Every year when Summer Time kicks in, I miss out on an hour of sleep. Every year when Summer Time ends, I wake up an hour early. I still feel that an hour has been stolen from me.
Imagine the confusion and ire when thirteen days were removed from the calendar.
Julian versus Gregorian Calendar Confusion
In 1582, when Pope Gregory introduced his Gregorian calendar, Europe adhered to the Julian calendar, first implemented by Julius Caesar in 46 BCE. Since that system miscalculated the length of the solar year by 11 minutes, the calendar had since fallen out of sync with the seasons Gregory was concerned because it meant that Easter, traditionally observed on March 21, fell further away from the spring equinox with each passing year.
The Julian calendar included an extra day in February every four years. But that made the calendar slightly too long so we add leap days in years divisible by four, unless the year is also divisible by 100. Are you following this? If the year is also divisible by 400, a leap day is added regardless. If this sounds confusing to you, you’re not alone.
The English didn’t appreciate the new calendar. An act of Parliament advanced the calendar overnight from September 2 to September 14, 1752. Rioters took to the streets, demanding that the government “give us back our days.” On the other side of the Atlantic, however, Benjamin Franklin welcomed the change, writing, “It is pleasant for an old man to be able to go to bed on September 2, and not have to get up until September 14.”. Pleasant for an old lady too.
But wait, the Gregorian calendar differs from the solar year by 26 seconds per year. As a result, in the years since Gregory introduced his calendar in 1582, a discrepancy of several hours has arisen. Don’t worry, by the year 4909, the Gregorian calendar will be a full day ahead of the solar year.
Daylight Saving Time was introduced in Victoria in 1971. Fifty years of it! That’s 50 hours I’ve lost somewhere, either rudely stolen while I slept or spent staring at the clock, wide awake at 4.30 a.m, knowing there’s no time to go back to sleep.
Where are my missing hours?