2023 is the Chinese Year of the Dog according to their lunar calendar, and twelve animal signs are used as markers to mark each new year.
Jewish calendars employ an alternative system of counting years; their year number represents how long has passed since creation, which they determine using biblical math acrobatics.
The Gregorian calendar is the world’s most commonly used calendar and follows a standard year of 365 days with variations corresponding to major astronomical events like the solstice and equinox. While not perfect, its accuracy will reach 100% by 3300 years.
The year begins on January 1 and ends on December 31 in the Gregorian calendar, though many cultures and religions use different calendar systems to count time.
This can be particularly confusing in parts of the world that have not yet embraced the Gregorian calendar, where cultural practices still celebrate events that would occur on various dates in it – leading to confusion for everyone involved.
Past European nations observed New Year’s Day according to local tradition; for instance, England and France celebrated on different dates during the Middle Ages. Pope Gregory XIII introduced a calendar called Gregorian that replaced Julian.
The Gregorian calendar uses two systems of numbering: decimals and binary systems, with decimal being the preferred form and binary often appearing in older documents. Additionally, an optional system for writing years using four-digit numbers may be occasionally used within the US but is incompatible with ISO standards.
The Julian Calendar, initially used in ancient Roman society and later replaced by the Gregorian Calendar, utilized a leap year formula conceived by Julius Caesar in 45 BCE based on a solar year consisting of three years with 366 days and one leap year of 367 days. Furthermore, it moved the start date from March to January 1.
Pope Gregory XIII introduced the Gregorian Calendar in 1582 as a replacement for Julian Calendar, making changes that better align calendar dates with astronomical events, including seasonal equinoxes and solstices. Leap years were limited to century years (e.g., 1600 and 1700) divisible by 400; Great Britain adopted it only later (1752), while Russia decided not to switch until 1918.
Today, the Gregorian calendar is the predominant official calendar worldwide; however, some countries still use Julian calendar holidays for certain celebrations and occasions. There is currently a 13-day difference between both calendars; the International Astronomical Union has undertaken to find an acceptable solution to address this problem.
People often mistake the Julian and Gregorian calendars, yet distinct differences exist. For example, the Gregorian period begins on 1 January and runs to 31 December; on the other hand, 4713 BC marks the beginning of the Julian period that lasted 7980 years.
The Chinese calendar is a lunisolar system based on observations of sun and moon movements and attempts to align its years with tropical years; however, unlike its Western counterpart, it does not use leap months as frequently. Each Chinese year typically lasts 12 or 13 months beginning with its new moon cycle starting each new moon day, while its era names (yuan, Gengo) span 19-year cycles.
The Gregorian calendar is a solar-based calendar that uses the sun’s movement to calculate time. On the other hand, lunar calendars use lunar motion instead of setting dates. Chinese lunar calendars usually lag by 20-50 days compared with their counterparts.
Lunar years are divided into 12 months, each represented by one of 12 Chinese zodiac animals ranging from rats to pigs. They are considered symbolic representations of certain aspects of Chinese culture or personality.
Chinese New Year celebrations continue today throughout China and some East Asian countries, using its calendar as the foundation for festivities such as Chinese New Year. On this holiday, people clean their homes before hanging couplets depicting spring and prosperity on their doors; children also receive red envelopes containing money from elders as an additional part of the celebrations.
The Hebrew calendar is a lunisolar calendar used by Jews to mark religious observances and rituals, featuring complex rules, regulations, and exceptions designed to fulfill requirements contained within Jewish Holy Scripture. Rabbis developed it using three astronomical phenomena: daily rotation around itself (one day), the monthly revolution of the moon around Earth (one month), and Earth’s revolution around the sun (a year).
The Jewish lunar calendar does not precisely coincide with the solar cycle; therefore, it requires periodic insertion of leap months to correct differences between lunar and solar cycles. Typically this process takes place seven times every nineteen years to address this discrepancy between lunar and solar cycles. Furthermore, Jewish tradition includes adding one particular leap month known as Adar I every third, sixth, eighth, eleventh, and nineteenth year of each 19-year cycle to maintain the accuracy of the calculation.
The Hebrew calendar does not follow a 24-hour day format because biblical passages contain phrases like, ‘And it was evening, and it was morning.” Based on this belief, ancient rabbis decided that evening preceded morning. Additionally, the Jewish calendar uses different rules than other civil calendars when counting days, specifically reckoning from sunset to sunset rather than midnight or dawn.
The Islamic calendar, also called Hijri or Muslim calendar, is a 12-month lunar calendar used in many countries worldwide in conjunction with or in place of the Gregorian calendar. Each month begins when a crescent moon can be seen; this can vary due to weather conditions affecting visibility; since the Islamic calendar is determined by moon movements rather than calendar days, it often falls 11 days shorter.
Muharram (meaning “forbidden”) is the initial month in the Islamic calendar. It is dedicated to reflection, prayer, and mourning for Husayn’s death in 680 CE at Karbala Battle – particularly on Ashura day (10th day).
Islamic calendar months generally range between 29 and 30 days in duration; each new month begins when a waning crescent can be seen after sunset, with Ramadan being observed globally by Muslims worldwide. While slowly aligning itself with the Gregorian calendar, at present, its primary use remains religious while it also helps determine holidays across Islamic-majority nations such as Saudi Arabia.
The Buddhist calendar is a lunisolar system that divides the year into 12 months, each one lasting 29 or 30 days, divided further into two fortnights – with 15-day cycles covering waxing moon phases, 14-15 days for waning moon phases and some variation between these cycles and its Hindu counterpart (like interval schedules and month names).
Like other Southeast Asian lunisolar calendars, the Buddhist calendar employs lunar months and attempts to keep pace with solar years by inserting intercalary months and days based on sidereal and Metonic cycles. Unfortunately, due to lunar years being approximately 20 minutes longer than solar ones, their passage causes their respective seasons to drift out of sync with each other. Eventually, the Buddhist calendar falls out of synchrony altogether.
Although Thailand generally follows the Gregorian calendar, many Thais continue to rely on Buddhist dates instead. To convert any date from Buddhist Era (BE) into Common Era (CE), add 543. So, for example, 2023 CE would become 2566 BE in Buddhist Era terms.
Many Thais believe in karma and reincarnation. Their actions can directly impact future lives, so they seek to gain merit through acts of goodness or virtue. One important merit-making festival in Thailand is Makha Bucha, held every full moon between March and April and commemorated when 1,250 disciples of Buddha come together to honor him and hear about Buddhist principles outlined by him.