Top 9 countries that have another calendar (and it’s weird)

In France, as in almost all countries in the world, we use the Gregorian calendar. Adopted 434 years ago by Pope Gregory XIII, it has established itself as a planetary reference, in particular thanks to its solar component. Even if it is THE universal system, some countries have kept another traditional calendar. Either by refusing outright the Gregorian calendar, or by making it coexist. Come on, we’ll tell you more right now!

1. The Buddhist calendar in Thailand

Alongside the official Gregorian calendar, Thailand also uses the Thai lunar calendar, namely: a version of the Buddhist calendar. This one is based on the birth of Buddha, 2565 years ago (baise). In Thailand, we are therefore in 2022 AND in 2565!


2. The Hebrew calendar in Israel

The Hebrew calendar is an official calendar in Israel, used by believing Jews, in particular to determine religious holidays. We talk about the “lunisolar calendar”, that is to say: which is based on the revolution of the Moon around the Earth and of the Earth around the Sun (did you drop out too?). It begins at what Jews regard as “the creation of the world, 5783 years ago. The Gregorian calendar is used for all secular activities.


3. The Ethiopian calendar

Ethiopia is one of the only 5 countries in the world not to have yielded to the Gregorian calendar (alongside Afghanistan, Iran, Nepal and Vietnam). Great specificity of the Ethiopian calendar (based on the old Alexandrian calendar): it does not have 12, but 13 months! The scheme to make a shitty year last even longer. Afterwards, well… It’s a month of 5/6 days, huh… Not 30. Logically, the Ethiopian calendar is behind ours: they celebrated the year 2014 this year.

Simple question: how does the 13th month go in this case?

4. The Muslim calendar, used in many countries

The Muslim calendar, also called “Hijra”, begins from the journey of the Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina, in 622. Many Muslim countries such as Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia (since 2016), Jordan or Morocco use both calendars (again: Gregorian for official and administrative, and Muslim for religious holidays). Another specificity: the days do not begin at midnight, but with sunrise. In terms of day, Hegira years are between 10 and 11 days shorter than Gregorian calendar years.


5. The Persian calendar in Iran and Afghanistan

In these two countries, it is even the official calendar! As mentioned above, they are among the rare territories not to have adopted, at least partially, the Gregorian calendar. The Persian calendar, also called “Jalali calendar” or “Iranian calendar”, descends from the Zoroastrian calendars of pre-Islamic Persia. As in the Gregorian calendar, it consists of 12 months, and 365 to 366 days. On the other hand, and like the Muslim calendar, the Iranian calendar begins in 622.


6. The Indian Calendar

The Indian national calendar is really not old… It was developed and adopted only in 1957! A date not completely trivial, since the country only obtained its independence 10 years earlier. The objective of this new calendar was simply to unify all the calendars of the territory. Well, that was on paper. In reality, there are still several civil and religious calendars, and several dozen regional variants, within the country itself. Still, for the national calendar, the Saka era is taken as a reference. Its year zero begins on March 22, 78 of the Gregorian calendar.


7. In Japan, there is a calendar based on the reigns of emperors

Although the Japanese commonly use Gregorian calendar dates, there is also a country-specific calendar. The counting of the years is done there according to the dates of reign of the emperors. Basically, we are talking about eras (reign of each emperor), grouped into eras, themselves grouped into sub-epochs. Yeah… it doesn’t look simple, this story. This calendar is still used for official documents.

8. The Chinese calendar, used in several Asian countries

As its name does not indicate so well, the Chinese calendar is also used in Cambodia, Mongolia or Vietnam. It is a cyclical calendar, based on the astronomical cycles of Jupiter. The months are said to be “lunar”, meaning that the first day of each month coincides with the new moon. The timeline starts a little while ago: when Emperor Huangdi came to power in 2637 BC. JC. To put it simply, the year 2022 of our calendar corresponds to the year 4720 of the Chinese. Each year being placed under the sign of an animal, note that this year it is the Water Tiger, a symbol of independence and courage. Style.


9. The Juche calendar in North Korea

Another calendar imposed late: in 1997. It is used in the Democratic People’s Republic (not) of Korea alongside the usual Gregorian calendar. Its starting point is none other than 1912: the year of birth of Kim Il-Sung, founder of the North Korean state and “eternal president” (dictatorship, you said??). When writing a date in Korea, the custom is to put that of the Gregorian calendar in parentheses, next to that of the Juche calendar.

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