back to article Today is not New Year's Eve - or the end of the decade

El Reg would like to apologise to all its readers for the recent spate of ill-timed end of the decade articles, which it, along with the rest of the media have been tacking on to the close of 2009. In fact, the end of the first decade of the 21st century does not take place until the year 2010. Or 2004 if a more accurate …


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  1. Hugh G. Rection

    When I was at school

    a century year was a leap year when it was divisible by 400.

    1. Steve Evans

      (why does a reply need a title?)

      That's correct. Isn't that what he said?

      year divisible by 4 = leap year

      Unless it's divisible by 100 = not leap year

      Unless it's divisible by 400 = leap year.

  2. Pooka


    That lunchtime pint was a bad idea...

    My brain hurts, and I don't know what day it is today any more!

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Any excuse

    Who cares? any excuse for celebrating by drinking too much gets my vote. Beer icon for obvious reasons.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    First Y2K

    And now this...

    I thought I was off the hook until 2038.

    I'm not changing any more archaic date related code until then!

  5. Ross 7

    Forget dates...

    Don't bother faffing with dates on the grounds be don't all work on the land anymore - life would be far simpler for us Brits if they dumped that BST nonsense.

    As to the birth of JC - the Romans were notorious record keepers, he was supposedly born during or around the time of a large census in the Palestine region, so it shouldn't be too much trouble for a historian to pick a year?

    Happy New Year :oP

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Forget dates...

      It isn't - the census was in 6AD, Herod died in 4BC.

      Only one gospel mentions the census, only one mentions Herod (stable/wise men etc).

      It's just that it's more fun for the little kids to dress up as sheperds at christmas than have them play at being Roman civil servants - so the Herod story wins.

      1. John Angelico

        Second census or first?

        Dear YAAC,

        You appear to have missed the important point in Luke 2:2 "This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria."

        So 4-6BC is still the most reasonable estimate we can make given the historical data available.

  6. David Adams

    Please let it be the end of the decade!

    This one has been really, really shit.

  7. Neil Wilson

    Why go backward when you could go forwards?

    Not quite sure why you'd want to revert to the Julian Calendar given that it is inaccurate according to the Solar Year. If you're doing that you may as well go Lunar, which would mean that Easter stays still and Christmas moves. At least that would be a change.

    Instead we should be championing the Herschel amendment to the Gregorian Calendar to exempt the year 4000 from being a leap year - making it an even better approximation of the solar year. Of course it won't affect us, but it would mean that the calendar will be named after a scientist rather than a theologian.

    And that can only be a good thing.

  8. Ben Tasker

    Makes sense but

    I'm not entirely sure why I read the whole article??

    As tempting as it might be to explain that later, I doubt I'll be able to recall it accurately!

  9. OmniCitadel

    For the love of all that isn't holy

    Can't we keep it simple... Is it not easier to celebrate the "Decade" meaning 10 years every time the tens digit is changed, and respectively so the hundreds, thousands, etc? lets face it we don't even know for a fact if Jesus even truly existed, and every one who has ever attempted to prove ANY thing that happened in the bible as being fact has been stacked against with a mountain of refuting evidence... So here is how I see it... We don't know the exact date the earth was created, thus we need some point... We use the supposed birth (or death or some other fictitious date in the middle) of Jesus as a starting point... So assume that the previous year as year 0 and call it a bloody day! (or year if you are so pleased).

    1. copsewood

      conspiracy theories

      "we don't even know for a fact if Jesus even truly existed"

      Was that a tin foil hat you were wearing to shield the mind control rays ? I haven't been to America, but I tend to believe that the existence of America isn't a conspiracy because I have reasons to trust those who have been there and who claim to live there. The fact that scientific proof applies to nothing recorded by history doesn't mean the very many who recorded and preserved it are all conspiring against the facts.

      Some history within the Bible also ties in extensively with non-Biblical history of the same period, including the Gospels with what Roman historians of the period wrote as well as with current archaelogy, while some Biblical accounts including the Parables and the Book of Job don't tie in with other history - for the somewhat obvious reason that these are presented within the Bible as works of fiction.

