announced changes to correct the faults including the problem with the ¼ day over. (The Gregorian Calendar) Easter was still being calculated by the moon. BUT newly Protestant countries such as Britain thought the whole thing a Popish plot and refused to change, so for more than a century half of Europe was 10 days ahead of the other half.
(So disagreeing with Europe isn't a new thing!)
But it all got sorted in  1752.


Didn't do the wassailing of my Apple trees on the 6th as I had no cider or apple juice in the house so I'm out there tonight with my cider soaked toast....... and have a bottle in store for using with Rosemary for that cold cure. Just in case.

Back Tomorrow
Sue

25 comments:

  1. This is fascinating information Sue. Thanks so much. Leap years and the spare quarter-day have always fascinated me, especially when I've met people born on Feb 29th

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    1. A birthday only every four years must keep you young! but only in numbers

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  2. Did it last evening...we made loads of noise...sang the Wassailers song...drank some cider...and headed back inside! Still don’t understand how 5th is new twelfth night but add on 11 days = 16th not 17th. They must calculate from epiphany. x

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    1. You are probably right and I should have been out there last night. I think someone said that in the past days ran from evening to evening rather than morning to morning.

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  3. How the world would be if we hadn't had a calendar of any rigorous sort pressed upon us! We'd have to wait for the bods at Newgrange and Maes Howe (which have light boxes aligned so as to tell us the turning of the year).

    Great post. No wassailing here, though I should, with all our apple trees and lots of baby ones too.

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    1. If the weather is as cold and wet as it looks my wassailing might have to wait until spring!

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  4. That's a completely new one on me and fascinating. Thanks.
    xx

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  5. It still annoys me that the start of this new millennium was celebrated on Jan 1st 2000; as if we count from 0 to 9, instead of 1 to 10. I know that at the beginning of the last millennium it was celebrated correctly on Jan 1st 1901, because it was written-up in The Times newspaper. Have we all become less intelligent as the years (millennia) roll by?

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    1. That was 18 (or 19) years ago Cro..........let it go!!

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  6. Thank you for such an understandable and comprehensive guide to the calendar.
    I shall walk round chanting, “Egyptian, Julian, Gregorian,” to myself all day.
    Sue

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    1. I think it's amazing that it was all worked out such a long time ago but took an age for everywhere to use the same calendar

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  7. Beautiful cover on the book-according to the forecast we’ll soon be having that snow here. Catriona

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    1. How did I forget that I owned it? I shall use more bits from it through the year

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  8. It is always interesting to find out why we do the things we do - I wish the persons responsible though would have settled on a 3 day weekend not just two - not that I need to abide by that now that I am not working but a weekend is such a rush when you are. The ten day difference must have been a bit like the time difference now when flying somewhere only in this case you would set off on a Monday for instance then travel for a day or two but arrive ten to twelve days later to find it wasn't Tuesday or Wednesday but Thursday or Friday of a completely different week! Imagine trying to book your return travel now and holidays at work LOL!

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    1. Good thing they eventually sorted out the calendar before they invented flight!

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  9. The cover alone would make me want to purchase that book. No apple trees here to wassail, just a plum tree:)

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  10. Just drink the cider and put the rosemary under your pillow - one will make you sleepy, the other will give you peaceful dreams. Love that dust jacket, and all the information!

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    1. It's freezing outside now so I'm not sure about the wassailing at all. I might wimp out!

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  11. You got a good deal there....This book is $115.00 on amazon.com...I haven't checked the UK site yet.

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    1. I got it from a big charity book sale last October for £1.50 (I know this as it's pencilled in the front of the book!) I had previously borrowed it from the library but found it was too expensive to buy on Amazon so I was lucky to find it. There is a cheaper paperback edition available on Amazon at the moment.

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  12. That was one of my Christmas presents from my parents!
    Arilx

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  13. Thanks for the history of calendars. It was very interesting.

    God bless.

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