Which calendars are used around the world?

Holidays and Calendars

Some holidays follow calendars based on the moon. These days are called “floating holidays” because they float around on our standard calendar. They are not celebrated on the same day each year. Many of these floating holidays are religious. They follow a religious calendar.

The Chinese calendar

The Chinese calendar follows the moon. But it also groups years into sets of 12. Each year is named after an animal. The first of the twelve years is the Year of the Rat. This is followed by the years of the ox, tiger, hare, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.

The Hebrew Calendar

The Hebrew, or Jewish, calendar is also based on the moon. The Jews use it to fix the dates of their religious years. There are 12 months in the Hebrew calendar. An extra month, added seven times every 19 years, keeps the calendar more or less in time with the seasons. Also, days are added or taken away to make sure certain holy days fall on proper days of the week. As a result, a Jewish year can be as short as 353 days or as long as 385 days.

The Christian Calendar

Christian calendars use the moon to set some holy days, too. Easter, for example, can fall any time from March 22 to April 25. The exact date depends on the moon.

The Muslim Calendar

Muslims follow the religion of Islam. They also use a calendar based on the moon. It has 12 months of 30 or 29 days. Eleven times in every 30 years, an extra day is added to the calendar. This keeps the calendar in time with the moon, but not with the seasons.

The Islamic year is only 354 or 355 days long. It does not follow the calendar year that includes the months of January to December. That calendar year has 365 days. The Islamic year is about 11 days shorter than that. So each year, an Islamic holiday is about 11 days earlier than the year before. But in 32 1/2 years, it’s back to where it started.

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