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1582: the year December lasted only 21 days…

1582: The year when December lasted only 21 days... -Charlie Paris

What happened in 1582 for the French to go to bed on December 9 and wake up the next day on December 20 ? A time flaw ? An enchantment ? None of this ... just a change of schedule !

We explain to you why in 1582 we changed the calendar and why this led to the disappearance of ten days.


Julian calendar, miscalculations for Caesar

Julius Caesar introduced in 46 BC a new solar calendar bearing his name: the Julian calendar. This calendar will be used across our continent for many centuries until Pope Gregory XIII realizes that there was... as a date concern.  

The emperor and his experts had erred in their scholarly calculations and had concluded, falsely, thata year had 365.25 days, while in truth it has more precisely 365.2422. This may seem like a detail to you but this error actually caused a significant shift in the calendar, compared to the Tropic year.

This was particularly problematic at the time for the celebration of Easter, a feast of great importance for Christians, since it celebrates the resurrection of Jesus. The day of the celebration of Easter is calculated according to the spring equinox. Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the transition from winter to spring (you follow ?).

However, over the years, the gap widened between the official date of the Equinox, fixed on March 21 on the Julian calendar, and the actual date on which this astronomical phenomenon was observed.

As well, in 1572 when Gregory XIII became Pope, the Equinox was actually observed on March 11, that is, eleven days before the date set by Caesar's calendar.


A new calendar : the Gregorian calendar

To remedy the problem and avoid one day having to celebrate Easter at Christmas, in 1577, the Pope decided to gather his best experts in astronomy and mathematics to rectify the system in force.

This is how the Gregorian calendar, the one we still use today, is born. Compared to the Julian calendar, the Gregorian calendar has a much smaller number of leap years. For the sake of harmonization and practicality, it also provides that theyear will start on 1er January and not Easter Day.

To recover the delay accumulated all these years, however, it is necessary to take in addition to all these modifications a rather drastic decision : delete that year ten whole days of the calendar.

Gregory XIII thus decides that October 4, 1582 was, exceptionally, followed by October 15.


A reform that is difficult to implement.

If Portugal and Spain immediately bow to the new calendar imposed by the Vatican, this is not the case for many countries, especially Protestant and Orthodox countries, seeing this as an additional dictatorship of the Church.

For several centuries our continent will have several calendarswhich, you can imagine, did not make things very easy, especially trade between different countries.

France adopted the Gregorian calendar in December, two months after the pope's announcement.

And this is howin December 1582 the French fell asleep on December 9 and woke up ... on December 20, as if by magic !

It was not until the 18th century that Britain and all Protestant countries adopted this new calendar, preferring for a long time, according to astronomer Johannes Kepler, "to disagree with the Sun rather than in agreement with the Pope."

From the beginning of the 20th century, Orthodox countries began to accept the change in the calendar.

Although today the Gregorian calendar is officially considered to be the official civil calendar at the international level, the Orthodox Churches of Russia, Serbia, Jerusalem or Georgia continue to rely on the Julian calendar for all their religious festivals.


At Charlie Paris, our mission is to offer you watches that are both sober and remarkable, with excellent value for money and Responsible manufacturing. Our watches are "Made in France" because they are designed, designed and assembled and France with high quality components. We offer French watches for Man and for Wife with different levels of waterproofing and with quartz or Automatic. Do you have any questions? Our team is available by email to or by phone at09 67 41 12 37.

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