It’s a New Year – let’s talk calendars!

256px-Hindu_calendar_1871-72

From: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/04/Hindu_calendar_1871-72.jpg

It’s the start of a new year and we got talking about calendars and I had to blog about it!

What does the start of New Year signify? The one thing we tend to overlook because it’s so automatic and therefore mundane, is the start of a new calendar. That’s right, a calendar. With calendars on our phones, computers and digital devices, a paper calendar is a rarity. Some of us still have table top calendars of many varieties.

Calendars have existed for thousands of years. Various civilizations developed their calendars and even morphed them on the basis of new learning. Many of these calendars were based on the cycles of the Moon or the Sun, making them lunar and solar calendar respectively.

The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, and it is tied tight to the phases of the moon.

The Persian calendar is a solar calendar based on the seasonal changes of a year through a year based on the apparent motion of the Sun.

The Hindu calendar is an example of a luni-solar calendar which is based on a combination of both solar and lunar changes.

Interestingly, some of the ancient Egyptian calendars were based on the movement of Venus.

All this goes to show that human have been grappling with measuring and keeping track of time via a variety of calendars which use other planetary bodies.

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