A Timely Debate Over the Definition of a Decade

As we once again mark the end of one decade and the start of another, there once again is a debate overt when a decade actually begins.

The nation’s master clock is maintained by the U.S. Naval Observatory. It uses an astronomical dating system to measure time. And at the time, 20 years ago, in 1999, when we all were marking a new millennium, the agency said it did not officially begin on January 1st of 2000, but on January 1st of 2001

And the publication known for decades for keeping track of weather, astronomical and calendar information, the Farmers’ Almanac, defines the start of a new decade the same way, so the beginning of the new decade is at the start of 2021, not the start of 2020.

You see, the technical definition of a decade, is based on the calendar that was first created by monks about 150 decades ago that is called the Gregorian calendar. 

It defined the time before Christ, or B.C. and the time after, A.D., anno domini in Latin, also called C.E., for the Common Era.

And because that first calendar began with the year 1, and there was no year zero, the first year ended at the end of year 1, not at its beginning.

But while time purists will argue that we’re technically celebrating the start of a new decade one year too early, too much time has gone by to change it now. And those monks would probably forgive us for doing it. Happy New Year!

READ MORE about the definitions of a decade.

(Photo credit reporting partner 10News)

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