      So before making sweeping statements like the one above which puts you firmly into the flat earthers and moon landing deniers camp, if you don't want others reasonably to consider you to be either nuts or thick, then you might want to do yourself the favour of studying and thinking a bit more carefully about the subject.

      1. OrsonX

        tin foil hats at the ready

        thereby QED he was the Son of God and all of your counter arguments are false.

        I herby claim that I am the 2nd son of God and that it is the 1st of January 2010...

        Now in 2000 yrs time when somebody digs up the El Reg hard drive and, lo, do discover that the date of my proclamation matches the actual date and that furthermore America does exist then I must indeed by the Son of God 2 and must have existed.

        [although of course I do exist]

  10. DonnieD

    Change you religion :)

    Well, Christian Orthodox Church (well, most of them) are still using Julian calendar, so I'm having Christmas on 7th Jan. I'll drink to that occasion, again....And we also have a New year on 1 Jan, which to other people it would be 13 Jan, so I'm having a dress rehearsal for that occasion tonight....


    Life is not to bad, Christmas comes twice a year

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Of course...

    ...anyone of thoughtful demeanor, seeking - as I do - to avoid confusion, bases their personal calendar upon the year in which it is generally agreed that disco died.

    May I be the first to wish you all a happy year 12PH (Post Hustle).


  12. Anonymous Coward

    Of course it isn't

    It's Auld Year's Nicht woo-hoo!

  13. Neal 5

    see, that's what smoking does to you

    According to this theory, I've lost 6 years of my life, I can only put that down to smoking and alcohol, unfortunately, my wife doesn't allow me to circulate in circles that have loose women as well.(which is fortunate because at that rate, I'd be dead by now), OR is this the afterlife, and I am actually serving time in purgatory already.

  14. Kikki D
    Thumb Up


    So many pub quiz questions in there ..... thanks =P

  15. Paul 4


    Thats assuming that the date of his death is correct. Some put it as late as 1BC, or as early as 8BC.

  16. Platelet
    Thumb Down

    don't care

    it's the end of a decade though. It's ten years since this bolloxs was last trotted out

  17. Anonymous Coward

    So what about the 2012 apocalypse?

    When is that happening?

    Inquiring minds and such...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      The end of the World took place Tuesday just before tea time. You might have missed it because frankly, it was a bit of a cock-up. The third of the seas turning to blood was cancelled since the organising committee couldn't agree on whether calling it 'the Sea of Japan' was politically correct in this day and age; the Antichrist cried off saying that with Simon Cowell still alive all of his work was done; and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are still mired in a particularly malevolent contraflow just outside of Basingstoke (twinned with the Infernal Pit since 4004BC).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        I'll need a full risk assessment before you can hold any kind of apocalypse round here.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: So what about the 2012 apocalypse?

      >"When is that happening?"

      Never, just like it was anyway!

  18. Al Jones
    IT Angle

    Who said anything about the "end of the first decade of the 21st century"?

    The 80s ended on December 31st 1989. The 90s ended on December 31st 1999.

    The 00s end on December 31st 2009.

    That's today.

  19. Red Bren
    Paris Hilton

    That's all very well...

    But what's the stardate? Alternatively, is there a standard El Reg datestamp we can use, based on the birth of some notable IT legend? I reckon it's 12/11/28APH

    1. Daniel B.

      Hell yeah!

      It is bad enough for the Julian/Gregorian calendar to omit a year 0, but to have numpties claiming that decades follow the same retarded rules? Geeze!

      I follow my dates by the ISO standard, which means I assume a year zero, so do the astronomers, and so should you! :)

    2. Steve Medway

      Here's a good El Reg timestamp:-

      The time at third stroke will be 1262304000 precisely.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Time is relative,..

    lunchtime doubly so!

    1. mmiied


      time is an ILLISION

      lucnh time duobbley so

  21. Anonymous Coward

    look forward to Christmas again in a week’s time!

    Are you kidding? After the one I've just had, I'm not even looking forward to *next* year's one...!

  22. Dale 3


    We were bored with this pointless debate nine years ago. We are still bored.

  23. Richard Porter

    Jesus wept.

