Names of the Months
Today we’re talking about the English names of months.
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The Gregorian Calendar
The Julian Calendar was in effect for centuries, but this is not our calendar today. We use the Gregorian Calendar, named after Pope Gregory XIII, who issued a papal bull about it in 1582. A papal bull is a letter or announcement from the pope to the Catholic world. The pope felt the Julian Calendar had to be replaced because “it did not properly reflect the actual time it takes the Earth to circle once around the Sun, known as a tropical year.” (5) The Julian Calendar had “miscalculated the length of the solar year,” and as a result the calendar didn’t coincide with the seasons, especially Easter, which the church wanted to schedule relative to the spring equinox. (6) The solution was to chop out some days—quite a few, in fact. It took more than 300 years for all countries to adopt the calendar, and the longer they waited, the more days they had to cut. For example, when Britain and its American colonies switched to the Gregorian Calendar in 1752, they deleted 11 days,(7) whereas Turkey, the last country to make the official switch in 1927, had to delete 13 days. (8)
The Calendar Today
The calendar we use today is quite accurate but not perfect. Experts calculate that come year 4909 on the Gregorian calendar, we’ll be off by a day again. (8) That’s a long way off, so for now just make sure to put in that silent R when you are spelling the word February.
That segment was written by Bonnie Mills, author of The Curious Case of the Misplaced Modifier.
1. timeanddate.com. “The Roman Calendar.” https://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/roman-calendar.html. Accessed January 15, 2017.
2. Encyclopedia Mythica. “Origin of the names of the months.” http://www.pantheon.org/miscellaneous/origin_months.html. Accessed January 15, 2017.
3. The Old Farmer’s Almanac. “Origin of Month Names.” http://www.almanac.com/content/origin-month-names. Accessed January 15, 2017.
4. Dictionary.com. “Aperture.” http://www.dictionary.com/browse/aperture?s=t. Accessed January 15, 2017.
5. timeanddate.com. “Change From Julian to Gregorian Calendar.” https://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/julian-gregorian-switch.html. Accessed January 15, 2017.
6. History.com. “6 Things You May Not Know About The Gregorian Calendar.” http://www.history.com/news/6-things-you-may-not-know-about-the-gregorian-calendar. Accessed January 15, 2017.
7. “1752 Calendar Change.” http://libguides.ctstatelibrary.org/hg/colonialresearch/calendar. Accessed January 23, 2017.
8. timeanddate.com. “Change From Julian to Gregorian Calendar.” https://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/julian-gregorian-switch.html. Accessed January 15, 2017.
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