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The Surprising and Inspiring History of the World’s Calendars

Minimalist calendar

Minimalist calendar

As we prepare to change our calendars next week to welcome 2016, it’s a good moment to note that December is International Calendar Awareness Month. This yearly event celebrates global ethnic and religious diversity by recognizing the various holidays and special events observed in countries around the world. One way to note this diversity is through the surprisingly varied range of calendars currently in use. Here are just a few of them:

  • The Gregorian Calendar – Also known as the Western Calendar, the Gregorian calendar is widely used in secular form throughout the world today, although it originated within the Catholic church. Named after Pope Gregory XIII, who introduced it in 1582, this update to the Julian calendar was originally meant to bring the date of Easter back a little closer to the time of its original celebration.
  • The Chinese Calendar – In just a few weeks, more than a quarter of the world’s population will be welcoming the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Monkey. It is said that the Chinese calendar has been in place since the 14th century B.C.E. This lunisolar calendar still is observed to determine festival dates in many parts of Asia, while the Gregorian calendar is used for day-to-day purposes.
  • The Hebrew Calendar – In use since Biblical times, the Hebrew or Jewish calendar determines the dates for Jewish holidays and other important ceremonial observations in Judaism. The year number on the Jewish calendar “notes the number of years since creation, calculated by adding up the ages of people in the Bible back to the time of creation.” The New Year, or Rosh Hashanah, is welcomed in the seventh month of Tishri.
  • The Islamic Calendar – The Islamic calendar, or Hijrah, marks the time since the Prophet Muhammad migrated from Makkah to Medinah. It is widely used as an official calendar in many Muslim countries, noting dates of religious significance such as fasting dates as well as the annual Hajj. Depending on the country, the Gregorian calendar is sometimes also used for civil purposes.
  • The Hindu Calendar – Across much of the Indian subcontinent, a variety of Hindu calendars have been in use since the 5th or 6th century. They are sometimes regionally specialized according to the locale, such as Nepal or the Punjab region of India. While each of the Hindu calendars uses the same month name, the month that ushers in a new year can vary depending on the region. The Buddhist calendar, observed in some parts of Asia, is based on an early version of the Hindu calendar.

Looking for a tasteful calendar to get the New Year off to a great start? Check out our holiday gift board on Pinterest for inspiration. And don’t hesitate to reach out to us for advice on any of your promotional projects for 2016. If you have a special idea in mind that might benefit from some creative brainstorming, we’d be happy to share some recommendations. Connect with us on Twitter and Facebook or call us at 877-881-6845 and we’ll be glad to advise you on custom branded promotional products that can represent your brand with style and grace.

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