    "Modern experts prefer 7BC, or thereabouts, as Jesus’ birth day – which means that today is actually 18 December 2015."

    Well I'll be happy to put the left-over turkey on hold for seven days, but do we know the exact date of Jesus's birthday. Didn't the early Christians just hi-jack an existing pagan midwinter festival?

    Anyway we should rationalise the whole calendar so that year 1 starts with the big bang!

    The haggis gets it tonight, come what may!

  24. Mike Hunt 1

    So its supposed to be 2015.....

    That means I retired three years ago and therefore have been working for these muppets for the fun of it since then. Dammit!!! Also it means that the Prince (or whatever his name is these days) was off by a few years, and come to think of it, so was the Millenium bug !!

    Happy New Year (or not) as the case may be ;-)

  25. Anonymous Coward

    As any fule kno

    On any Linux or Unix machine (including a mac) type

    cal 1752

    And take a close look at September. Notice anything missing?

    The calendar has been such a mess in so many places for so long that you're on a hiding to nothing if you're using dates to calculate, well, anything. And don't get me started on Sweden, if you want a good laugh go to and look for the bit about Sweden adopting the Gregorian calander.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      This fule didn't know that

      Thanks for that. Everyone chez moi has now had a good laugh at Sweden's expense.

  26. Marvin the Martian

    What a useful article

    A neatly rewritten wikipedia entry (don't ask me why you expect us to come here instead of there if we'd like to know about this stuff). I suppose El Reg's mandatory wiki bashing policy forbids you from the politeness of putting this text on their page with copypasta?

  27. steward

    OS and NS

    That would also eliminate the problems with AD and BC, which in more politically correct fora are termed CE and BCE.

  28. blackworx


    The perfect excuse to disappear on a 2,177-night binge while the rest of the world (including the missus and my pay-cheque) catches up.

    And don't try to pick holes - my logic is unassailable.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    I just read back through the comments and there are a hell of a lot of serious responses. Oops it would appear I have now inadvertently added to them.

    Quick, think of something... Ahhh good old Paris.

  30. Uk_Gadget

    It Is....

    It Is Thursday though, isnt it?

  31. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Standardise on ddate

    Today is Setting Orange, the 73rd day of The Aftermath in the YOLD 3175.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Not important

    To me, the decade changes when the ten's place changes. Anything else is trivial gibberish.

  33. Ian Ferguson

    Completely wrong

    Why are we still using a calendar tied to the vague birth date of a long-dead possibly-ficticious prophet, anyway?

    I propose we set year zero to a definitive, SCIENCE based date. Unless somebody knows the exact date of some significant event (discovery of fire? creation of wheel?), tomorrow will do - and so a few hours ago at the international date line, it would be 00:00:00 1/1/0.

    Any date before that can be measured in negative figures, eg. I was born in -30.

  34. PunkTiger

    Decade twaddle

    As far as I'm concerned, as soon as the tens digit in the year changes, it becomes a new decade. I don't give a leaping G-d damn about the Year One/Year Zero people.

    Happy New DECADE, El Reg!

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: New year

    Given that the year for tax starts April 6th and for schools starts September the1st (or thereabouts) and the various sporting "seasons" all have different timings it seems a bit silly to claim that the day when the year number changes is not the new year. Even sillier than El Reg has become of late.

    Sure it may not be the "new legal year" in the same way that tomorrow is the same tax year as today (and the same school year) but the clue is in the question: year 2009 changes to year 2010 - it is not that fucking difficult.

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      New tax year...

      Ah, but the pay I will receive in four days for the work I did in December will not be counted in my current tax year. The period in France is Jan 1 - Dec 31.

      FWIW, I am considering this the new decade too. The tens digit has changed. Okay, we start with a "zero" year, but it makes more sense to peg it to the number that changes every ten than otherwise.

      And if you disagree, fine, but just remember the "noughties" (yuck, horrible term) have been a disaster in so many ways. Do you REALLY want another year of it?

  36. Christoph

    Use a proper calendar

    Why use a calendar that changes round every year, with the dates and the day of the week running on different cycles? It's time we switched to Shire Reckoning.

