A True Perpetual Calendar
Why yet another version of the calendar? Mainly for the same reasons that people keep trying to improve the one we have ... human beings dislike untidiness, and the constant changing of the day of the week on which a holiday or special date falls creates a constant uncertainty. This is not such a big thing for individuals, in fact it’s sort of fun to find that your birthday or anniversary falls on a weekend, and planning one’s vacation around holidays to stretch it out can sometimes also be an entertaining challenge. A bit of spontaneity is fine in small doses and as an antidote to boredom.
Another challenge that is not so apparent, however, occurs in business and to some degree in government and education. It also impacts the national economy. This is the discrepancy that occurs in comparing same periods from year to year, whether the periods are weeks or months, and it affects planning, purchasing, manpower requirements, and a myriad of other factors that directly affect the stock market, profits, paychecks, and tax revenues. Because of the difficulty, in some cases impossibility, of making valid comparisons, supply and demand are often out of step with each other. Consequently you will find all sorts of equal-month calendars, thirteen-month calendars, and other variations of our current 365-366 day, twelve-month calendar. The difference is, this one works.
The twelve months retain their familiar number of days, names, and sequence. Changes to these have been a major sticking point for previous calendar revision proposals. This Standard Calendar equalizes the days and weeks of the year within the year itself, eliminating the precession of weeks from one year to the next. With this calendar, the days of the month will always fall on the same day of the week every year, facilitating planning both for personal uses and for government, education, and business purposes. The positive economic impact of a dependable five-weekend Christmas/Holiday shopping season cannot be exaggerated, both for private enterprise and for the tax revenues generated.
It will be easy to find fault with this proposal; I have found several objections in developing it, and some of them are mentioned below. For something more challenging, try finding solutions as you discover the shortcomings inherent in changing the calendar, or other advantages not already covered here. As you do so, please email them to me so they can be included on this page.
The Standard Calendar
With American Holidays Shown
The “Extra” Days
This system allocates 365 days of the year into 51 weeks of seven days each plus one week of eight days.
(a) Once every four years when Leap Year occurs, an extra day is added to the year as is done now, but it is inserted between Wednesday, 2/28 and Thursday, 3/1, without being equated with a day of the week.
(b) Each year, the last day of the year, December 31, is inserted between Saturday, 12/30 and Sunday, 1/1, again without assigning it a day of the week. In this way, the days of the week are maintained relative to the days of the month from year to year.
• January 1, New Year’s Day (Sunday): Preceded by Saturday, December 30 and extra day December 31, yielding a 3-day weekend.
• January 15, Martin Luther King’s Birthday (Sunday): An excellent day to observe the birthday of a Christian minister. If a weekday off is required, I suggest that day be Friday, January 13, and the day of observance be the 15th. Please see the note below regarding Friday vs. Monday holidays.*
• February 20, Presidents Day (Monday): Since this is no longer celebrated as Washington’s birthday on the 22nd, its observance could be moved to Friday, February 17.*
• May 29, Memorial Day (Monday): Traditionally the last Monday of May. I would not move this holiday.
• July 4, Independence Day (Tuesday): Fixed, yields four-day weekend.
• September 4, Labor Day (Monday): Traditionally the first Monday in September. I would not move this holiday.
• October 12, Columbus Day (Thursday): Although a federal holiday, it is unobserved except by governmental agencies. Leave it as is.
• November 11, Veterans’ Day (Saturday): Saturday is perfect for the traditional parades. If a weekday off is required, I suggest this be observed on the 11th, with a day off taken on Friday, November 10.*
• November 23, Thanksgiving Day (Thursday): Fixed as the fourth Thursday, this provides a full month plus for the Christmas shopping season and includes five weekends.
• December 25, Christmas Day (Monday): Fixed, provides a three-day weekend and as noted, also provides for a fifth pre-holiday shopping weekend.
*It would be advisable to move the Monday observances of some three-day weekend holidays to Fridays, but to observe the actual holidays on their traditional dates. Specifically, M.L. King Day, Presidents’ Day, and Veterans’ Day can be observed on Fridays to create long weekends.
Consider that when a full week precedes a long weekend, work slacks off and many employees are not in attendance on the Friday preceding the long weekend, effectively turning that week into a four-day week. With the holiday week following having only four days, two days of productivity are lost. If the day off were on Friday, employees would be more likely to make up the day lost during that week, although some would no doubt leave early on Thursday. At least, however, less production would be lost by working the following week in full.
• Religious holidays would be calculated or celebrated on the same days as is done now. Examples would be Easter and Passover.
• Daylight Saving dates, Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day, Election Day, and similar events would acquire fixed dates.
• Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day and similar holidays with specific dates would be unaffected.
• Workers paid by the hour would work forty hours during the week including February 29. This would require a compensating day off during the week, a floating holiday, or some similar arrangement. Salaried personnel could be handled in a like manner and various arrangements are possible. This generally would not be an issue for part-time employees or retail and service employees who work on an erratic schedule that already includes weekends and some holidays.
• Calendar makers would have to focus on new graphics, specialized information, and functional utility, since, except for those calendars displaying Easter and similar holidays, or moon phases, the same calendar would suffice year after year.
• There may be some objections to not having a day off school and work for the M.L. King and Veterans’ Day holidays if they are allowed to fall on weekends without a weekday off.
• Changing traditionally Monday holidays to Friday holidays may or may not be a problem.
• It may be useful to name the two extra days that can occur during the year. The obvious choices are Leap Day for February 29 and New Years’ Eve for December 31, but other options are certainly possible.
One final point ...
As creating more confusion in implementing this calendar would be self-defeating, it needs to be made effective beginning with a year in which January 1 already falls on a Sunday. Then all that is needed for adoption is to agree that beginning that year, the extra day(s) in that year will not be counted as part of the week when they occur. 2006 was probably a bit ambitious for adoption, but years starting with a Sunday will occur in the future, so email or write your congressman, prime minister, or delegate now. Feel free to suggest this version of the calendar be named after me.