Thursday, October 27, 2005

For the insatiably curious (birthday calculator)

Put a birth date into birthday calculator and you'll find out a whole bunch of things about that day, including:
  • what day of week that was
  • your astrological sign
  • The golden number for year of birth
  • Your age in years, months, weeks, day, hours.... ( and dog years )
  • The number of days til next birthday
It also gives your birthdate according to the old Julian calendar and an epact number (the difference between the Gregorian calendar -- the one we now use -- and the lunar calendar). [See bottom of this post for an aside on adoption of the Gregorian calendar.]

And of course your birth stone and birth tree (birth tree?)

I'd never heard of birth tree. According to the Gardening Eden site, those of us born between April 11 and 20 are assigned to the maple tree. It says I have independence of mind and am no ordinary person, full of imagination and originality, shy and reserved, ambitious, proud, self-confident, hunger for new experiences, sometimes nervous, have many complexities, good memory, learn easily, complicated love life, want to impress. This site also lists birthday trees, with same text.


The Wikipedia article on the Gregorian calendar gives the history of its adoption around the world. Although the old Julian calendar put the commencement of the seasons off by 10 days (and, more crucially, put Easter at the wrong time as well), many countries would not implement the new calendar because it was promulgated by (and named after) the Pope. Take, for example, England. As the Wikipedia article explains:
Very few countries implemented the new calendar on [the official start date of] 15 October 1582 — only Italy, Poland, Spain and Portugal. Non-Catholic countries objected to adopting a Catholic invention. England, Scotland and thereby the rest of the British Empire (including part of what is now the United States) did not adopt it until 1752, by which time it was necessary to correct by eleven days (2 September 1752 being followed by 14 September 1752) to account for 29 February 1700 (Julian). Britain legislated special provisions to make sure that monthly or yearly payments would not become due until the dates that they originally would have in the Julian calendar, and to this day the tax year in the United Kingdom start on April 6 which is the "old style" new year of 25 March. "Old Style" (OS) and "New Style" (NS) are sometimes added to dates to identify which system is used in the British Empire and other countries that did not immediately change.
You can imagine the difficulties. Puts the refusal of the U.S. to adopt the Metric System in perspective, I think.

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