But in other countries the two elements changed at different times.
The Christian Church generally wished to move towards using one of its major festivals as the start of the year, and Christmas Day was used from the time of Bede (AD 672 or 673 to 735) until the twelfth century.
The Feast of the Annunciation, 25th March, started to be used in the ninth century in parts of southern Europe, but only became widespread in Europe from the eleventh century and in England from the late twelfth. 1st January then started to be used as the start of the year, starting in Venice in 1522.
Thus was established the Gregorian Calendar which we use today. States still obedient to the Papacy adopted the Gregorian calendar at once, that is in October 1582.
These were Spain, Portugal and Italy, with France following in December of that year, and Prussia, the Catholic States of Germany, Holland and Flanders on 1st January 1583.
Dates when this change was made in some other countries are: Leap Years The Roman calendar before Julius Caesar was based on a year of 365 days. By the seventeenth century the calendar was again out of step, because 365.25 was a slight over-estimate of the true length of a year. So Pope Gregory XIII decreed that the day following 4th October 1582 would be 15th October.
In his time it was realised that the calendar had got out of step with the seasons because the actual length of time taken for the earth to orbit the sun was nearer to 365.25 days. So that the same problem would not recur, the rule for leap years was changed slightly.
This article is copyright Mike Spathaky 1995, 2006.
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___________________________________________ SEPTEMBER 1752 Great Britain and Dominions Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun 1 2 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 ___________________________________________ For 170 years, between the Papal Bull of Gregory XIII and the Chesterfield Act of the British parliament, two calendars had been in use side by side in Western Europe.