03
Mar
10

Gregorian Calendar vs. Julian Calendar


The Julian calendar, a reform of the Roman calendar, was introduced by Julius Caesar in 46 BC, and came into force in 45 BC. It has a regular year of 365 days divided into 12 months, and a leap day is added to February every four years. Hence the Julian year is on average 365.25 days long.

The Gregorian calendar is the internationally accepted civil calendar. It was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII, after whom the calendar was named, by a decree signed on 24 February 1582. The reformed calendar was adopted later that year by a handful of countries, with other countries adopting it over the following centuries.

The Gregorian calendar reform contained two parts, a reform of the Julian calendar as used up to Pope Gregory’s time, together with a reform of the lunar cycle used by the Church along with the Julian calendar for calculating dates of Easter. It reduced the number of leap years from 100 to 97 every 400 years, by making 3 out of 4 centurial years common instead of leap years.

The Gregorian calendar modifies the Julian calendar’s regular cycle of leap years, years exactly divisible by four, including all centurial years, as follows:

“Every year that is exactly divisible by four is a leap year, except for years that are exactly divisible by 100; the centurial years that are exactly divisible by 400 are still leap years. For example, the year 1900 is not a leap year; the year 2000 is a leap year.”

The introduction of the Gregorian calendar allowed for realignment with the equinox; however, a number of days had to be dropped when the change was made. For example, Poland, Portugal and Spain adopted the calendar in 1582, by dropping 10 days in October that year, whereas Sweden and Poland had a 30-day February in 1712.

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