Warm greetings to one and all and welcome to my realm of knowledge and interesting, perhaps unknown facts (about our world and beyond).
Well you might want to think as to what made me suddenly jump into this ocean of vast information and swim across the indispensible art to bring out the essence of it. Then here is your pre-anticipated answer:
Just a Monday afternoon, with no nuts to break except for browsing (all right, chatting) I thought of doing something sensible and useful. Thats when I rolled my eyes over my library stand and found a certain set of 5 books, all dusty, untouched for several months (except for cleaning), ignored, pale and poor, staring at me from the corner like a helpless child waiting in the corner to be picked up by someone for labour. Huh! You might have understood the condition of the book! After few minutes of ignorance and reluctance, i finally found myself irresistible and stretched my hand to pull that helpless child for work, at least to go through the pictures in it to kill my boring time.
You might want to know the name of the book as well but please pardon me for holding the name; as they say, if you reveal your secret, it will counter-attack you someday. But i promise to unveil the book’s name at the end of my last share of knowledge from the book.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Meanwhile, half-uninterested, I opened the cover of the book and glanced through the contents in the index and to my surprise i found over 300 questions, that intelligent young mind always ponder and ask, waiting to be answered in the upcoming pages. The book deals with questions from almost all fields, like the world in which we live, its origin and so on and so forth. The index got me dumbstruck and after a long eye-widening reaction, i chose my topic of interest, the one which always fascinated me – Aurora Borealis or The Northern Lights.
It is really astonishing how i couldn’t hold myself from flipping over the pages and reading the other topics as well. Some of the interesting topics that got my hair standing on end are – Discovery of America before Columbus, the concept of and purpose behind having last names, etc.
Now, let me demonstrate a topic that awakened my sleeping mind like with a splash of water. Do you have any idea of how our calendar actually began? Or how the word ‘month’ originated? Or how and why the Gregorian calendar got its name? Ok, At your service to explain the interesting phenomenon. Actually this topic has got much more to do with the crop cultivation.
When men first began to plant seeds and harvest crops, they noticed that the time for planting came at a regular time each year. Then they tried to count how many days came between one planting time and the next. This was man’s first attempt to find out how long a year was!
However, the ancient Egyptians were the first to measure a year with any exactness. They knew the best time to plant was right after the River Nile overflowed each year. (Please pay attention to the upcoming explanation since the second question i.e. the origin of the word ‘month’ is to be answered.) Now, their priests noticed that between each overflowing, the moon rose 12 times. So they counted 12 moonths or months and figured out when the Nile would rise again.
But it still wasn’t exact enough. At last the Egyptian priests noticed that each year, about the time of the flood, a certain bright star would rise just before the sun rose. They counted the days that passed before this happened again and found that it added up to 365 days. But can you believe this was 6000 years ago! And before that no one had ever known that there were 365 days in a year! Interesting, isn’t it? (I wonder how people before the discovery of this fact managed with their festivals!!)
Further, the Egyptians divided this year into 12 months of 30 days each, with 5 extra days at the end of the year. (Imagine if it existed today, we would have 36 days in December!) Thus, they invented the first calendar.
Eventually, the calendar was based not on the moon (lunar calendar) but on the number of days (365 1/4) it takes the earth to go around the sun (solar calendar). (So they already knew that sun is still and the earth revolves! Who then confused the later generation with the earth’s revolution?) The extra quarter of day began to cause more and more confusion. Finally, Julius Caesar decided to straighten it all out. He ordered that the year 46 B.C. should have 445 days to “catch up”, and that every year from then on was to have 365 days, except every fourth year. This fourth year would have a leap year of 366 days to use up the fraction left over in each ordinary year. (How intelligent!)
But as time went on it was discovered that Easter and other holy days were not coming where they belonged in the seasons. Too many “extra” days had piled up. (Now its time that i answer the third question, “Gregorian”, remember?) After all this mess, in the year 1582, Pope Gregory XIII decided to do something about it. He ordered that ten days should be dropped from the year 1582. (Now please go to google and type Gregorian calendar 1582 and check if you can find anything interesting. If so then please share in the comments.) Further to this, to keep the calendar accurate for all future time, he ordered that leap year should be skipped in the last year of every century unless that year could be divided by 400. Thus 1700, 1800, 1900 were not leap years but the year 2000 was a leap year. (Too brainy!)
This system is called the Gregorian calendar and is now used all over the world for everyday purposes, though various religions still use their own calendar for religious purposes.
So cool to know this fact and share with you. Trust me if encyclopedia had not had the existing meaning, i would have declared this book as encyclopedia. Thank you for your patience. Hope to fill you with some more interesting facts.