We have been contemplating the past, the present and the future in preparation for our year end report – something that is difficult to do without reference to a calendar. The purpose of the calendar is to reckon past or future time; to show how many days until a certain event – e.g. a religious festival, the date of the next Fed meeting or the opening match of the FIFA World Cup in Brazil - or to calculate how long since something important happened. Most of the oldest calendars were founded on the time interval from one new moon to the next; others were based on certain weather events; for example, the end of winter or - in the case of ancient Egypt - the rainy season and the annual flooding of the river Nile. Julius Caesar introduced January 1st as the start of the year in 45BC - however, in the centuries that followed, the church did not like the wild parties that took place (sound familiar?) and argued it was an ancient mistake and should be abolished. Through the Middle Ages various New Year dates were used and it was not until well into the 18th century that the calendar we use today was uniformly adopted across Europe.
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