Five Countries Using Their Own Calendar
The Gregorian calendar used across the globe is believed to be the most extensively relied on civil calendar. Several countries whether Christian or not, all over the world have adopted this civil calendar regardless of its strong association with the Catholic Church. However, there are countries which have their own calendars for civil reasons.
These countries rely on a completely different calendar either alongside the Gregorian one or in entirety; countries like North Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Thailand have civil calendars that are a modification of the Gregorian calendar. They use the North Korean Calendar, the Minguo calendar, the Japanese Calendar and the Thai solar calendar, respectively.
The Thai Solar Calendar
In Thailand, two main calendar systems are used alongside each other: the Thai solar calendar, which is based on the Gregorian calendar, used for official purposes and the Thai lunar calendar; a version of the Buddhist calendar used for traditional events and Buddhist religious practices. The solar calendar replaced the Thai lunar calendar in 1888 AD upon its adoption by King Chulalongkorn. The Buddhist Era is used in the counting of years in the Thai solar calendar which are usually ahead of the Gregorian calendar’s Christian era by 543 years.
Months are named in Hindu with zodiac signs’ astrology names, with months that have 30 days having names that end in –ayon and those consisting of 31 days with names ending in –akhom. The years are usually noted by the animal of the Chinese zodiac; mundane astrology figures highly in Thai culture, so birth certificates record the date, month and time of birth, followed by the day of the week, lunar date, and the applicable zodiac animal name.
The current year in Thailand is 2565.
The Hebrew calendar
Also called the Jewish calendar, this is a lunisolar calendar used as the official calendar of the state of Israel and is also used today for Jewish religious observance. In Israel, it is used for religious purposes; it provides a time frame for agriculture and is an official calendar for civil holidays alongside the Gregorian calendar.
The present Hebrew calendar is the result of a process of development, including a Babylonian influence. The epoch of this era is the moment when, according to the Genesis creation narrative, the world was created. The Hebrew lunar year is about 11 days shorter than the solar year and it uses the 19-year Metonic cycle to bring it into line with the solar year. The average Hebrew calendar year is longer by about 6 minutes and 40 seconds than the current mean tropical year. So that means that every 216 years the Hebrew calendar will fall a day behind the current mean tropical year. According to tradition, the Hebrew calendar started at the time of Creation, placed at 3761 BCE.
The current Hebrew year is 5782.
The Juche calendar
The Juche calendar, named after the Juche ideology, is the system of year-numbering used in North Korea and the calendar borrows elements from two historical calendars used in Korea; the traditional system of Korean era names and the Gregorian calendar in which years are tied to the traditional birth of Jesus Christ.
The Juche calendar begins with the birth of Kim Il-sung, the founder of North Korea. His birth year, 1912, in the Gregorian calendar, became “Juche 1” in the Juche calendar. The calendar was adopted in 1997, three years after the death of Kim Il-sung. Thus, the current year, 2022, is “Juche 111”.
The Ethiopian calendar
This is the official calendar in Ethiopia. It is used as both the civil calendar (in Ethiopia) and an ecclesiastical calendar (in Ethiopia and Eritrea). The Ethiopian calendar is a solar calendar that has more in common with the Coptic calendar of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria and Coptic Catholic Church.
The Ethiopian calendar has twelve months of thirty days plus five or six epagomenal days which comprise a thirteenth month and the Ethiopian year starts on 11th of September or on the 12th September in a Gregorian leap year. It is seven to eight years behind the Gregorian year owing to alternate calculations in determining the date of the annunciation of the birth of Jesus. The current year in Ethiopia is 2014.
The Republic of China calendar or ROC calendar
Often referred to as the Minguo calendar, it is a calendar used in Taiwan. The ROC calendar is the official calendar used in Taiwan since 1945, also adopted by Overseas Chinese and Taiwanese communities. It uses 1912, the year of the establishment of the Republic of China (ROC) as the first year.
The ROC calendar follows the tradition of using the sovereign’s era name and year of reign, as did previous Chinese dynasties. Months and days are numbered according to the Gregorian calendar. The Gregorian calendar was officially adopted, effective 1 January 1929. In addition to the ROC’s Minguo calendar, the Taiwanese continue to use the lunar Chinese calendar for certain functions such as the dates of many holidays, the calculation of people’s ages and religious functions. Every year is represented by a zodiac animal sign.
The ROC era numbering happens to be the same as the numbering used by the Juche calendar of North Korea, because its founder, Kim Il-sung, was born in 1912. The year 2022 is numbered Minguo 111.