November 29, 2011
If you are one of the many people who have trouble remembering what comes after “Thirty days hath September,” then you might be interested in calendar reform.
There is a movement afoot to simplify the calendar by making a year consistent with thirteen months, with each month exactly twenty-eight days long. The extra month would be called Sol (after our Sun) and would fall between June and July, thus giving those of us in the northern hemisphere an extra month of summer.
Among the advantages of this system, called the international fixed calendar, is the fact that we wouldn't need a new calendar every year (bad news for calendar makers but good news for the rest of us). Every month would begin on a Sunday and end on a Saturday, and every date would fall on the same day of the week every year.
For those of you who have been doing some quick calculating, you are right—the international fixed calendar has only 364 days in the year. The extra day would be stuck in between December 28 and January 1 and would be designated a world holiday, identified with no month or day of the week. In leap years, there would be a second world holiday wedged in between June 28 and Sol 1.
One of the disadvantages of the international fixed calendar is that thirteen months can't be easily divided into quarters for business purposes. This has led to a counterproposal—the world calendar, made up of four 91-day quarters, each consisting of a 31-day month followed by two 30-day months. Once again, it adds up to 364 days, and so one day would be set aside for general hoopla.
But perhaps you are a traditionalist. “Why fool around with the calendar?” you ask. “It was good enough for Moses, and it's good enough for me.” In fact, people have been fooling around with the calendar for as long as calendars have existed. But that's another story for another time …