The Babylonians’ calendar was passed down from civilization to civilization.

The Babylonians adopted a seven-day week thanks to the the seven celestial bodies they observed within the sky: the Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. This image of a eclipse over Swiss Alps highlights four of the seven objects. The Moon is that the brightest object to the left. Mars is found directly below the Moon. Saturn is near the center . And Jupiter hovers to the proper .
Kaustav Ghose/Flickr
Waiting for the weekend can often seem unbearable, an entire seven days between Saturdays. Having seven days a really “> during a week has been the case for a very while , then people don’t often stop to ask why.

Most of our time reckoning is thanks to the movements of the planets, Moon and stars. Our day is adequate to one full rotation of the world around its axis. Our year may be a rotation of the world round the Sun, which takes 364 and ¼ days, which is why we add an additional day in February every four years, for a intercalary year .

But the week and therefore the month are a touch trickier. The phases of the Moon don’t exactly coincide with the calendar . The Moon cycle is 27 days and 7 hours long, and there are 13 phases of the Moon in each tropical year .

Some of the earliest civilizations observed the cosmos and recorded the movements of planets, the Sun and Moon. The Babylonians, who lived in modern-day Iraq, were astute observers and interpreters of the heavens, and it’s largely because of them that our weeks are seven days long.

The reason they adopted the amount seven was that they observed seven celestial bodies – the Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. So, that number held particular significance to them.

Other civilizations chose other numbers – just like the Egyptians, whose week was 10 days long; or the Romans, whose week lasted eight.

The Babylonians divided their lunar months into seven-day weeks, with the ultimate day of the week holding particular religious significance. The 28-day month, or an entire cycle of the Moon, may be a bit overlarge a period of your time to manage effectively, then the Babylonians divided their months into four equal parts of seven.

The number seven isn’t especially well-suited to coincide with the tropical year , or maybe the months, so it did create a couple of inconsistencies.

However, the Babylonians were such a dominant culture within the Middle East , especially within the sixth and seventh centuries B.C., that this, and lots of of their other notions of your time – like a 60-minute hour – persisted.

The seven-day week spread throughout the Middle East . it had been adopted by the Jews, who had been captives of the Babylonians at the peak of that civilization’s power. Other cultures within the surrounding areas got on board with the seven-day week, including the Persia and therefore the Greeks.

Centuries later, when Alexander the good began to spread Greek culture throughout the Middle East as far as India, the concept of the seven-day week spread also . Scholars think that perhaps India later introduced the seven-day week to China.

Finally, once the Romans began to overcome the territory influenced by Alexander the good , they too eventually shifted to the seven-day week. it had been Emperor Constantine who decreed that the seven-day week was the official Roman week and made Sunday a public holiday during a .D. 321.

The weekend wasn’t adopted until times within the 20th century. Although there are some recent attempts to vary the seven-day week, it’s been around for therefore long that it looks like it’s here to remain .


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