In the United Nations, the issue of world calendar reform was formally raised by India with the lodgement of the document below in 1953. Replies from various delegations expressed against calendar reform because of the undesirable effect it would have on many aspects of religious life--the observance of Sabbath in particular. The Holy See (Vatican) did not present its position on the question even though decision of Catholic countries were dependent on its stand. Eventually, discussion on the issue was adjourned sine die (without fixing a day for future action or meeting) by the UN's Economic and Social Council during its 905th meeting on 20 April 1956. Since then, there has not been any worldwide initiative to reform the Gregorian calendar.
UNITED NATIONS ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL
30 October 1953
WORLD CALENDAR REFORM
Communication dated 28 October from the Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations to the Secretary-General
The Secretary-General circulates to the members of the Council the following communication received from the Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations:
New York, 28 October 1953
WORLD CALENDAR REFORM
The Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations presents his compliments to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and has the honour to state that the Government of India consider that the plan for the reform of the Gregorian Calendar (Annex I) proposed by the "World Calendar Association, Inc.", (630 Fifth Avenue, New York 20, N.Y.) is of great importance to the nations of the world. The purpose of the plan is to adopt for the whole world, from 1 January 1956, a new, fixed, uniform and invariable calendar, regulated astronomically according to the movement of the Earth around the Sun, and more regular, scientific and advantageous than the Gregorian Calendar. It is, therefore, requested that the plan for the reform of the calendar be included in the agenda for the eighteenth session of the Economic and Social Council to be held in 1954.
An explanatory memorandum on the subject is enclosed.
Memorandum on the question of World Calendar Reform
The ideal of the whole world is to have a logical and perpetual calendar to replace the present Gregorian Calendar, because it is widely recognized that the calendar we now use is unsatisfactory for the economic, social, educational, scientific and other activities of man. Modern progress demands the change.
Such a revision has been the subject of study and research on the part of experts, institutions and international organizations for many years. The consensus of opinion is that a new time system is necessary, adhering to the customary twelve months; but that it should be uniform; an invariable calendar, perpetually the same, more regular, scientific and advantageous from every point of view than the present Gregorian Calendar.
Our present Calendar is to all intents and purposes, the same as that introduced by Julius Caesar in 45 BC which, due to its irregularity and the time difference caused by erroneous length of the year, was corrected and readjusted in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII.
The divisions in the Gregorian Calendar of year, months, quarters and half-years are of unequal length, the months being from twenty-eight to thirty-one days. As a result, the number of days in the four quarters are, respectively, ninety (ninety-one in a leap year), ninety-one, ninety-two and ninety-two. As a result, again, the first half year, contains two or three days less than the second. The number of weeks in the quarters and half-years is also unequal. There is consequently considerable confusion and uncertainty in economic dealings and in the preparations and analysis of statistics and accounts. The comparability of salaries, interest, insurance, pensions, leases and rent of one period of the year with another is greatly vitiated due to the unequal length of months which have from 24 to 27 weekdays plus Sundays.
Further, the calendar is not fixed and changes each year. The year, in fact, consists of fifty-two weeks plus one or two days. Thus, if the first day of the year is a Sunday, in the following year it is a Monday (or even a Tuesday in the case of a leap year). The exact reproduction of the calendar of any year only takes place once every twenty-eight years. Thus, the day of the month falls each year on a different day of the week from the one on which it fell the previous year.
Consequently, the dates of periodical events can never be fixed with precision. Such a date can in fact, only be determined in two ways: either by the day of the month (15th August for example) or by the day of the week in the month (the third Tuesday in October). If the day of the month is fixed for periodical events, this day may sometimes fall on a Sunday or general holiday. Each year the authorities have, therefore, to make a special decision, as for instance for the meeting of a tribunal, the convocation of Parliament, the dates of holidays, fairs, markets, the fixing of summer-time, etc. On the other hand, if a special day (the first Monday in the month, for example) is fixed for these events, other difficulties arise, as the date corresponding to this day varies continually from month to month and from year to year. If the calendar were fixed, the dates of these events could be fixed once and for all. They would fall on the same dates as well as on the same days of the week.
The greatest drawback from a statistical and commercial point of view is that, since the various days of the week are not of the same value as regards volume of trade, and the years and the months do not from year to year include the same number of individual weekdays, there can be no genuine statistical comparison between one year and another, while the various subdivisions of the year itself -- the half years, quarters and months -- are likewise incapable of comparison.
The proposed scheme of the World Calendar has overcome all the above drawbacks of the present Gregorian Calendar. It is scientific, uniform, stable and perpetual with but one unvarying calendar every year. It retains the present 12 months; thus the four quarters are always equal; each quarter has 3 months, 13 weeks, or 91 days, beginning on Sunday and ending on Saturday; each month contains an exact number of 26 working days plus Sundays; and days and dates always agree from year to year, and holidays are permanently fixed. The calendar remains identical from year to year. It offers harmony and order to all strata of society -- government, finance, industry, labour, retail trade, administration of justice, homelife, transportation and education. All statistics compiled on the basis of a month, a quarter or a year are strictly comparable with one another.
The 365th day of the year in the World Calendar is proposed to be an international holiday, without any weekday name, dedicated simultaneously in every country of the world to the universal harmony and unity of mankind, thus knitting all races, creeds, peoples and nations into a closer bond of fellowship, creating world-wide citizenship in the "One World". The potentialities of "Worldsday" for strengthening and promoting international peace among all nations are of great value.
In leap years another similar international holiday is interposed between 30 June and 1 July.
The only feasible time for adopting a new calendar is when both the old and the new calendars coincide, enabling the changeover to be instituted with a minimum of disturbance. Both the outgoing Gregorian and the incoming World Calendars coincide on Sunday, 1 January 1956, giving the nations of the world two years' time to prepare for this significant and historical reform if adopted by the United Nations now.
The subject of Calendar Reform has been exhaustively studied by the United Nations Secretariat as shown in a report by the Secretary-General in document E/465, dated 14 July 1947. It gives the entire history of the movement and the progress made up to that time. The report concludes that the proposal "is the plan which has received the most favourable comments."
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