  37. Eddy Ito
    Big Brother


    All of this time business is arbitrary claptrap shoved down our throat by "the man" in a grand Pavlovian experiment. The next thing you know he'll be pulling our strings to trick us into getting up an hour earlier to "save daylight" during a time of year when the bloody sun is only down for a few hours! Another tug and we sleep in so our commute both ways is in the dark, phantoms of the night we'll be! Screw this, tomorrow is the 11th of Unember and the decade ended a week ago at 8:64 on the 37th of Decuary.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    nobody cares, as the article indicates, 2009 > 2010 == new decade (in the west - non orthadox) unless you're a pain in the arse, in the gregorian calander. Jesus may or may not have been born and it really doesn't matter, it's a date and that's all.

    At the end of the day does it even matter? Seriously? It's just another day in the calander and next year will be just as normal as last year, we'll be equally likely to have all the shit that may have happend last year happen to us (bar being a criminal which is more likely as we gain new magical laws that create magical mystical criminals to add to the sex offenders register where they didn't exist before.)

    1. Anonymous Coward

      boolean fail

      # nobody cares, as the article indicates, 2009 > 2010 == new decade

      Surely if 2009 > 2010 then as a programmer I have bigger problems to deal with than when on earth the decade changes.

      P.s. its changed live with it.

  39. Jonathan Richards 1

    Tsk tsk

    Dear Mr Ozimek

    I distinctly remember Bee Who Must Be Obeyed explicitly and forcefully forbidding this sort of reasoning. Pope Schmope. It's the end of the decade, because the Moderatrix says so.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      In Germany there's a law for it

      IIRC 1st January 1900 was enshrined in law as the first day of the 20th century, secularising and defining the calendar. Now, if only we could sort Easter out!

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I feel dizzy...

    Geez... I thought that all of this mercurial thought process had finished at the turn of the millennium. At that time, it was made clear that you could celebrate the year 2000 if you like, but the 3rd millennium (or 21st century) didn't start until January 1, 2001.

    Never pass up an opportunity to gaze upon a pretty girl or hoist a hearty draft. Happy New Year!

  41. Apocalypse Later


    ... I just went out for fags and the shops were already shut.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    British Summer Date

    Next June the calendar will go forwards two days, making Saturday fall on Thursday and Sunday fall on Friday. This will eliminate rainy weekends.

  43. Seven_Spades

    A vote for JC

    I remember my wedding as though it was yesterday, I wish it was tomorrow I'd cancel it.

    Another vote for JC.

  44. Alan Esworthy


    I wonder why, seeing that people start counting with 1 and computers start with 0, people tend to focus on decade and century boundaries as though they were computer-determined? Just a thought; I have no explanation.

    There can be no perfect calendar. The underlying problem is that humans live a cycle based on days and there are never the same number of days in a year. You can get close, but astrophysical variation being what it is, there's just a bit of fuzz in the days per year calculation.

    I do wish we could agree on something constant-ish but I despair of that ever coming to pass.

    And don't get me started on Daylight Saving Time insanity.

    I think I'll have a glass of lager now.

    1. Keith Oldham

      Re : pointless

      Humans do not start counting from one !

      How old is a newborn baby ? ( unless you are Chinese - I think )

      If you have 1/2 a loaf where does that fit ?

      Halfway through the year ?

      INTEGER counting appears to start from one but really just ignores the zero state for convenience ... I have no apples .... I have 1 apple....

  45. John Savard

    Decades Have Their Own Rules

    The 21st Century began on January 1st, 2001, since the first century A.D. began with the year 1, as the article noted.

    However, you never hear people talking about the 197th Decade. It's always the 'sixties. So that does include the years from 1960 to 1969 inclusive.

    And, of course, while it may be amusing to note that we could estimate the date of the birth of Christ more accurately these days, I think we shall continue to celebrate New Years in accordance with the calendar we are actually using, rather than alternate calendars we might be using.

  46. GrahamT


    Tonight we get drunk,

    The calendar steps on one;

    Winter carries on.


    Julius was wrong,

    Gregory not much better;

    The seasons don't care.

