Holocene Calendar

12017The calendar we all use today is the Gregorian calendar, which was introduced in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII. His main goal was to fix the problem of the drifting equinoxes—particularly the north vernal equinox, which helps set the date for Easter. The Julian calendar, which had been in use since 45 BC, added a leap day every four years, but the Gregorian calendar went two steps further, by skipping the leap day every century, except in years that are divisible by 400.

Thus the Gregorian calendar has kept pace with the change of the seasons since 1582, while the Julian calendar, which gains about three years every four centuries, is now 13 days behind.

The Gregorian is not perfect, but it certainly seems good enough.

Yet a small group of people think they have a better calendar, and that’s the Holocene calendar.

Why change?

Reason one: the Gregorian calendar starts counting at the birth of Jesus (or as near as can be determined), and that’s not a universally relevant event, as evidenced by the fact that adoption was slow beyond the Catholic countries of Europe. The last two countries to adopt the Gregorian calendar were Greece (1923) and Turkey (1926).

Reason two: The Gregorian calendar counts up as it moves farther back into BC territory, making calculation of the time between AD and BC dates difficult.

The Holocene calendar starts roughly 10,000 years before the birth of Jesus, at roughly the beginning of the Neolithic Revolution, when humans transitioned from hunter-gatherers to farmers—a roughly universal event. Thus, to convert from the Gregorian calendar to the Holocene calendar (for AD dates), one need merely add 10,000—or add one digit to the front of the year.

The current year, therefore, is 12,017 in the Holocene calendar.

So what are the chances of this calendar being adopted?

They look small today, but every movement starts small. And at bottom, this one makes sense—and could improve understanding among global cultures.

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