If it's 2000 Here

It's 2000 years on the Christian calender, but what about the rest of the world

by Clark Humphrey

The next year is called 2000 A.D. (Anno Domini, Latin for "Year of Our Lord") because a Catholic monk named Dionysius Exiguus was asked by the church to calculate future years’ dates for Easter (based on the Jewish Passover, which in turn is based on a complicated formula involving full moon and the vernal equinox).

According to calendar scholar Claus Tøndering, "At that time it was customary to count years since the reign of emperor Diocletian; but in his calculations Dionysius chose to number the years since the birth of Christ, rather than honour the persecutor Diocletian."

Dionysius chose to base his research on what he figured was the birth year of Jesus Christ. Eventually, the church officially adopted his figures, in the year that was proclaimed to be 523 A.D. (Some non-Christians prefer the alternate designation "C.E.," for "Common Era".)

If the church hadn’t chosen to renumber the years, Jan. 1, 2000 would have fallen in the Roman year 2753 A.U.C. ("Ab urbe condita," Latin for "since the founding of Rome").

According to the Astronomical Yearbook, here are some other years numbers that will be in effect on 1/1/2000:

Calendar Type Year

"Decade by Decade" Party Themes:

  • Byzantine 7509
  • Chinese 4697
  • Buddhist 2543
  • Islamic 1421
  • Jewish (A.M.) 5760
  • Nabonassar 2749
  • Tibetan 2126
  • Diocletian 1717
  • Saka (Indian) 1922
  • Kouki (Japan) 2660
  • Erisian 3166

Probably the one of these you’re most familiar with is the Chinese calendar. When 2000 starts, the traditional Chinese year will still be 4697, a Year of the Rabbit. Year 4698, a Year of the Dragon, starts on our Feb. 5, 2000. While China officially uses the western (Gregorian) calendar, the traditional calendar is still used to determine the dates of festivals and cultural events, including New Year’s celebrations.

Clark Humphrey's is a contributing writer to Everything2000. His pop-culture report is now daily at WWW.MISCMEDIA.COM.

DATE: 9/13/99

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