  47. Andus McCoatover

    Daft. Calculating calendars.

    I just looked out of the window, and if it's wet and miserable, I'd have phoned the boss at home and "thrown a sickie".

    Embarrassing if I was so hungover I hadn't realised it was a Sunday, natch...

    I'd prefer changing 'AD to 'AB' - After Brian meself.

  48. Anonymous Coward

    40 Years!

    It most certainly is the end of the decade. It's forty years since the epoch!

    Happy New Year!

  49. Captain DaFt

    This one's always bugged me...

    The current calendar nominally started with the birth of Christ, so why does the start of the new year lag so many days AFTER the date we accept as his birthday?

    I mean if the new calendar started with his birth, shouldn't the new year start on December twenty fifth?

    (OK, OK, so when the Church took over Rome and disposed the old Gods, they just slipped Christmas day into the slot formerly held by the Saturnalia, but still... )

    1. Andus McCoatover

      The current calendar nominally started with the birth of Christ

      Yep, puzzling. How, then is Unix time determined? First 'conceived', first implementation or based on the calendar (1. Jan 1970) - which is also based on, er - the birth of Jesus? House of cards.

      Got me thinking...OK, somewhat off-topic, but..

      In some countries (UK, US) a legal decision by a prior legal court is often quoted as the basis for the case being considered at present. As in the imaginary case of "Crown vs. Dogbreath*, it was concluded...etc."

      Isn't this like a 'house of cards'? If a previous case is successfully appealed against, what happens to the ones above it?

      * I wanted to use "Mr. M.P.Duckhouse esq", but I think I've worn that one out already.

  50. ChessGeek

    Of course...

    On most things, when a dial flips over to 2010, it means that the 2010th WHATEVER is completed. When a calendar flips over to 2010, it means that the 2010th YEAR is just beginning. Therefore, January 1 2010 is the first day of the last year of the decade.

    In terms that automobile-odometer-obsessed types can understand, it will be 2009.1 and only after it gets to 2009.364 will it finally be 2010. THEN it will be the end of the decade.

  51. NogginTheNog


    Think we need to start the compaign to adopt stardates (then again I BET there's one going already somewhere...)!

  52. Anonymous Coward

    yeh right

    I defy anyone to prove that there wasn't a year 0. I've no idea where this stupid notion comes from, yet it just seems to be taken as fact. Given our history is so vague around this time, I'm fairly certain we can't prove it one way or the other.

    Let's face it even assuming that we did start the calendar from Jesus' birthday (I'm atheist), would he start at one years old? NO!

    No one in their right mind would have started a calendar from one. They'd start from month one maybe, but not one year.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: yeah right

      "I defy anyone to prove that there wasn't a year 0."

      Oh *that's* easy. As noted, en passant, in the article, the practice of numbering years "AD" was only devised in what we call the sixth century, so not only was there no year 1, there wasn't a year 500 either. The whole of the first half millenium was an act of hindsight. Since the notion of zero hadn't been invented, he tried (and as the article notes, almost certainly failed) to fiddle it so that Jesus was born at the start of Year 1. Lacking the notion of negative numbers, he then compounded his sins by inventing a separate calendar ("BC") that would run backwards so that earlier dates came out positive.

      The interesting question is "given that we started in the year "500 and something", when is the most sensible moment to declare as the Epoch for the AD calendar. A date miscalculated by an innumerate to fall many centuries before a reliable historical record (for most of the world) doesn't really cut it. A more sensible approach, and the one currently followed by anyone interested in dating anything, is to take a known point in history *after* the invention of atomic clocks and simply work backwards using the rules of arithmetic. (The year before 1 was 0 and the year before that was -1.)

      Having solved *that* problem, your next problem (as the article notes) is to fudge your way around the awkward fact that there aren't a whole number of days in a year.

      Having solved *that* problem, you only remaining obstacle is to reconcile your new calendar with the various "in the Nth year of King Fred" devices used in official chronicles until fairly recently.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      First Year

      When I started secondary school, I spent the first year in what was called "first year". It was not called "year zero".

      For a long time, it worked the same way with years generally.

