Alternative Calenders The Barlow Calender

About a proposal for an alternative form of calender known as the Barlow Calender.

SOLUTIONS--PRACTICAL PROPOSALS AND BRAND-NEW APPROACHES TO A MULTITUDE OF PROBLEMS

NEW CALENDARS

The Barlow Calendar

Down through the ages man has tried to make adjustments to the solar calendar invented by the Egyptians in 4236 B.C. Such historical heavyweights as Moses, Julius Caesar, and Pope Gregory XIII all made some minor changes, but the calendar we use today is virtually identical to the one used by the pharaohs 23 centuries ago.

To some, this would suggest that the calendar started by the Egyptians must have been a good one to have lasted so long effectively intact. To others, such as Wallace Barlow, an engineer in Washington, D.C., the fact that the calendar is still being used is more a testament to man's fear of change. Mr. Barlow believes the calendar should be changed, or updated, if you will. And if he has his way, the U.S. Congress will adopt the Barlow Calendar as our official way of keeping track of the days.

At first glance, the Barlow Calendar does not appear radically different from the one we use today. There are still 12 months, and each retains its order and name. What makes the Barlow Calendar different is the way it assigns the days and holidays to those months. Each month, according to Mr. Barlow, should have 28 days, or exactly four weeks, and should begin on a Monday and end on a Sunday. Of course, if you could split up 365 days as evenly as that, the Egyptians would have figured it out long ago.

What remains is 29 days. All of these remaining days would be national holidays, or festival days, as Barlow refers to them. The festival day would begin at the end of each month and would not be called Monday or Friday, but rather the first day of festival, the second day of festival, and so on. Some months would have only one festival day following them, but since the month ends on a Sunday, the least you could expect each month would be a three-day (weekend) festival. Others, such as May, would be followed by a seven-day festival on leap year and a six-day festival normally. In addition, with the Barlow Calendar, everyone would have a week off for Christmas.

Christmas, however, would fall on December 30, which points up one of the problems Barlow has been having selling his calendar idea to Congress. There was a minor uproar from some corners when Congress adopted the Monday holiday system and took some important dates in history and arbitrarily set observance of those dates at the nearest Monday. Changing Christmas from December 25th or moving the observance of the 4th of July to the three festival days following July might be more than the legislators can stand, despite Barlow's argument that the 62-century-old calendar should be reformed to meet the recreational and working needs of 20th-century men and women.

John Parker

Beltsville, Md.

SOURCE: Calendar page 697, Calendar Reform Foundation, 6210 Massachusetts ave., Washington, D.C. 20016.

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