Stangl

We are in the home stretch for the holidays now. Less than a week until we get to spend time with family and friends. After that it’s a hop, skip and a jump to the new year 2020 and the new decade.

But is it the new decade?

It depends on who you ask.

I came across an interesting article written by Joe Rao of the Farmers’ Almanac, who says the new decade should begin a year from now on Jan. 1, 2021.

Rao says Jan. 1, 2001 opened the 21st century and the start of the new millennium “just as the year 1 A.D. marked the beginning of the Christian era.” The author believes the wild parties of Dec. 31, 1999 were a year too soon.

Sorry, Prince, I guess you were wrong too in your hit song “1999.”

In the article, Rao places the blame on two men: Dionysius Exiguus, also known in some reference works as “Dennis the Short,” and the Northumbrian monk Bede, also known as the “Venerable Bede.”

Dionysius was born in what we now call Romania around the year 470 and was the first to suggest counting the passage of the years from the date of the birth of Jesus Christ; the beginning of the anno Domini (which means “Year of Our Lord” in Latin) era, or A.D.

“According to the contemporary historians of the time, Jesus was born during the 28th year of the reign of the Roman Emperor, Caesar Augustus, Rao writes. “There is, however, considerable confusion about exactly when Augustus’ reign began, so the year Dionysius called 1 A.D. was not accurately placed in history; in fact, most religious scholars now think that Jesus might actually have been born several years earlier.

“When Dionysius finished his computations, he figured that the year Christ was living in was 525 A.D. But he never bothered to number the years prior to Christ’s birth.

“We would have to wait until 731 A.D. when the Venerable Bede popularized the anno Domini era in Anglo-Saxon England and extended the counting of years before the birth of Christ – the “B.C. era.”

Most unfortunately, however, Bede did not account for the year zero in his calculations. So 1 A.D. was immediately preceded not by a 0, but by 1 B.C.”

Rao looks to an elevator to make his case. “As an analogy, think of going into a building in which the ground floor is listed not as the first floor, but as the lobby. So the first floor is actually one flight above you.

“So if you were to go into an elevator located in the lobby and wanted to go 10-flights up, you would actually end up on the ninth floor (if you were to assume that the lobby as the “zero” floor).

“But if you assume the lobby as the “first” floor and went 10-flights up, you would end up on the tenth floor.

“In essence, on our calendars, 2021 is the equivalent of a “first-floor lobby,” and after going up ten flights (or years), we’ll arrive at the tenth floor. Or in this case, the year 2030—when that decade ends.”

I’m still confused, how about you?

I hope the holiday season isn’t confusing for you. Make the time to spend with friends and family. It’s the best gift of all.

As always, I welcome your comments. You can reach me by email at tstangl@theameryfreepress.com, telephone 715-268-8101 or write me at P.O. Box 424, Amery, WI, 54001.

Thanks for reading I’ll keep in touch. Feel free to do the same.