      Often, time would be counted in terms of monarchs' reigns. So, you'd get stuff like the fourth year of King David's reign, the seventh year of King Herod's reign, and so on. When a new monarch took the throne, their first year would simply be called the first year of their reign, not year zero.

      Zero as an accepted number is also relatively recent compared with other natural numbers. That's another reason why it would have been very unlikely to start with year zero all that time ago.

      So, the Christian calendar starts with the first year of the Christian Lord, Jesus, or AD 1 for short.

  53. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Who is this jesus feller?

    and why do we bother when he might have been sprung from his mums (non virginal) loins?

  54. 7


    All pedantry aside, this is when my mother-in-law comes to visit, so it is a time for much imbibing, however historically and/or astronomically mistimed. Don't try to stop me.

  55. Hate2Register
    Dead Vulture

    El Reg dies at Xmas.

    Very much enjoyed fast-forwarding through this article. Managed to skip all the comments too. I hope you had a good holiday, and that soon we will all agree on what day it is.


  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'll take...

    ... a calendar that matches the year accurately. While at it, move the solstices and equinoxes to sensible dates, renumber the months to be a bit less jumbled (why 6x31, 4x30 and 1x28 OR 29 days?)

    Also a calendar that is less presumptuous. Anno Domini is pretty clear in its christian origin, so that's fine, but why assume that is also "the common era"? How was the period before that (as of yet, a much longer period) somehow "not common"? Please drop CE/BCE and just call the thing by its christian name, being a christian invention and all that.

    1. Jonathan Richards 1


      > why 6x31, 4x30 and 1x28 ?

      [that only adds up to eleven months - I think there are seven with 31 days]

      If I remember correctly, the Romans had calendar months that alternated 31 and 30 days (except for the last month, i.e. February, for more on which RTFA). Then Julius Caesar had the fifth month renamed after himself (July, geddit?) and when Augustus wanted the same props he couldn't settle for one that was a whole day (3.3%) *shorter*, so they made August have 31 days, too.

      Megalomaniacs - I wonder whether it ran in the genes, or whether getting a lifetime job where the retirement package includes being made a god is the root cause.

      Happy New Decade

  57. whydoineedabloodyhandle


    You see a lot of idiocy about date end points. 'A' decade is any period of time that is ten years long, irrespective of when it starts. 'The' decade is whichever 10 year period the speaker thinks is significant. For most people, the last decade was the one where all the years started with 200. End of story.

    Arguments about what they called the first decade fall down on the fact that at that time the calendar we use was not in use. Arguments about Jesus' birth fall down on the fact that he was supposedly born in 4BC, although that's based on some pretty long assumptions. Other arguments fall over in other ways.

  58. Stephen Channell

    In Britain, we don’t use the Gregorian Calendar

    Minor point, but Britain did not adopt the Gregorian Calendar.. the Imperial Calendar followed the same leap-year mathematics as the Gregorian Calendar synchronising Christmas & Sundays with Europe, but does not use Gregory’s formula for the date of Easter (which follows a lunar calendar).. instead leaving it to parliament.

    It’s been so long since Parliament chose a different easter.. so we’re functionally Gregorian, but not literally.. bit like the Church of England..

  59. jon 77

    ChessGeek almost right...

    It is not 'year 2010' but 'the 2010th year'... As in '1st year of our lord' 1 AD... there is no 'zero AD' - It is the 1st year Before Christ...

    As to today is 2 Jan it is the 2nd day of the 2010th year... you can go on being pedantic, but it will just bore people and lose friends, saying you are 30 years, 3 months, 4 days old, instead of just 30...

  60. Anonymous Coward

    My favourite fictional character

    I distinctly remember learning in school that the stories in the bible (well, the non-magical parts anyhow) are probably based on multiple people, just amalgamated as one person called "Jesus" for convenience (which was the equivalent of John Smith). This was in Germany so maybe they teach other things in other countries, but it seems to make sense to me as the new testament was written what, about 200 years after the supposed events?

