Rootseekers President Margaret Ann Trail (from left) stands with guest speaker Bob Stokes and Julie Gustafson.
Special to The Monitor
MABANK– Rootseeker members heard Bob Stokes speak about the history of calendars at the Tri-County Library in Mabank March 17.
The Gregorian calendar, also called the Western calendar and the Christian calendar, is internationally the most widely used civil calendar. It has been the unofficial global standard for decades, recognized by international institutions such as the United Nations and the Universal Postal Union.
Beginning in 45 B.C., many parts of the world used the Julian calendar to mark the passage of time. By the Julian calendar, March 25 was the first day of the year and each year was 365 days and six hours long.
In 1583, Pope Gregory X111 determined the Julian calendar was incorrect, each day was just a little bit too long and the human calendar wasn’t keeping up with nature’s calendar. To solve the problem, Pope Gregory X111 created what is known as the Gregorian calendar.
This new calendar changed the first day of the year to January 1 and also jumped ahead by 10 days to make up for the lost time.
England and the American Colonies didn’t officially accept it until 1752. By the time England and the colonies adopted the new calendar, the discrepancy between the calendars was 11 days. To resolve the discrepancy, the government ordered Sept. 2, 1752, be followed by Sept. 14, 1752. Some people also added 11 days to their birth dates (a fact which is not noted on their birth certificates).
The reform was adopted initially by the Catholic countries of Europe. Protestants and Eastern Orthodox countries continued to use the traditional Julian calendar and adopted the Gregorian reform after a time for the sake of convenience in international trade. The last European country to adopt the reform was Greece in 1923.
Stokes was born in Pascagoula, Miss. He attended high school in Dallas. After two years at Baylor University, he served four years in the U.S. Coast Guard, then returned to Baylor to complete his Bachelor’s of Arts and Masters Degrees and 60 hours of graduate work at the University of North Texas.
He is married and has two children and two grandchildren.