For some, 2020 is a year of the past or is yet to come.
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
The year it is: 2020 or are we 2000 and late?
Jaira Krishelle Balboa ( - January 25, 2020 - 3:28pm

MANILA, Philippines – Only a few weeks after most of the world ushered in the year 2020, it’s time for the Chinese community to celebrate the start of a new decade with Chinese New Year falling on January 25.

But for the rest of the world, it’s a different year altogether. 

While there are around 40 known calendars to date, only five are heavily used around the world. 

And for some, 2020 is a year of the past or is yet to come.

Gregorian calendar

Introduced by the Catholic church in 1582, the Gregorian calendar is the one commonly used today even by non-Catholics to maintain uniformity. It follows the earth’s rotation around the sun, and has an average year length of 365.2425 days. 

Contrary to popular belief, the Gregorian calendar does not add a leap day every four years.

Instead, it adds a leap day to every year that is divisible by 4, except years that are exactly divisible by 100. However, years that are exactly divisible by 400 are also leap years.

For example, years 1700 and 1900 are not leap years, but the years 1600 and 2000 are.

Chinese calendar

The Chinese Calendar is based on a lunisolar system, meaning they start every month on the day of the “new moon.” 

The beginning of the year is marked by the new moon after winter solstice, which is why the Chinese New Year falls on a different day each year. 

Every year is represented by one of the 12 Chinese Zodiac animals in rotation. 2020 is the year of the Metal Rat. 

Officially, China uses the Gregorian calendar to keep in sync with the rest of the world, but they follow the Chinese calendar for traditional festivities. 

Hebrew calendar

Also known as the Jewish calendar, this also follows the lunisolar system with a complicated system of leap months. 

It is the officially used in Israel and by Jews all over the world to follow religious observances.

For the Hebrew calendar, the year is currently 5780. 

Islamic calendar

The Islamic calendar, also called the Muslim or Hijri calendar, follows a lunar system with lunar months consisting of 354 to 355 days, compared to Gregorian’s 365 days. 

Most Arab countries follow the Gregorian calendar but use the Islamic one to determine holidays and religious activities. This is the reason the month of Ramadan is not fixed to a certain month. 

The current Islamic year is 1441 AH.

Persian calendar

Although most of the world use the Gregorian calendar, the Persian calendar is deemed to be ten times more accurate, with an approximate error of only one second per year or one day every 110,000 years, compared to Gregorian’s error of 27 seconds per year. 

Its first six months have 31 days, the 7th through 11th months have 30 days, and the 12th has 29 days and 30 if it is a leap year. 

This Solar Hijri calendar is currently in the year 1398 and is officially used in Iran and Afghanistan. 

Is there a perfect calendar?

To date, none of the calendar systems in use around the world has perfectly reflected the earth’s orbit around the sun, which is why leap days, months, or years are utilized to stay in line with the earth’s rotation. 

The Gregorian calendar is widely used around the world because it is the oldest calendar that was closest to reflecting the tropical year.

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