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2014 AD but what about other, none Christian, religions?

(9 Posts)
TooTabooHasBigShinyBaubles Wed 01-Jan-14 21:53:15

Just musing in the bath and now I need to know. Google isn't helping (tbf I don't quite know how to word my question which hasn't helped !)

Why, when other religions don't believe in Jesus, does the world follow the BC / AD year format?

Or am I being dim?


TooTabooHasBigShinyBaubles Wed 01-Jan-14 21:59:28

dur, typo in title: non-Christian

specialsubject Wed 01-Jan-14 22:32:06

no, not dim - just that most of the Western world follows BC/AD so that's what you see.

For one example - in the Orthodox Jewish world, it is year 5774 since creation, and new year I think is September.

enjoy your bath. :-)

TooTabooHasBigShinyBaubles Wed 01-Jan-14 22:39:06


So if I was in an Orthodox Jewish country, they would not refer to 2014 at all? Or a Muslim country, they use their own calendar too?

How have I got to 35 without questioning this? blush

headinhands Wed 01-Jan-14 23:07:15

In a similar vein the days of the week are based on Roman/Greek deities, Thursday = Thor's day etc. it's just what western civilisation settled on when we were at the stage in our development of needing to work out a widely recognised unit of time.

Tuo Wed 01-Jan-14 23:13:44

The politically correct* version of BC/AD is BCE (Before Common Era) and CE (Common Era). Of course this doesn't get away from the fact that the numbering system still depends on the turning-point of Christian history, but since it's the system that is most widely used around the world (sometimes, if I've understood correctly, alongside alternative numbering systems), this does at least avoid non-Christians having necessarily to define the year as 'of our Lord' which clearly seems inappropriate.

* Just to be clear, I think that political correctness is A Good Thing - another way of putting it would be 'avoiding giving offence unnecessarily'. (Incidentally, I'm a Christian, but still prefer (B)CE as a more 'neutral' term.)

Thistledew Wed 01-Jan-14 23:21:01

There are several different calendars used across the world. Predominantly Muslim countries tend to use the Islamic or Hijri calendar. Iran uses the Persian calendar. Some Jewish communities use the orthodox Jewish calendar although I think Israel officially uses the Gregorian calendar. The Ethiopian calendar is still often used on formal paperwork, although usually along side the Gregorian dates.

There are many cultures that celebrate new year at different times of the year - the Chinese New Year is well known, and countries with a strong Kurdish population place considerable importance on celebrating Neuroz.

CaterpillarCara Wed 01-Jan-14 23:34:39

I lived in Japan in the year one! They number it by emperor and the 平成 era started in 1989 when I was there. Mostly they use 2014, etc, though.

TooTabooHasBigShinyBaubles Thu 02-Jan-14 08:20:14

Thanks for the replies! Really interesting to know and still can't believe I've never questioned this before!

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