Re: [liturgy-l] calendar
- John Burnett wrote:
"I do know that the king decreed the adjustment
in England and its colonies for the beginning of September in 1732 (I
remember this because when I read about it, I noted that my birthday
would have been wiped out). it would be interesting to know whether that
time was picked because the western church was still thinking of sept as
the church new year, or whether it was just arbitrary."
I believe you have the correct month, but the wrong year.
From a popular history of the 18th C:
"...religion was no longer a burning issue. It was part of the mental equipment of anyone born in the 18th century, more than it is now perhaps, but it did not occupy the forefront of their minds. Take the date of Easter, which had agitated ecclesiastical circles for centuries. It has been the starting point for many proposals to change the calendar, so that everyone could know in advance when to celebrate what. Quite suddenly, it seemed, Lord Chesterfield, who as Ambassador to France had got bored with trying to live by two different systems, brought in a carefully drafted bill to synchronise the continental/Catholic calendar and the English/Protestant one. It was done without even mentioning Easter, by simply deleting the eleven days 3-13 September 1752 from that year's calendar." (Liza Pickard, 'Dr Johnson's London')
Apparently there is one curious legacy of the old calendar. At the same time the Gregorian calendar was adopted in Britain the opportunity was taken to change the beginning of the official year from 25 March to 1 January. Unfortunately the tax system retained the old date so that the last day of the financial year remained 25 March. This is the reason that the last day of the British tax year is 5 April (25 March plus 11 days).
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