A calendar is a system of organizing days for social, religious, commercial or administrative purposes. This is done by giving names to periods of time, typically days, weeks, months, and years. A date is the designation of a single, specific day within such a system. A calendar is also a physical record (often paper) of such a system. A calendar can also mean a list of planned events, such as a court calendar or a partly or fully chronological list of documents, such as a calendar of wills. Periods in a calendar (such as years and months) are usually, though not necessarily, synchronized with the cycle of the sun or the moon. The most common type of pre-modern calendar was the lunisolar calendar, a lunar calendar that occasionally adds one intercalary month to remain synchronised with the solar year over the long term. The calendar in most widespread use today is the Gregorian calendar, introduced in the 16th century by Pope Gregory XIII as a modification of the Julian calendar, which was itself a modification of the ancient Roman calendar.
A day is a unit of time. In common usage, it is either an interval equal to 24 hours or daytime, the consecutive period of time during which the Sun is above the horizon. The period of time during which the Earth completes one rotation with respect to the Sun is called a solar day. Several definitions of this universal human concept are used according to context, need and convenience. In 1960, the second was redefined in terms of the orbital motion of the Earth, and was designated the SI base unit of time. The unit of measurement "day", redefined in 1960 as 86 400 SI seconds and symbolized d, is not an SI unit, but is accepted for use with SI. A civil day is usually 86 400 seconds, plus or minus a possible leap second in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), and occasionally plus or minus an hour in those locations that change from or to daylight saving time. The word day may also refer to a day of the week or to a calendar date, as in answer to the question, "On which day?" The life patterns of humans and many other species are related to Earth's solar day and the day-night cycle (see circadian rhythms).
A week is a time unit equal to seven days. It is the standard time period used for cycles of work days and rest days in most parts of the world, mostly alongside (but not strictly part of) the Gregorian calendar. The days of the week were named after the classical planets (derived from the astrological system of planetary hours) in the Roman era. In English, the names are Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. The term "week" is sometimes expanded to refer to other time units comprising a few days, such as the nundinal cycle of the ancient Roman calendar, or the "work week" or "school week" referring only to the days spent on those activities.
A month is a unit of time, used with calendars, which is approximately as long as a natural period related to the motion of the Moon; month and Moon are cognates. The traditional concept arose with the cycle of moon phases; such months (lunations) are synodic months and last approximately 29.53 days. From excavated tally sticks, researchers have deduced that people counted days in relation to the Moon's phases as early as the Paleolithic age. Synodic months, based on the Moon's orbital period with respect to the Earth-Sun line, are still the basis of many calendars today, and are used to divide the year.
A year is the orbital period of the Earth moving in its orbit around the Sun. Due to the Earth's axial tilt, the course of a year sees the passing of the seasons, marked by changes in weather, the hours of daylight, and, consequently, vegetation and soil fertility. In temperate and subpolar regions around the globe, four seasons are generally recognized: spring, summer, autumn and winter. In tropical and subtropical regions several geographical sectors do not present defined seasons; but in the seasonal tropics, the annual wet and dry seasons are recognized and tracked. A calendar year is an approximation of the number of days of the Earth's orbital period as counted in a given calendar. The Gregorian, or modern, calendar, presents its calendar year to be either a common year of 365 days or a leap year of 366 days. For the Gregorian calendar the average length of the calendar year (the mean year) across the complete leap cycle of 400 years is 365.2425 days. In astronomy, the Julian year is a unit of time; it is defined as 365.25 days of exactly 86400 seconds (SI base unit), totalling exactly 31557600 seconds in the Julian astronomical year.
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