A calendar is a tool for organizing days. People use calendars to say when something happened, and for planning things that have not happened yet. The calendar gives the days names and numbers, called calendar dates. The dates are usually made based on how things in the sky seem to move. The year and month are based on motions of the Sun and moon. By knowing what day something happened or will happen, people have an easier life. Since the beginning of history, knowing when the seasons would start for crops was very important for farmers and people who eat.
Calendar systems have a beginning time or era. The calendar era is often a religion-based event, such as the birth of Jesus, but it may be a political event such as a coronation or the founding of a state. Dates that are counted from the coronation are called "regnal".
Calendars are based on three natural things:
- The Earth turns all the way around its axis.
- The Moon goes all the way around the Earth.
- The Earth goes all the way around the Sun.
The Moon turns all the way around the Earth about 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes and 2 seconds. Months of some calendars are still strongly based on the Moon. These are called Lunar calendars, which lasts about 354-355 days. Solar calendars ignore the moon, and depend entirely on the Sun.