    Unless there's some Roman audit trail of executing someone matching the exact description at the right time (which I highly doubt, but someone can feel free to correct me), in which case you can subtract 35 years from that to get the birth date, the whole thing is pretty much fictional anyhow, and definitely should have no formal place in a secularized society's calendar at any rate.

    Is the "he was probably born aroud 7bc" based on assuming that the bible is an accurate historical document and not the ancient equivalent of Harry Potter or are there other collaborating sources? I'd love to know how anybody can come up with that.

    Anonymous, as there are probably people who would lynch me for that :)

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Still not so simple

    25th of march until 1752?

    1st of January 1600 was the new year up North.

    Must have been a bit confusing for the King, sitting on his throne in London Town, receiving a letter from Edinburgh.

    "My Lord you have received a letter from the plebs in your other kingdom, it seems they don't know what year it is."

    "In thon year of oor laird, Sixteen Hunner, Tae thon King o' Scots, Jaimie, far wir ye fair oor hogmany pish up? We hid a hoot. Yirs Bredalbane"

    1. Andy J

      Less 'not so simple' than you think

      "1st of January 1600 was the new year up North.

      Must have been a bit confusing for the King, sitting on his throne in London Town, receiving a letter from Edinburgh.

      My Lord you have received a letter from the plebs in your other kingdom, it seems they don't know what year it is."

      Well in1600 the person sitting on the throne in London was actually a Queen (Elizabeth I). And of course Scotland wasn't 'her other kingdom'. It wasn't until 24 March 1603 (conveniently one day before the end on the year in England) that King James became king of both Scotland and England. As he had been king of Sotland for 36 years before he came to the English throne, he would have understood the strange Caledonian practices. And since he was James i in England and James VI in Scotland I don't think a little mental arithmetic when it came to dates was going to worry him,

  62. Anthony Eeles

    Hold on a minute...

    "today is actually 18 December 2015."

    So where's my damn hoverboard...?

  63. ShaggyDoggy

    0 BC

    1 BC was not followed by 1 AD

    It was followed by 0 BC, then 0 AD then 1 AD

    366 days BC was the last day of 1 BC since after that there would not be a full year BC.

    0 BC ran from 365 days BC to the actual birth day.

    Then 0 AD ran from then until 365 days AD after which it became 1 AD since it could not be 1 AD until an actual year had elapsed.

    (I'm ignoring leap year possibilities here)

    So it's worse than you think, there was not no year zero, there were TWO of them !!

  64. ShaggyDoggy

    @ Steve Evans

    missed a bit off ...

    Unless it's a millennium year in which case it isn't a leap year

    (which went tits-up in 2000 which was classed as a leap year and should not have been)

  65. Nick Ryan Silver badge

    Jesus' birthday?

    Jesus Christ (the saviour or the prophet, depending on your leanings) was never born in December. This was just a hijacking of the much more fun and pertinent (for an agrarian nation) celebration of winter solstice. Read the story... lambs ain't born in December, not even in the middle east.

    So apart from the wrong year, the day is wrong as wrell. Now PLEASE can we bring back the true meaning of the holiday now celebrated as Christmas?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      lambs ain't born in December? ....

      Damn! So all those winter days/nights in my youth helping Dad with the newborn lambs, freezing my ass, weren't in December. Could'a fooled me.

      I'm pretty sure that we had bummer lambs in a small crate on the utility/porch room, under a heat lamp, next to bags of moss and evergreen boughs used to build the Nativity set for our not-so-pagan Solstice celebration. They were under a heat lamp because it was cold! (Granted, it was over 30 years ago, but I don't think my grey matter's it that far gone ... )

      This is in the Pacific NW of the USA, so when is lambing season in your area of the world?

  66. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

    Captain's Log

    What's all this in stardates?

    Enquiring trekkies would like to know.

  67. Eddie Edwards


    So "the sixties" was 1961-1970? I don't think so.

    This pedantry was amusing round 2000/2001 but do we need it every decade too?

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The decade started at 2000 and finished 10 years later the end of 2009. If we started counting from AD1 then AD0 was simply the year before! It's hardly like the Earth was created at AD1.

