You may think that this message of Christmas cheer has come a little late, but actually it is just at the right time because it is 250 years since the British Government abandoned the Julian Calendar in favour of the Gregorian Calendar.
Up until 1753, the calendar we used in Britain was the Julian Calendar. It was based on the solar year, the time it takes for the Earth to rotate around the Sun, and thus was less accurate than the Gregorian Calendar. The Julian Calendar was 365.25 days long, which was fractionally too long, and the calendar over time fell out of line with the seasons.
In 1752 Britain decided to correct this by abandoning the Julian calendar in favour of the Gregorian.
By doing so, 3 September instantly became 14 September – and as a result, nothing whatsoever happened in British history between 3 and 13 September 1752.
Many people thought that the government had stolen eleven days of their lives. They protested in the streets, demanding “Give us back our 11 days!”, and all that long before the dumbing down of the press.
It does make you think though, how would today’s media have handled the story?
Massive social unrest predicted as the year is cut by 3%
A massive catastrophe is predicted as the Government abolishes seven days from the British year at a single stroke. Millions of British subjects will see their year reduce by 3% from 365.5 days to 354.0 days in 1753. The eleven days will all be cut in September, “It’s the end of the year as we know it.” said the spirit of the new year, Father Time.
For September, this means huge, rapid, painful cuts. Not “salami-sliced” efficiencies but the axing of nearly an entire month. For some of the poorest citizens this means a real terms pay cut of 11 days, and could lead to massive starvation.
The Whig Prime Minister, Mr Henry Pelham stated that “The year has become too long and is creating a massive burden on our seasons. This cut is essential if we are to bring the year back in line. I appreciate that this is hard, but we are all in this together and together we will see it through. This is a one off cut, this year only and will not be carried forward into future years as we have now devised a system of balances that enable us to adjust the year every year. We have thereby abolished the seasonal fluctuations.”