JANUARY 1 marks the beginning of a new year and a new calendar to list the days of that year. Calendars have been around since the beginning of civilization, helping people plan the year's activities, from crop plantings and religious observances to family vacations.
Through history, various kinds of calendars have been used in the Western world, and other cultures have had their own ways of keeping track of time--and still do.
The history of calendars provides a fascinating look at human cultural practices and the many methods that people have used to keep track of time. For instance, do you know:
-Why the kings of Babylonia occasionally inserted an extra month into the year?
-Why the ancient Romans called the year now known as 43 B.C. "the year of confusion"?
-What strange ceremony the Aztec Indians performed every 52 years?
World Book has put together this feature of facts about calendars and their long history.