Over the millennia, humankind has devised many ways of marking the passage of years in the form of different calendars.
There are said to be some 40 calendars which have been used in some part of the world or the other. All of them have been based on the sun-moon relationship, but they vary widely in other respects.
While the Chinese calendar’s monthly cycle, in which each month is assigned the name of an animal such as ‘Dog’ or ‘Horse’, doesn’t trace its origin to a particular person or event, the Christian calendar divides annular ages using the birth of Christ as the watershed event, the suffix BC after a date denoting Before Christ, and the prefix AD standing for Anno Domini, the Year of our Lord.
However, there is not one Christian calendar but two. There is the Gregorian calendar – named after Pope Gregory XIII, which replaced the earlier Julian calendar, named after Julius Caesar and adopted in 46 BC – and is the one in general use today except that the religion-specific BC and AD have been replaced by CE, for Common Era.
That CE is not so common is attested to by the Ethiopian calendar which places the birth of Christ seven years later, making Ethiopians theoretically that many years later than most of the world.
The Islamic calendar’s start date is the Hegira, the Prophet’s journey from Mecca to Medina in 622 CE by the Gregorian calendar.
The Hindu calendar, also called the Panchang or Panchangam, doesn’t take a specific event for its inception, but is based on astronomical and seasonal variations in different parts of the country, and differs from region to region.
Will the coronavirus pandemic, a catastrophic milestone that seems to have changed the world forever, give rise to a new measure of timekeeping, a new calendar?
Will future generations look back in wonder at a time when people didn’t have to wear masks in public, keep a distance between each other, and bump elbows instead of shaking hands in greeting?
Such a calendar might well revert to the BC, AD nomenclature, standing for Before Corona and After Disease.
This article is intended to bring a smile to your face. Any connection to events and characters in real life is coincidental.
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