Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy (Yawn) New Year

You know, I really don't care about New Year's Day. It's just a Hallmark holiday as far as I'm concerned. It's about as exciting as watching my odometer turn over every 10,000 miles and I don't go out and party when that happens, either.

Last night, my wife and I were reminiscing about New Year's in 2000 and how I was a grump when everyone around me was celebrating the new millennium. I said then, as I say now, was it really the new millennium? When you learn to count to 10, do you stop at 9 and say you're done? Do you stop at 99 and go, "Whoopie! I counted to 100?" Seems to me a millennium should be complete when the 1000th year in it is complete, not when the 999th year is at its close. Do people realize that the Gregorian calendar was adopted in different parts of the world at different times? Do they know that to change over from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, 10 days had to be skipped to make it consistent? That's right, when the Gregorian calendar was adopted, the four countries who adopted it first jumped from October 4 to October 15, 1582. This transfer wasn't adopted across the board, though. As each country adopted the new calendar, they had to skip days to catch up with the rest of the world. When Alaska was purchased from Russia by the US in 1867, they had to jump 11 days, repeating one of the days of the week because the International Date Line was moved. Holy Groundhog Day!

I guess my point is that it's not that big a deal to celebrate a new year for me, because it's really a contrived holiday based on math corrections. That said, I think it's kind of fun to whip out old calendars and post them in my classroom. Kids will start freaking out on Monday at school, wondering why the calendar says 1993. That's because 2010's calendar is identical to 1993's. There's even a cool little website, that can help you determine when your old calendars can be used again. Just hang on to them. The new year is so unexciting that identical years come back pretty often. I think it's more important to celebrate every day instead of picking some arbitrary point in the Earth's trip around the sun to have fun.

Now, I wonder what they'll think of my Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog calendar in 2021 when I can reuse it?

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