The Universe of Discourse

Wed, 18 Jan 2006

Why 3--13 September?
In an earlier post about the British adjustment from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar, I pointed out that the calendar dates were synchronized with those in use in the rest of Europe by the deletion of 3 September through 13 September, so that Wednesday, 2 September 1752 was followed immediately by Thursday, 14 September 1752. I asked:

Why September 3-13? I don't know, although I would love to find out.
Clinton Pierce has provided information which, if true, is probably the answer:

The reason for deleting the 3rd - 13th of September is that in that span there are no significant Holy Days on the Anglican calendar (at least that I can tell). September 8th's "Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary" is actually an alternate to August 14th. It's also one of the few places on the 1752 calendar where this empty span occurs beginning at midweek.

This would also allow the autumnal equinox (one of the significant events mentioned in the Act) to fall properly on the 21st of September wheras doing the adjustment in October (the other late 1752 span of no Holy Days) wouldn't permit that.

If I have time, I will try to dig up an authoritative ecclesiastical calendar for 1752. The ones I have found online show several other similar gaps; for example, it seems that 12 January could have been followed by 24 January, or 14 June followed by 26 June. But these calendars may not be historically accurate---that is, they may simply be anachronistically projecting the current practices back to 1752.

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