Thursday, March 25, 2004

Happy New Year! Are you aware that hundreds of years ago, while a new year began on January 1, the shift of the year title happened on March 25. That is, if we were living in, say, in the 1400's yesterday might have been March 24, 1403 and tomorrow would be March 26, 1404.

Why the 25th of March? What's significant about that?

I believe the Orthodox would know. More at lunchtime.


Yes, that's right, today is the Feast of the Annunciation, the beginning of the incarnation of Jesus; nine months from now will be Christmas Day.

An Explanation from this Scotish Genealogy website:
Between the 12th & 14th centuries the Catholic Church in Europe gradually changed the beginning of the Civil or Legal year from December 25 to the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin (Lady Day) on March 25.

January 1 was adopted as the first day of the year in Scotland in 1600.

The Julian Calendar, which was adopted by Christian Europe between the 6th & 9th centuries A.D., was slightly inaccurate so that by 1582 the equinox fell on March 11 instead of the original correct date of March 21.

PopeGregory ordained two changes to correct the calendar:

of the end century years only the fourth should be a leap year. ie 1600, 2000, 2400 etc.;
in 1582, October 5 should be called October 15, omitting 10 days.
This Gregorian Calendar was eventually adopted by Great Britain & her Dominions (including the American colonies) in 1752 by the omission of 11 days (September 3 being reckoned as September 14).

Until 1752 the Scots and the English, though they had different New Year?s Days after 1600, were both ten, (or after 1700, eleven), days behind the continental Gregorian Calendar. In their own countries the Scots & English used the Old Style (O.S) Julian Calendar, and their sailors usually did so. However, their armies and diplomats on the continent usually used the New Style (N.S); sometimes it is impossible to be certain which style is being used and mistakes can be easily made.

In the Philippines, today is the Day of the Unborn.

See also this on quarter days.

Also, this page looks interesting, although I can not attest to the veracity of anything on it.

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