With This Strange New Calendar, Dates Fall on the Same Day of the Week Every Year

February 29, 2016 | Joanne Kennell

Calendar dates
Photo credit: Dafne Cholet/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

And leap days would be replaced by leap weeks.

How would you feel about living in a world where Christmas always fell on a Monday, or where you birthday always occurred on the exact same day of the week every single year… forever.

Not only that, there would no longer be an October 31 — Halloween, hello? — and there would also no longer be Friday the 13ths, since all 13 dates would fall on a Saturday, Monday or Wednesday.

I for one think it sounds terrible, and not just because my birthday would forever be on a Monday… but that is a big part of it!

SEE ALSO: Watch: The Leap Year Explained by Neil deGrasse Tyson

This new calendar is called the Hanke-Henry Permanent Calendar, and it was proposed as a more stable alternative to our current Gregorian Calendar.  It was originally conceived by Bob McClenon in an effort to simplify how we keep time, but it was later adapted by astrophysicist Richard Henry and applied economist Steve Hanke, who both work at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

In a December 2011 press release, when the calendar was first announced, Richard Henry said:

“Our plan offers a stable calendar that is absolutely identical from year to year and which allows the permanent, rational planning of annual activities, from school to work holidays. Think about how much time and effort are expended each year in redesigning the calendar of every single organization in the world and it becomes obvious that our calendar would make life much simpler and would have noteworthy benefits.”

The short and sweet of the calendar’s new features, according to Business Insider, include:

  1. The same date always falls on the same day of the week, year after year.
  2. It maintains a 7-day week to preserve a day of religious observance.
  3. All months have 30 days, except March, June, September and December which are 31 days in duration.
  4. Every 5 to 6 years, an extra week is added to the end of December to bring the calendar in sync with seasonal changes on Earth.
  5. There would no longer be different time zones

So, you may be wondering how this new calendar would eliminate all the different time zones.  It comes down to adopting what Henry and Hanke called a Universal Time Zone — meaning if it is 7 am in New York, New York, it is also 7 am in Tokyo, Japan.

It would require that we change the way we think about time and our schedules.  For example, under a universal time zone, you would have to get used to waking up around noon and eating dinner at 1 am if you lived in Washington, DC.

SEE ALSO: How to Calculate the Day of the Week for Any Date (Until 2099)

Honestly, it doesn’t sound much simpler. Certain dates and birthdays disappear, and it creates a week's worth of “leap years” instead of just one day.  However, Henry posted an answer to these types concerns on his website:

“Be like Queen Elizabeth: celebrate your birthday on a date of your choosing! For people born on the vanished 31st days of months — there’s a simple solution. They were born on the last day of the month, so their birthday is the last day of the month (which would be the 30th).”

So far, no countries have decided to adopt the new calendar system, but even if they do, researchers assure that the Gregorian calendar won't disappear. You'd still be able to download both calendars and convert the Hanke-Henry date to Gregorian.

If you are interested, the Hanke-Henry calendar can be downloaded here.

Hanke and Henry have proposed a formal start date for their new calendar of Monday January 1, 2018.  I guess we will have to wait and see if anyone starts using it.

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