Calendars

Where can I find information about calendars?

Entry last updated: 5/07/22

Introduction

Calendars are a way of dividing and measuring time into manageable pieces. Calendars start with small units building into larger units, days, months, years. Calendars are used to track the sun and moon's cycles.

Types of calendars

Over history there have been many different calendars used by different cultures as a way to track time and provide routine. Various calendars have been based on seasonal variations, tracking the sun and moon and other stars. Here is a list of the more well known calendars.

Gregorian - currently used.

Julian - used before the Gregorian calendar.

Jewish - linked to the sun and moon.

Muslim - follows the moon.

Chinese - linked to the sun and moon.

Mayan - worked on 365 days as part of a 52 year cycle.

Aztec - worked on 365 days as part of a 52 year cycle.

French Republican - used 1793-1805. Had 365 days divided into 12 months of 3 weeks, 10 days each with 5 holidays at the end.

Perpetual - a calendar that is valid for many years. You can use it to calculate any given day of the month for a year.

History

To get an overview of how calendars developed over time, check out the following websites.

Britannica School

Britannica School is one of the EPIC databases. EPIC is a collection of reliable databases covering lots of different topics. It’s put together especially for New Zealand school students and helps to answer questions like this.

The Britannica article gives a good account of some different types of calendars and how months, weeks and days came about.

  • Type the keyword 'calendar' into the search box.
  • Select the calendar article.
  • You can select the reading level at the top of the article.

Tips: Search words, or keywords, are the most important words in our question. Usually it’s better to leave out small words like ‘the’, ‘a’ and ‘of’ and just choose the main ones, e.g [calendar]. We can always change our keywords or add more if we need to.

Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you may need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

History World

The History World website has a number of narratives and timelines describing the history of the world. This website has an overview of the different calendars used by different societies over the years.

Tips: Some websites have advertisements (or ads) which ask us to buy something or tell us to ‘click here’. It’s best to ignore these ads and focus on the information we’re looking for.

Days, months and years

Here are some websites that have great information about days, months and years.

Numbernut

This is a website that looks at all sorts of aspects about numbers including days, months and years.

  • Select the Dates & Times icon.
  • On the right hand side under the Dates & Times heading are subheadings.
  • Select the headings for Weeks & Days, Months or Years for further information.

Tips: Many web pages have links to further information or to other recommended sites. Following these links is a great way to find out more. This searching method is called “pearl growing” because you are picking up pieces of sand to make a beautiful pearl!

Maths is Fun

This site offers straight forward explanations about time and date.

Tips: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.

Calendars through the ages

Calendars through the ages is a web exhibit featuring many articles about calendars. It has technical details about years and months, and detailed information about the week.

Books

Days, week, and months by Margaret Joy, Juliet Renny.

What time is it by A. G. Smith.

SCIS no: 1905044

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