Origins of the Gregorian Calendar

The Calendar as we know it (The Gregorian Calendar) has been around for a long time. Since 1582 in fact. But do you know much about the calendar that you use 365 days a year? I would guess not, considering it goes back that far! But that’s what this article is for. We are going to give you a little history lesson, on the origins of the Gregorian Calendar.

Created in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII. At the time, Europe had been using the Julian Calendar created by Julius Caesar. However, his calendar was ever so slightly off, as he got the length of the solar year wrong by a mere 11 minutes, meaning the seasons were out of sync with the calendar itself. To the Pope this was a concern as it meant that Easter was further away from the Spring Equinox as every year went by. His solution? To create his own calendar, aptly named The Gregorian Calendar. Keeping the same start and end of the year, the only difference was to jump ahead by 11 days of the year, meaning for example when citizens went to sleep on September 2nd they woke up on September 14th. This seemingly fixed the problem that there was with the previous calendar. However, it certainly isn’t perfect as there is still a slight discrepancy, although definitely not as large. Currently the Gregorian Calendar is off sync with the seasons by a whole 26 seconds a year, meaning that by today a shift of a few hours has come about.

However, despite it being invented in the 16th century, it wasn’t until many years into the 18th century that it was widely accepted across Europe. In fact, without getting too bogged down in it, there was some tension from European Protestants towards the calendar, rejecting it because of the connection it held with the papacy and Catholic Church. They claimed that it was an attempt to silence them and what they believed in. It wasn’t until much later that countries like Germany – in 1700 – and Britain – in 1752 – changed over and began using the calendar. It was in 1752 that Britain began its year on the 1st of January, as up until then they had started it on September 1st.

Despite its late start however, the Gregorian Calendar has really taken off. Nearly every country in the world uses this calendar, with only some such as Afghanistan, Iran, Ethiopia and Nepal choosing not to use it.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this small lesson on the origins of the calendar that we all use today! Speaking of calendars however, did you know that here at we design, print and sell them? You can find our whole selection right here: And if you need to get some printed, please don’t hesitate to get in contact either by calling us at 028 9002 2474 or shooting us an email via our contact form.