Letter to the Editor: Hanke-Henry Calendar would have each day of year on same day of week

B3-Perpetual-Calend

The Hanke-Henry Calendar

I was listening to NPR recently about Feb. 29 and the Hanke-Henry Calendar Idea. The coming of spring on March 19 as well as Easter on March 31 compels me to offer this opinion.

Back in the 16th Century, Pope Gregory VIII brought forth what would become known as the Gregorian Calendar to better deal with the earth’s relationship to the sun. It has stood the test of time and was done during a period just after his predecessors taught and many still believed the world to be flat.  

Do away with 365 days a year, with the fourth year having 366 days. Instead, have an extra week every five or six years at the end of the calendar year — or the middle of the year if we would prefer a longer summer for solar correction. For those to be around in 2100, leap year will skip to do a similar but smaller solar time correction.

The Hanke-Henry Calendar would have each day of the year on the same day of the week, with eight months having 30 days and four months having 31 days, giving every 3 months 91 days.

Here’s what would happen working backward:

  • Dec. 25 Christmas would always be on a Monday.
  • Nov. 23 Thanksgiving still would be on a Thursday (Always have 32 shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas).
  • Nov. 11 Saturday would always be Veterans Day. 
  • Oct. 8 Monday would always be Columbus Day.
  • Sept. 4 Monday would always be Labor Day.
  • July 4 Would always be on a Thursday (so make Friday, July 5) a holiday too.
  • June 19 Juneteenth would move to June 18 — always a Monday — or have it become Thursday, July 5.
  • May 28 Would always be Memorial Day on a Monday
  • Feb. 20 Would always be President’s day on a Monday.
  • Jan. 20 Presidential Inauguration Day would always be Saturday Jan. 20 every 4 years.
  • Jan. 15 Would always be Martin Luther King Day on a Monday (His actual birthday was Jan. 15, 1929).
  • Jan. 1 would always be on a Monday.

Many yearly events would keep the same date schedules such as school years and sporting event schedules.

One downside would be the days of Jan. 31, May 31, July 31, Aug. 31 and Oct. 31 are gone forever.  Perhaps people born or wed on these days could become known as gregoriannials. People born or wed during the extra week would be known as solarennials. Each would be given an additional 10 percent off on all purchases during the added week period by all businesses.  

The actual first day of each season would vary more. This year would still have the first day of spring on March 19, the year 2027 would have it on March 15.

There would be a 3-to-4-day variation in sunrise/sunset times through the 5-to-6-year cycle. Example: The shortest day of the year in Quincy is on or about Dec. 22, with the latest sunrise on or about Jan. 5 and the earliest sunset on or about Dec. 7.  

Christian Easter, as well as Jewish Passover and Islamic Ramadan, are set each year concerning the position of our moon with the sun and earth.  Easter would be observed on the Sunday following the first full moon in the Northern Hemisphere after the vernal equinox, which this year is March 31 but can vary from March 22 to April 25. 

These holy days could continue to be set by the moon’s cycle, but in the case of Easter, it could be decided to pick a specific Sunday like April 7.  As Pope Gregory came to terms with the issues of date corrections in 1582, this might be the time to set the Easter Sunday date to be the same all the time. If Easter always was April 7, this would place Ash Wednesday always on Feb. 22.

Valentine’s Day always would be on Tuesday, Feb. 14, and never on Ash Wednesday, no matter when Easter fell. St. Patrick’s Day would always be on a Sunday and never on a Lent Friday.  Tax day would always be on Monday, April 15.

Now we just need for the rest of the world to agree to it.

Don Carpenter
Quincy, Illinois

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