A New Year | Happy New Year!

Every December, we look forward to another new year

Some celebrate the first day of the new year by sharing resolutions of how to improve something in the coming year. Time carries us forward. Today, we see the time on our phones, wearable devices, clocks, computers and cars. A look back in time proves that humans have marked time in some way since the very beginning.

Sun, Stars and Moon

Light. Dark. Warm. Cold. The sun rises, moves across the sky and disappears. Though humans noticed these changes throughout history, our ancestors had their own ways of charting time to meet their needs and ensure their survival.

6,000 years ago

As far back as 6,000 years ago, humans in the northern hemisphere watched the moon to determine winter’s approach. Its lengthening presence in the sky meant cold weather was approaching. Storing food and gathering animal pelts improved their chances of survival. Noting the time cycles was important.

4,000 years ago

Ancient artifacts suggest early Sumerians used a lunar calendar approximately 4,000 years ago. It is believed that astronomers tracked the day and night cycles according to the moon’s position relative to the Earth. They used a 12-month calendar but unlike our current calendar, each month was made up of 29 or 30 days.

2,500 years ago

The Romans created a 10-month calendar based on a 365-day cycle. Winter months (January and February) weren’t named by the Romans as this period of the year was considered a “dead time” that didn’t need to be noted or observed.

From 10 to 12 Months

In 1582, the Gregorian calendar adopted a 12-month cycle. It retained all of the monthly names from the Roman calendar, but added January and February. Today, the 365-day calendar is observed worldwide.

Why Leap Year?

Earth’s orbit around the Sun is what determines our yearly cycle. Though our calendar is based on 365 days, is isn’t quite accurate. It takes a tiny bit longer for Earth to complete its orbit. A year is close to 365.2425 days on average. To make up the extra .2425, we add an extra day to February every four years. This is called a Leap Year!

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