  69. mmiied

    my 2 pence (british calender)

    we should start a new calender with 13 mounths of 28 days each and 7 days ion a week (keep that bit for convinince) so the mouths allways start on the same day of a week and pepols birthdays and dated public holidays are on the same day (see next paragraph for expections)

    When we need a leap year (when ever we need one) it gose on the end of the year and counts as a week day but not as a mounth day and is a extra public holiday and then shifts the whole week along one so evert 4 years (aprox) the day the mounth starts on shifts1 day

    I comend this statment to the forum

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    don't encourage

    ..the joyless pedants. Let them argue about B roads or goalkeepers, or whatever the hell instead.

  71. GrantK
    Black Helicopters

    So many opinions....

    Ever considered that all these different opinions was why the Pope needed to decree in the first place...

    Black ops helicopter as this article is obviously a conspiracy to stop us doing any meaningful work today.

  72. Sachin


    Stop This World !!!! I want to get off........

  73. Sir Runcible Spoon

    There is no AD0

    I hate being pedantic :) especially when it's about something that is inheritantly ambigious, BUT..

    There is no AD0.

    AD1 is the whole of the first year after JC was supposedly born.

    AD-1 is the whole of the first year before JC was supposedly born.

    You could always argue that AD0 is a moment in time (the moment of birth) but you've got as much chance of convincing people of that as you have smuggling peanuts in a wet t-shirt competition.

    Oh, and there is no spoon either so it's all bunkum.

  74. TeeCee Gold badge

    Ok smartarse.

    Since the Mayan Calendar ends in 2012 and, as any fule kno, the end of the Mayan Calendar means the end of the world*, only two questions now need to be answered.

    In exactly which calendar is that 2012 in and is it a Monday?

    I now have a headache and I'll be sending a bill for the aspirin.

    *Personally I reckon that any civilisation that builds a 1000 odd years of contingency** into its calendar is doing quite well and anyone looking back at it and taking the end seriously needs their bumps felt.

    **I once worked in a place that had a bespoke timesheet system that needed its calendar populated every couple of years. We'd always forget and the calendar would end unexpectedly*** until someone fixed it. Oddly enough, the world's still here though......

    ***Usually on a Monday.

  75. Jimbo 6

    Do we have to go through this argument AGAIN ?

    I remember some people arguing 10 years ago that the new millennium didn't start until 2001, however they were all French people, so the rest of the world sensibly ignored them.

    As others have noted above, this would mean that 1980 was part of the Seventies, which is obviously cobblers.

    One li'l factoid that no-one else has mentioned here though, is that March 25th was the end of the *Saxon* calendar year. By the time Pope Greg did his thing, the discrepancy in the Julian calendar had shifted it to April 5th, which is why the UK tax year still ends on that day.

  76. mhenriday

    Even in so scientifically laggard a place as Western Europe

    the integer zero has been known since the 12th century ; why should be confine ourselves to the natural numbers when denominating years ? To say that «[t]he year 1 BC was followed immediately afterward by 1 AD» is absurd ; nobody called these two years by these terms at the time ! And all discussion about just which year it was that «Jesus» was born is pointless ; while it makes sense to say that a certain event happened in the 2nd year of the 10th Olympiad or at the 15th year of Augustus' reign ; to argue about just when a mythical event took place makes no sense. The last decade ran from 2000-01-01 to 2009-12-31 ; we have now entered a new one, which we may hope will be better in many ways, including the mathematical knowledge of writers in the journal Science....


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      We're not arguing about "when a mythical event took place": whether you believe he was the son of God or not, the vast majority of historians agree that Jesus existed, and was therefore at some point born. Although I agree that arguing about when exactly it happened isn't very useful. We've set a start date and I think we just have to live with it.

      As an aside, I believe all decades to run from the 5 to the 4. For example, the 80's ran from 1985 to 1994, and the 90's only finished in 2004. Just look at the fashion trends. People were wearing stuff in 1982 you wouldn't dare suggest was 80's fashion. The Spice Girls didn't make it big until 1996, and surely they are definitive of 90s music. The "Summer of Love" wasn't until 1967, and that's considered the epicentre of Hippie culture. So I say the decade will end in 2014.

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