Millennium madness!


The new "Millenium" began Saturday, January 1, 2000, by social convention. A millennium is any (arbitrary) one-thousand-year period; The Millennium is the period that begins when the year clicks over triple-zero. Since there is no scientific or official meaning to "The Millennium," it must be understood as a linguistic, i.e., a social term. It begins when the hoi polloi deem it begins.

Those misguided pedants who claim, "There was no Year Zero!" should understand that there was no "Year One" either. The modern calendar was invented in the third or fourth century (double-zero-based) by projection from a "Year One" that the pedants want to consider as the "Year Zero." There wasn't even a "Year One Hundred." So their Millennium really shouldn't be for a few more centuries. Besides, one could very easily retort, "Sure, there is [not was] a Year Zero - AD. You've just been calling it 1 BC."

The putative "Year One" was supposed to have been the year Jesus was born,but some research now indicates that the real birth was probably four years earlier (4 BC, aka -3 AD). So the pedants have actually already missed the party, which should have been in 1997 by that reckoning. Of course, New Year's Day used to be on March 25, and wasn't changed to January 1 until the eighteenth century (double-ought-based). So whether it's three hundred some-odd years from now, in 2001, or back in 1997, the Millennium should begin on March 25, right? But wait, it gets worse. In the sixteenth century (twin-goose-egg-based) in Catholic countries, the eighteenth (nought-nought-based) in the British Empire, ten or eleven days, respectively, were carved out of the calendar to reconcile the sidereal and solar calendars. So the pedantic Millenialists will have to adjust their celebrations by ten or eleven days according to whether they are Catholic, Protestant or want to ignore Leap Years, and if so, how many.

I don't know how they're all ever going to get together at the same party.


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