When you ask someone what day it is today, you are most of the time trying to confirm what day of the week it is or the date itself.
People barely wonder what year it is because most countries use the Gregorian calendar and we are all aware of when a new year begins.
For some countries however, you might need to confirm what year it is because they do not use the Gregorian calendar.
While 168 of the world’s countries have now adapted the Gregorian calendar as their sole civil calendar, here are five countries that use a unique calendar.
The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan uses the Solar Hijiri calendar as its official calendar. According to this calendar, a new year begins about 21 March of each Gregorian year and ends about 20 March of the next year.
Basically, the Solar Hijri year is 621 or 622 years behind countries who use the Gregorian calendar depending on whether the Solar Hijri year has or has not begun.
For example, the year 2022 in the Gregorian calendar is the year 1406 or 1407 depending on the month.
Ethiopia is also another country that uses a unique calendar. This calendar is called the Ge’ez Calendar. This unique calendar is seven to eight years behind the Gregorian Calendar.
This is due to alternate calculations in determining the date of the annunciation of the birth of Jesus. Basically, the Ge’ez Calendar has 12 months of 30 days each, plus five or six additional days (sometimes known as the 13th month).
These are added at the end of the year to match the calendar to the solar cycle. This means while it might be the year 2022, Ethiopia is in the year 2015.
Japan also has a slightly different calendar than the rest of the world. In 604, Japan decided on its own calendar using techniques developed in China and brought to its islands via the Korean Peninsula.
Japan would later adopt the standard Gregorian calendar in 1873, but despite this, many aspects of its former calendar are still in use today. The country still holds some festivals that match traditional dates, and calendar printers may include the latter on their publications.
In Israel, the Jewish calendar is in use. This is derived from the ancient Hebrew calendar and has remained unchanged since about AD 900.
Also referred to as the religious calendar, the Jewish calendar is based on lunar months of 29 days alternating with 30 days. While Israel also uses the Gregorian calendar, the Jewish calendar is used for religious and agricultural purposes. It is also an official calendar for civil holidays.
China also uses a unique calendar for specific purposes such as determining festivals and this is used by various Chinese communities around the world. Even though China has its unique calendar, the Gregorian calendar is used for civil purposes.
The Chinese calendar is based on astronomical observations and every year is represented by a zodiac animal sign.