Daniel Sammon – Gregorian Calendar

Daniel Sammon lives in Renvyle, Co. Galway. In November 2011 he came up with the novel idea of publishing a book of 60 poems to celebrate his 60th birthday. Two years previously, in 2009 to commemorate the long struggle for Irish Independence and Freedom he walked across Ireland from Renvyle to the GPO in Dublin. He found that walk so interesting and wrote a book about it and called it ‘My Great Walk Across Ireland’. The book was launched by Minister Eamon O’Cuiv in May 2010.

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Gregorian Calendar

by Daniel Sammon

Q. What happened in England between Sept 3rd 1752 and Sept 13th 1752?
A. Nothing.
Q. Why? Surely some ordinary things happened if not some historic battles, landslides, earthquakes or famous marriages took place.
Surely people got up out of their beds and went about their ordinary lives?
A. No, nothing happened because no such time existed!

When people went to bed in England on Wednesday 2nd September 1752 and unless they got up again to go to the toilet before midnight! when they woke up again the next day it was Thursday 14th September 1752.
As a result of the British Calendar Act of 1751 this period of time was deleted from history or to be more exact it never existed.
Up until that time the main calendar used for recording the days, weeks, years etc. was the Julian Calendar.
This calendar took its name from the man who established it, Julius Ceasar in 45 BC.
There were many other calendars in use and they are still to this day.
For example, one calendar known as the Igbo Calendar has only four days each week and has seven weeks in each month, that is twenty eight days in each month but it has thirteen months in each year.
The Julian Calendar was quite accurate in so far as it had 11 months of 30 or 31days with 28 days for February except every four years February had one extra day.
So far, so good except that this calendar was eleven and a half minutes short of the Solar calendar each year.
From the time of its inception till the 16th century this small difference each year had amounted to 10 days.
In 1582 Pope Gregory XIII adjusted this time difference and introduced his own calendar known as the Gregorian Calendar.
In it he included a mechanism for more accurate recording and for preventing future mistakes.
February is now only a leap-year every four years if it is divisible by 400.
For example 2000 and 2400 are leap-years but 2100 and 2200 are not leap-years.
The Gregorian Calendar still differs from the Solar calendar by 26 seconds per year but this only adds up to 1 day every 3,323 years and that is accurate enough for most people.
It is sometimes said nowadays about two people who are always rowing and fighting that ‘those two can’t agree on the day of the week!’
And so it was in the Middle Ages, due to antagonism and bitterness, despite the Pope’s correction, many Protestant countries wouldn’t accept the Papal Bull.
It was more than 100 years later when Germany and The Netherlands accepted the Gregorian calendar in 1698.
Britain stayed with the Julian calendar until September 1752.
Russia only accepted it in 1918 and Greece in 1923.
Many Orthodox Churches still use the Julian calendar which is now 13 days behind the Solar calandar.
‘He, who laughs last, laughs best’ or so they say, but only if he has a sense of humour!
For hundreds of years the Battle of The Boyne is commemorated on the 12th of July but it wasn’t fought on the 12th July at all!
It was on 1st July 1690 when Protestant King William defeated Catholic King James II, but at the time they couldn’t agree on the date of the year.
Many years later both sides accepted Greg’s calendar or as it’s sometimes known as The Catholic Calendar and now everybody acknowledges that famous victory on the banks of the Boyne and commemorate it each year on the 12th July.

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